Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shelter from the storm?

David Hodgkinson in AlertNet: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN, the International Organization for Migration and many other groups warn that the effects of climate change - including rising sea levels, heavier floods, more frequent and severe storms, drought and desertification - may cause large-scale population movements.

The scale of climate change displacement is often established by reference to the possible numbers of those displaced; estimates range from tens to hundreds of millions of people. Although it’s not clear what climate change will mean for human population distribution, there is consensus that climate change will lead to significant displacement over time.

And while it’s important to take account of the different contexts and forms that climate change displacement may take, there is a need, as one expert has said, “for international recognition of the problem, a better understanding of its dimensions and a willingness to tackle it.”

One way of tackling the problem is through a treaty for climate change displaced persons (CCDPs). At the moment, neither existing climate change law nor refugee law adequately provides for CCDPs. There has been no coordinated response by governments to address human displacement due to climate change. And given the nature and magnitude of the problem which displacement presents, ad hoc measures may lead to inconsistency, confusion and conflict...

A Flood on Java (c.1865-1876) by Raden Saleh, lithograph, 32 x 44 cm, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and the Caribbean Studies

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