200 million climate refugees by 2040

Greenpeace study warns of humanitarian disaster

Flooding in Somalia. Refugees carry their belongings through the water. © Clive Shirley / Signum / Greenpeace
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200 million climate refugees are threatened worldwide over the next 30 years, with man-made climate change continuing as before. This is proven by the study "Klimaflüchtlinge", which Greenpeace presented yesterday on the occasion of the UN World Refugee Day.

With global warming, living conditions for hundreds of millions of people, especially in the world's poorest countries, are deteriorating so dramatically that they will be forced to abandon their homes to survive, the study found. Already today, more than 20 million people are fleeing the effects of climate change, more than half of all refugees worldwide. Particularly affected are the Sahel zone in Africa, Bangladesh and many islands in the South Pacific.

"This terribly large refugee group has so far been almost completely denied by the national and international policies of the industrialized countries, " explains Andree Böhling, climate expert from Greenpeace. "Given the fate of millions of people, this ignorance is the scourge of climate change." Wherever poverty is high and adaptability low, climate change will be a catalyst for water scarcity, starvation,

aggravate destabilization and violent conflicts. Due to the rising sea level and the increasing floods threaten entire areas and states permanently sinking into the water masses.

Climate refugees are not recognized as official status

"The subject of climate refugees points in unbearable form to a double injustice, " explains Böhling. "While the world's poorest people, who are innocent of climate change, are the first to be hit hard by the warming, the industrialized nations, as the main culprits, have denied the existence of the climate refugees and resisted with current refugee law." Ad

Climate or environmental refugees have so far received no recognition in German, European and international refugee law. Even the UN refugee agency responsible worldwide does not know the status "climate refugee".

Germany is required too

Greenpeace urged Chancellor Merkel to set a national climate protection target of minus 40 percent greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990. However, even immediate action can only limit the amount of refugee flows, but not prevent them.

Also, the federal government must finally address the subject of climate refugees. Germany must take responsibility and provide the affected states with financial aid and asylum for people fleeing their homes, "says B hling. This also includes fundamental changes in migration law, in spatial planning and in international cooperation. Otherwise, we will also be flooded with consequential costs and problems. "

(Greenpeace, 20.06.2007 - NPO)