12.3.1 Community Threats

Dr. Ross Pink

A massive threat to human rights and populations is the climate change-induced impact of climate change refugees. This is a problem that is increasing exponentially and will eventually overwhelm national governments and the U.N.’s capacity to respond. A stark example of community threats is the growing climate change refugee crisis. The United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention addressed the issue of political refugees and the problem of persecution. An IOM report noted that “migration can result from different environmental factors, among them gradual environmental degradation (including desertification, soil and coastal erosion) and natural disasters (such as earthquakes, floods or tropical storms).” (Laczko & Aghazarm, 2009). Climate change is dramatically increasing migration pressure. Indeed, associated extreme weather events resulting in drought, floods, and disease are projected to increase the number of sudden humanitarian crises and disasters in areas that are the least able to cope, such as those already mired in poverty or prone to conflict (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2007: 5).

The 2015 Paris Agreement, which is designed to reduce global warming, set forth ambitious goals to forestall global warming and related climate change threats. Yet, many of the nations that signed the agreement have utterly failed to take action on the gravest humanitarian crisis to confront humanity in the 21st century, namely, climate change refugees. Indeed, many global experts estimate that the climate refugee population will far exceed projections rendered by the United Nations. Dr. Mehmood Ul-Hassan, head of Capacity Development at the World Agroforestry Center, stated that, “I foresee between 500 million and 1 billion climate refugees by 2050. The world isn’t ready to tackle even fewer than 100 million due to current wars in the Middle East.” (as quoted in Pink, 2018).

A human security perspective requires a global focus and humanitarian intervention to address the looming crisis. Moreover, when international regimes, such as the Paris Agreement, omit the refugee issue, it is a sign that the world community is still insufficiently addressing core human rights principles as defined in human security. A human security approach to the climate refugee issue would place the crisis at the forefront of the coordinated humanitarian policy of international regimes such as the United Nations and Paris Agreement signatories.


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Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Ross Pink is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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