Friday, March 31, 2006

A (Literal) Flood of Refugees

There is an article up at Salon about "climate refugees"”. It discusses the idea that people who currently live in low-lying areas, such as islands or coastal areas, will be displaced by rising ocean levels caused by global warming.

We already have a potential global overpopulation problem that will inevitably result in a correction someday (that's a nice way of saying lots of people will die from disease, hunger, resource wars, etc). The flooding of low-lying areas will reduce the amount of habitable land while increasing the per capita population of the rest of the world.

If the UN is successful in classifying "climate refugees"” as legitimately recognized refugees, then countries who are required to give shelter to a certain number of refugees each year (like the US) will face increased costs associated with harboring refugees. This is another unintended consequence and unaccounted for cost of continuing to ignore climate change. As stated in the article, some have suggested that countries be required to take "“climate refugees"” in the same proportion as their carbon emissions. Imagine millions of Bangladeshis flooding into the US.

This is a single example of many that illustrate why people need to stop ignoring this issue and realize that there are socioeconomic consequences to climate change that may well end up costing this country more than we are supposedly saving by not signing the Kyoto treaty or mandating more eco-friendly energy generation policies.

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