Tags: Climate Change | john kerry | climate refugees | natural disasters | scientists | climate

John Kerry Warns Ambassadors about 'Climate Refugee' Threat

John Kerry Warns Ambassadors about 'Climate Refugee' Threat
(Bao Dandan/Xinhua/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 27 March 2015 12:25 PM

Countries will be dealing with "climate refugees" as the effects of climate change are felt around the world, Secretary of State John Kerry warned U.S. ambassadors attending the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in Washington this week.

"There'll be climate refugees that all of you will be coping with at some point. If not now, in the not-too-distant future," Kerry told the ambassadors, while making dire warnings about the threats posed by climate changes around the world and calling for them to make the issue a priority moving forward, reports CBS News in Washington.

According to National Geographic, climate refugees have been around for many years, as the climate has actually changed many times since the Earth's formation billions of years ago.

Generally, National Geographic explains, climate refugees are included in a larger group of immigrants, environmental refugees, who are people forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters like volcanoes or hurricanes.

And according to the International Red Cross, there are far more environmental refugees who flee their homes than there are political refugees running from wars and other issues.

The United Nations high commissioner for refugees, in its last such report in 2009, said some 36 million people were displaced by natural disasters in that year alone, and scientists are predicting that number could raise to at least 50 million by 2050, and some even say that number could climb to 200 million.

Climate change is already resulting in billions of dollars in damages, Kerry said.

"It is a national security threat, it is a health threat, it's an environmental threat, it's an economic threat," said Kerry in his address.

"We're spending billions upon billions — $110 billion last year on the damages that occurred because of the increased level of major weather events around the world; droughts that are 500-year droughts, not 100-year droughts; places that have less and less water; food that is less produced where it used to be."

And while the arguments continue about whether climate change is caused by humans or is just part of natural changes, Kerry insisted that scientists concur that humans are at fault.

"Ninety-seven percent of all the scientists for 20 years tell us unequivocally that this is happening and happening now, and humans are causing it, and we have a responsibility to respond to it," he said.

The comments came as part of a longer address to the ambassadors, during which Kerry outlined their roles in helping to keep order in an increasingly complicated world.

"We are in a moment of remarkable transformation not all of it in our control," he said.

"But because of technology, because of more and more people in the middle class, because of travel in today's world, because of access to information, more and more people are demanding more from governance. And in too many places, governance is not up to the task. It's a failure of governance in many places that is giving us the challenge of these failing states not our failure, if you don't mind my saying so."

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Countries will be dealing with "climate refugees" as the effects of climate change are felt around the world, Secretary of State John Kerry warned U.S. ambassadors attending the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in Washington this week.
john kerry, climate refugees, natural disasters, scientists, climate
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2015-25-27
Friday, 27 March 2015 12:25 PM
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