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What is our responsibility to climate refugees?

What is climate change?

Image: Environment.According to a variety of sources, climate change is a variation in the Earth’s climate for a protracted period of time. This includes the changes throughout history – not just the time humans have been around.

Often, when climate change is mentioned it specifically refers to the human impact on the environment.

In November 2017, New Zealand’s climate change minister proposed a ‘special’ refugee visa for Pacific Islanders who have been displaced due to climate change.

This special visa is deemed separate from the 1951 UN Refugee Convention as this status is only applicable to those fleeing persecution, wars, and conflicts, and not climate change.

This step is the first of its kind, officially recognizing that climate refugees need to be protected from environmental factors which make their homes uninhabitable.

In the International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management (the first subscription based Emerald journal to flip to Open Access) the special issue Climate change, migration and displacement of populations explores the “interconnectedness of the various drivers of migration, and the complex interactions of climate change with those drivers.” The below infographic visually represents one paper from this special issue.

Infographic: The plight of the climate refugee. Emerald Insight - opens in new window. Emerald Insight.

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