Sunday, May 29, 2016

French minister warns of mass climate change migration if world doesn't act

Adam Vaughan
May 26, 2016

Global warming will create hundreds of millions of climate change migrants by the end of the century if governments do not act, France’s environment minister has warned.

Ségolène Royal told ministers from 170 countries at the UN environment assembly in Nairobi that climate change was linked to conflicts, which in turned caused migration.

“Climate change issues lead to conflict, and when we analyse wars and conflicts that have taken place over the last few years we see some are linked to an extent to climate change, drought is linked to food security crises,” she said.

“The difficulty of having access to food resources leads to massive migration, south-south migration [migration within developing countries]. The African continent is particularly hit by this south-south migration.

“If nothing is done to combat the negative impact of climate change, we will have hundreds of millions of climate change migrants by the end of the century.”


Royal is not the first high profile public figure to link conflict, migration and climate change. Ahead of the Paris climate summit last year, Prince Charles said that drought exacerbated by climate change had played a role in Syria’s civil war, a claim supported by some researchers.


Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president, said that Kenya was already tackling emissions through a renewable energy push that includes wind, geothermal, hydro and, in the future, solar power. But he warned: “We have to be ready and willing to make selfless sacrifices today if we want to leave our children and grandchildren a viable and better world tomorrow.”


Morocco faced a danger of internal migration because of rising temperatures in its deserts, he said, and its desert peoples should be treated as though they were at the same risk as those on small island states threatened by sea level rises. “There is a risk of displacement of those people in the desert,” he said.

That internal movement of people would be on top of the existing migration from sub-Saharan countries, he said. “You can see migrants in all Morocco cities right now, and it has a social and economic impact. The government is trying to integrate them, but it’s not easy.”

Morocco has ambitious wind and solar power plans, and in February switched on the first phase of what will be the world’s largest concentrated solar power when complete, capable of providing power for 1.1m people.


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