11 September 2015, The Independent, Refugee crisis: Is climate change affecting mass migration? John Kerry painted an apocalyptic vision of climate change last week as he addressed a global warming conference in Alaska. “You think migration is a challenge in Europe today because of extremism, wait until you see what happens when there’s an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival,” the US secretary of state warned. Few experts would argue with Kerry’s analysis of the future, but some would argue his vision is already upon us. The current refugee crisis marks a watershed moment in the history of global warming because it’s the first wave of emigration to be explicitly linked to climate change, according to one leading scientist, who predicts rises in temperature and increasingly extreme weather will unleash many more mass movements of people in the future. Professor Richard Seager acknowledges that there is much more to the Syrian uprising than the climate, but says that global warming played a key role in creating the conditions that fuelled the civil war behind the refugee emergency. “Syria was destabilised by 1.5 million migrants from rural communities fleeing a three-year drought that was made more intense and persistent by human-driven climate change, which is steadily making the whole eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region even more arid,” says Professor Seager, of Columbia University in New York, who published a report into the role of climate change in the Syrian conflict in March. Read More here
Beyond the fighting and fanaticism, another long-term threat menaces the world’s troubled regions.