Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Greens pushing the tired climate refugee myth is old news – but this time they inadvertently made the case for tighter border security.
Climate change ‘will create world’s biggest refugee crisis’
Experts warn refugees could number tens of millions in the next decade, and call for a new legal framework to protect the most vulnerable
Tens of millions of people will be forced from their homes by climate change in the next decade, creating the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen, according to a new report.
“If Europe thinks they have a problem with migration today … wait 20 years,” said retired US military corps brigadier general Stephen Cheney. “See what happens when climate change drives people out of Africa – the Sahel [sub-Saharan area] especially – and we’re talking now not just one or two million, but 10 or 20 [million]. They are not going to south Africa, they are going across the Mediterranean.”
Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, told the EJF: “What we are talking about here is an existential threat to our civilisation in the longer term. In the short term, it carries all sorts of risks as well and it requires a human response on a scale that has never been achieved before.”
“Climate change is the the unpredictable ingredient that, when added to existing social, economic and political tensions, has the potential to ignite violence and conflict with disastrous consequences,” said EJF executive director, Steve Trent.
“In our rapidly changing world climate change – and its potential to trigger both violent conflict and mass migration – needs to be considered as an urgent priority for policymakers and business leaders alike.”
The core argument posed by the Environmental Justice Foundation, whose report The Guardian quotes;
… Mass displacement caused by climate change can bring disparate communities with different ethnicities, religious or other cultural beliefs and identities into contact, further driving the potential for conflict. Violence may follow, itself becoming a driver of migration. In Syria, some 1.3-1.5 million people were on the move from drought-stricken regions before a single gunshot was red. This report looks at the prolonged drought that gave the context for the outbreak of Syria’s bloody conflict that has now entered its seventh year. Whilst no-one would assert that climate change was the sole cause of conflict in Syria or elsewhere, it is increasingly viewed as a ‘threat multiplier’, increasing the likelihood of violent conflict arising from pre-existing and complex interactions between political, economic, religious and ethnic forces. …
Leaving aside the evidence that anthropogenic CO2 is greening the world’s deserts, making life easier for poor people farming marginal land, lets assume for a moment The Guardian and EJF are right – that mass migration leads to conflict.
Surely the first step to addressing this crisis would be to tighten border security?
The West is generous and wealthy, but we will be in no position to help anyone if our own societies are torn apart by conflict, which the EJF believes is more likely when we bring disparate communities with different ethnicities, religious or other cultural beliefs and identities into contact.
Of course, there are other reasons for mass migration than climate.
In my opinion Hollywood is likely a far greater driver of mass migration than climate change. The few times I have visited poor countries, everyone I met said they wanted to move to the USA. They were all fans of US sitcoms, utterly entranced by the glamorous fantasy lifestyle they saw every day on TV, of people living in clean houses with plenty to eat, nice cars, lots of time to socialise, and nobody working very hard.
As life gradually improves in desperately poor countries, more poor people will have access to US TV programmes, and more people will be tempted by the utopian sitcom lifestyle they see every day on their television sets.