Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Environmental refugees

Earlier this month, I gave a talk on Environmental Refugees to Epping Green Party. Here is a precis:


Darfur is the first climate-change war. And the first countries eliminated by climate change are, tragically, appearing now, in Micronesia.

Unless dangerous climate change is reined in, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. The 21st century, unless governments turn to Green policies, will be a century of unprecedented environmental disaster. There will be hundreds of millions of climate-change refugees, as powerful storms devastate poorer countries and rising sea levels simply inundate Bangladesh, Holland – and parts of East Anglia

It is the carbon emissions from industrial countries, of which Britain is the oldest of all, which are causing this devastation. So: how will we choose to regard the likely tide of environmental refugees? Will we bar the door to them, just as the Daily Mail and others shamefully tried to prevent any Jewish migrants to this country in the 1930s? Or will our attitude be a humane one: will we welcome in and take care of those whose homes have been swept away by hightides caused by our own profligate burning of fossil fuels?

There are two great moral imperatives, in this connection, for the 21st century:

1) To plan to help the likely millions upon millions of environmental refugees.

2) To work now to prevent there being too huge a number of environmental refugees, by acting fast to defuse and to prevent catastrophic climate chaos.

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29.

Earlier this month, I gave a talk on Environmental Refugees to Epping Green Party. Here is a precis:


Darfur is the first climate-change war. And the first countries eliminated by climate change are, tragically, appearing now, in Micronesia.

Unless dangerous climate change is reined in, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. The 21st century, unless governments turn to Green policies, will be a century of unprecedented environmental disaster. There will be hundreds of millions of climate-change refugees, as powerful storms devastate poorer countries and rising sea levels simply inundate Bangladesh, Holland – and parts of East Anglia

It is the carbon emissions from industrial countries, of which Britain is the oldest of all, which are causing this devastation. So: how will we choose to regard the likely tide of environmental refugees? Will we bar the door to them, just as the Daily Mail and others shamefully tried to prevent any Jewish migrants to this country in the 1930s? Or will our attitude be a humane one: will we welcome in and take care of those whose homes have been swept away by hightides caused by our own profligate burning of fossil fuels?

There are two great moral imperatives, in this connection, for the 21st century:

1) To plan to help the likely millions upon millions of environmental refugees.

2) To work now to prevent there being too huge a number of environmental refugees, by acting fast to defuse and to prevent catastrophic climate chaos.

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