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Home » What Would Europe, the US, Do with One Billion Climate Refugees?

What Would Europe, the US, Do with One Billion Climate Refugees?

What Would Europe, the US, Do with One Billion Climate Refugees?

A bit of fiction. Or maybe not. If things keep going the way they are, the result will be that such a massive flux would create instability and tensions, impact the global markets, cause record prices of fossil fuels, food and everything else, and the bankruptcy of big private financial corporations…

Already seven years ago, a former director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), William Lacy Swing, estimated that the number of climate migrants and refugees could reach one billion humans by the year 2050.

Such a scenario could well happen given the rapid growth of the ongoing climate emergency.

“Hazards resulting from the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as abnormally heavy rainfall, prolonged droughts, desertification, environmental degradation, or sea-level rise and cyclones are already causing an average of more than 20 million people to leave their homes and move to other areas in their countries each year.”

What would Europe, the US and other rich countries do then? Shall their politicians –and the growing far-right– fuel once more the fear of the “invasion” of migrants and refugees, saying that they include criminals and terrorists, will occupy the homes of honoured citizens, take all their jobs away, rape their daughters and, consequently militarise their borders?

Shall they send them to third countries in exchange for some money, like what already happens with Turkey? Or shall they just force them back to their countries of origin, which they had to flee due to floods, storms, tsunamis and famine, provoked by a climate disaster they did not generate?

Climate change and disaster displacement

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that climate change is the defining crisis of our time and disaster displacement is one of its most devastating consequences.


A bit of fiction. Or maybe not. If things keep going the way they are, the result will be that such a massive flux would create instability and tensions, impact the global markets, cause record prices of fossil fuels, food and everything else, and the bankruptcy of big private financial corporations...
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