To the editor:
We now have the first government report on the effects of climate change on migration (“US must act to protect climate migrants,” Eagle-Tribune, Oct. 22.).
This has been a major topic of concern in the climate community for years; good that the government is finally thinking about it.
Those fleeing the devastation of climate change — drought, starvation, flooding, or the resulting civil conflicts — currently are not defined as “refugees,” so they lack the protection that refugee status brings. This must change.
Further, we have already seen the political fallout of a small amount of migration. Refugees from Syria (where the civil war was accelerated by persistent drought and resulting internal migration) have shaped politics in Europe for years, as Central American refugees whose farms succumbed to drought have provided a scapegoat for xenophobes in the United States.
Yet these numbers are small compared to what is coming.
In the long run, migration might be the most disruptive effect of climate change. Let’s be sure we have some plans in place.
Call your representative and tell them so!