Climate refugees

by Judith Curry

This post is motivated by the article in the Asian Correspondent by Gavin Atkins entitled “What happened to the climate refugees?”

The Climate Refugee Story

The story of climate refugees is becoming the “human face” of climate change.

A book entitled “Climate Refugees” by Collectif Argos, is summarized by

“People of the Arctic, the Sundarbans, the Maldives, the Longbaoshan, the Louisiana Gulf Coast, Tuvalu, Lake Chad, and the Himalayas comprise the nine communities Collectif Argos visited with pen and camera to produce, in 2007, the sad and haunting Climate Refugees, recently translated and published in English. While the global pool of climate literature is crowded and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to advance the climate story, this book does so by documenting firsthand the day-to-day experience of people being challenged by weather conditions so extreme, they are simply forced to quit, pull up roots, and move to higher ground. Their remote and rugged communities, all struggling to adapt to chaos, are canaries in the global mine of climate change. And their stories are moral barometers for the rest of the world.”

There is a 2010 documentary film entitled “Climate Refugees,” which received a nomination for an Academy Award (trailer here), with appearances by climate luminaries such as Al Gore, Steve Schneider, Yvo de Boer and Paul Ehrlich, and politicians including Barack Obama, Newt Gingrich and Desmond Tutu.

This film is about what happens when an over populated world with lack of resources and a changing climate all collide with each other. An intersection of humanity that many are calling the greatest challenge mankind will ever face. If an “Inconvenient Truth” was about what causes climate change, this film is about what are the effects of climate change on our civilization.

A one stop shop for info and links on climate refugees is at

What is a climate refugee?

As per the Wikipedia:

The Global Governance Project defines climate refugees as people who have to leave their habitats, immediately or in the near future, because of sudden or gradual alterations in their natural environment related to at least one of three impacts of climate change: sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and drought and water scarcity.

Some consider climate refugees to be a subcategory of environmental refugees. Some causes for environmental migration are increased droughts, desertification, sea level rise, and disruption of seasonal weather patterns such as monsoons. A statistically significant correlation between migration and environmental degradation including climate change was shown by Afifi and Warner (2007), controlling for the already established major drivers of migration.

Regions where climate migration is described as occurring are Africa, Bangladesh, Carteret Islands (Papua New Guinea) and Shishmaref (Alaska).

The Wikipedia article has a section entitled “Conceptual problems and criticism”:

 [T]here is no evidence that the concept can be used to achieve generalisable truths. In brief, this is because the degree to which any given environmental factor is meaningful at the societal level – let alone to any specific aspect of human activity, such as migration – is entirely conditional on socio-economic and political contingencies. In other words, it is impossible to isolate a single environmental factor as an independent variable from which to deduce its impact on a particular (or general) form of social outcome in any way that will be generalisably useful; the relationship will be different depending on circumstance.

Legal status of climate refugees

The international legal status of climate refugees is clarified in this article from Australia:

“There’s no such thing as a climate or an environmental refugee in international or domestic law,” says David Corlett, author of Stormy Weather: the Challenge of Climate Change and Displacement and Swinburne University of Technology adjunct research fellow. “It’s a non-existent category that conveys no rights.”

Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is a person with a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. Environmental factors are largely irrelevant.

But the Convention was established in the aftermath of World War II, nearly 60 years ago. Surely it’s time for a re-draft?  That’s unlikely to happen, says Corlett. If a debate were opened up about the meaning of “refugee”, signatory states would probably try to restrict the definition rather than expand it.

That would leave asylum seekers – including those displaced by climate change – in an even more precarious position. Refugee advocates are also opposed to tinkering with the current definition. “I don’t think it’s helpful to bring any more people into the Convention because it’s struggling as it is,” says Pamela Curr, campaigns co-ordinator at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne.

Even some “climate refugees” don’t want to be included in the Convention. In 2009, Australian academics Jane McAdam and Maryanne Loughry visited the photogenically fragile Pacific island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati, predicted to be the first affected by sea level rise. As the scholars discovered, the term “refugee” irritates locals, who see themselves as resourceful providers, not passive victims. Their solution to rising sea levels is to “secure options for labour migration to Australia and New Zealand”. “They want to be skilled migrants, rather than refugees,” explains Curr.

From the Wikipedia article:

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has argued that the people who will be forced to move due to climate change currently have no adequate recognition in international law. The EJF contends that a new multilateral legal instrument is required to specifically address the needs of ‘climate refugees’ in order to confer protection to those fleeing environmental degradation and climate change. They have also asserted that additional funding is needed to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change. Sujatha Byravan and Sudhir Chella Rajan have argued for the use of the term ‘climate exiles’ and for international agreements to provide them political and legal rights, including citizenship in other countries, bearing in mind those countries’ responsibilities and capabilities.

Predictions of climate refugees

The history of such predictions is described by the Wikipedia.

There have been a number of attempts over the decades to enumerate ‘environmental migrants/ refugees’. Jodi Jacobson (1988) is cited as the first researcher to enumerate the issue, stating that there were already up to 10 million ‘Environmental Refugees’. By 1989, Mustafa Tolba, Executive Director of UNEP, was claiming that ‘as many as 50 million people could become environmental refugees’ if the world did not act to support sustainable development (Tolba 1989: 25). . . In the mid-1990s, Norman Myers became the most prominent proponent of this ‘maximalist’ school (Suhrke 1993), stating that there were 25 million environmental refugees in the mid-1990s, and claiming that this figure could double by 2010, with an upper limit of 200 million by 2050 (Myers 1997).

These claims have gained significant currency, with the most common claims being that 150-200 million people will be climate change refugees by 2050. Variations of this claim have been made in influential reports on climate change by the IPCC (Brown 2008: 11) and the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change (Stern et al. 2006: 3), as well as by NGOs . . .

Verification of the predictions

From the Wikipedia article:

More generally, Black has argued that there is ‘surprisingly little scientific evidence’ that indicates that the world is ‘filling-up with environmental refugees’. Indeed, Francois Gemenne has stated that: ‘When it comes to predictions, figures are usually based on the number of people living in regions at risk, and not on the number of people actually expected to migrate. Estimates do not account for adaptation strategies [or] different levels of vulnerability’.

The recent article in the Asian Correspondent examined the latest census data of regions expected to be experienced climate migration and found the following:

However, a very cursory look at the first available evidence seems to show that the places identified by the UNEP as most at risk of having climate refugees are not only not losing people, they are actually among the fastest growing regions in the world.

Further discussion of this article can be found at WUWT, including the UNEP’s apparent attempts to remove some of their earlier statements from their web sites.

How climate change displaces people

An article at describes how climate change displaces people:

Why climate refugees flee their homes is a complicated mixture of environmental degradation and desperate socioeconomic conditions. People leave their homes when their livelihoods and safety are jeopardized.

When faced with the decision to flee, most climate refugees stay within their own country or region — called short-distance migration and internal displacement. Leaving your country requires money for travel and could mean leaving family behind, whereas short-distance migration is usually relocation from a rural to urban area in search of work and resources.

­The chance for return and resettlement back home is unlikely, though. In instances when an area is temporarily uninhabitable, like a hurricane, returning home may be an option. But when coastlines — or entire islands — are underwater, the possibility of going home is nonexistent. Adaptation and resilience will be the key to reducing displacement risk, both temporary and permanent, in the forms of early warning systems and flood-defense infrastructure, sustainable agriculture and drought-resistant crops, as well as other protections.

Recent research

Two recent articles shed further light on this issue.

The has a recent article entitled:

Climate refugee ‘crisis’ will not result in mass migration – new research

Researchers dismiss ‘alarmist predictions’ about hundreds of millions of people being forced to migrate across international borders because of climate change

Climate change is more likely to lead to local and regional migration as people’s livelihoods are lost through drought, flooding or other types of environmental degradation. Research by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in Africa and South America found most migrants were likely to move to other rural areas or local towns on a temporary basis.

Seasonal movement is historically common with, for example, pastoralists in East Africa having long-developed strategies to cope with unpredictable environments. In Sub Saharan Africa, the study found, many women migrate to towns during dry seasons to work as cleaners and street traders. While in the Bolivian Andes, women are already moving for 3-6 months of the year to take llamas to pasture.

 . . [T]he IIED findings back up other research that suggests relocation is likely to be local with people whose livelihoods are most sensitive to the environment also tending to be the ones who do not have the means to move very far. 

The study says farmers should be helped to diversify their incomes to provide a ‘safety net’ against environmental degradation. But governments often view migrants as a problem and provide little support, the study found. As a result, when people have relocated they are often returning back to their original homes due to frustration with the lack of help in adapting to a new climate and different agricultural practices. 

’Policymakers need to redefine migration and see it as a valuable adaptive response to environmental risks and not as problem that needs to be tackled,’ said study author Dr Cecilia Tacoli, who said she was worried alarmist predictions would backfire and result in policies that marginalise the poorest and vulnerable groups. has an article entitled

Report disperses migration myths

The first global survey of human migration driven by climate change suggests that most relocation will be regional rather than international in scale. The research, published 10 June as part of a report titled In Search of Shelter, dispels a common myth that the majority of climate refugees will arrive on the doorsteps of developed nations.

“There’s been a bit of political rhetoric saying we’re going to have waves of migrants at our doorsteps, rushing into Europe and North America,” says Koko Warner, the report’s lead author and an expert on migration and climate change at United Nations University in Bonn, Germany. “What we found is that the people whose livelihoods are most sensitive to the environment also tend to be the ones who may not have the means to move very far.”

From 2007 to 2009, social scientists from six European universities conducted surveys and case studies at 23 sites on five continents where migration is already taking place and questioned 2,000 local people about their reasons for leaving or staying.

Although people often migrate briefly to escape natural disasters — such as flooding in Bangladesh’s Ganges delta — the main environmental drivers of long-term migration are those that ruin local livelihoods, finds the report. In parts of Niger, for example, drought and soil degradation can force farmers to move from village to village.

Such trends seem likely to increase. “If environment already plays a role in migration, then as climate change accelerates you can expect to see more of that,” says Rafael Reuveny of Indiana University in Bloomington. Reuveny’s latest research shows that emigration to developed countries in the 1980s and 1990s was partly driven by environmental factors such available agricultural land, as well as by war and poverty. The EACH-FOR research adds to the growing body of evidence that climate change is now starting to compete with such political and economic factors in driving migration.

JC comments:  The dynamics of migration are complex, and climate and weather disasters certainly play a role.  Examples of migration in the U.S. influenced by these factors include the “Okies” migration in the 1930’s dustbowl and Hurricane Katrina. In unstable parts of the world, migration associated with weather disasters and climate change can be threat multipliers.  Migration is key element of climate adaptation, and further understanding of migration  is important for economic stability and security.  The unfounded and senseless predictions of the UNEP could  very well “backfire and result in policies that marginalise the poorest and vulnerable groups. 

238 responses to “Climate refugees

  1. Sorry, Judith, you have missed the major point of the story. The climate refugees are not an issue. The issue is the PREDICTION that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010, from specified locations. This prediction has been shown to be wrong. That is the issue; a wrong prediciton by the proponents of CAGW. This raises the question as to how many other such failed predictions are there. And that is the issue WUWT is pursuing.

    I have suggested that one of the predicitons in Science, August 2007 by Smith et al., is also proving to be untrue. This claims that after 2009, at least half of all years will have temperature anomalies above 1998 – the highest anomaly on record. We know 2010 did not exceed 1998; and it is extremely unlikely that 2011 will not exceed 1998. So it looks like this prediction is also going to be unture. Then there was the prediction, in 2000, that generations of children in the UK would grow up not knowing what snow is. And hurricanes after Katrina. And so on and so forth.

    So the question is, how many other failed CAGW predictions are the out there, besides the one on climate refugees?

    • Yes, “another failed climate prediction” is the issue WUWT is pursuing. I am raising the broader issue of climate refugees.

      • Erm- but given that they haven’t materilaised… why?

      • More accurately, they exist in tiny numbers. Most probably at any time in the history of mankind a similar or greater number has been “climate refugees”. But for the vast majority of that history, the rest of the population has been oblivious to their plight, and unable in any case to do anything about it. Now we have the bizarre assumption that underlies “environmentalism” that we stand at a moment in time when divine equilibrium reigns, or would, if Western Civilisation were not selfishly disturbing it, and filling an otherwise arcadian world with woe.

        Judith, the climate refugee issue is just another artifact of warmism – a non-issue. It does reinforce one vital message, though – if you get hit by climate change – be wealthy. And pray for wealthy trading partners who can sustain your own wealth. And don’t let the druids of the CAGW industry “decarbonise” you or your trading partners into penury until they have made a proper case for doing so.

      • Good point.

        This whole thing does seem like a useless exercise in re-branding- i can’t see any benefit from it.

        Yes people will have to move due to climatic shifts- it’s hardly news it’s ALWAYS been the case, unless it can be tied to cAGW (which the recent 50millions fubar, suggests it can’t) then it really is irrelevant on anything barring a regional/local scale and as such should be dealt with on similar scales.

      • Dr. Curry,
        You could make the case that any large movement of people is due to ‘climate issues’.
        After all, the climate helped trigger the potato famine.
        And we could probably find a correlation between the climate and the Germanic and other barbarian invasions of the Roman empire.
        And the Old Testament is full of stories about the impacts of droughts.
        But what does any of that have to do with CO2 causing climate catastrophe?
        The whole point of this is that the UN made a specific climate catastrophe prediction that is wildly false.
        And then sought to send those predictions down the memory hole when those predictions failed the test of reality.

      • >And then sought to send those predictions down the memory hole when those predictions failed the test of reality.<

        And that is the *real* story

      • randomengineer

        The whole point of this is that the UN made a specific climate catastrophe prediction that is wildly false.
        And then sought to send those predictions down the memory hole when those predictions failed the test of reality.

        Yes — this is the ONLY point.

        All of this business of exaggerated crap predictions etc is created entirely by agencies using other people’s money.

        Imagine you work for a toy company. You predict that creating and marketing Mr. Artichoke Head will knock Mr Potato Head sales into the toilet and your company will reign supreme. The company spends $4M on the project. It fails miserably. Now, in the real world, what happens? You’re not only canned but you also have the black mark from hell to live down.

        In the UNEP/UN/IPCC world of “other people’s money” you say oops and bury the prediction. Your colleagues don’t care. It’s not their money. Plus, they call it “science” so as to give the impression that these failed idiotic predictions have the same respect level as does atomic research.

        You fail to buy this. You are a denier, funded by the evil corporate masters of Mr Potato Head.

        I say we taxpayers move to defund the entire ball of wax.

    • Jim – I can’t talk about other groups, but this was never the conventional view of economists. The conventional view from the social sciences is based on the assumption that climate science probabilities are more or less accurate and thus closer to this:
      at 450ppm of CO2 world average temp is 2 degrees higher than pre ind. At this point everywhere begins to have climate disadvantages associated with climate change. Extreme weather events are more common and rainfall patterns will be less predictable, with less rain in some areas, flooding in others. Sea levels will rise and diseases will spread to new areas. All of this coupled with conflict over resources and the effects of global trade will mean that there will be more economic migrants, more migrants due to conflict and more migrants because the land cannot support the population increases seen in the last century. There will be more people dying of treatable diseases, more drug resistant diseases resurging, more hunger as events will push distressed areas over the edge. Calling the deaths and illnesses and migration patterns climate related is only part of the story, BUT it will certainly continue to be an important part of the story. Predictions of 50 million by 2010 or 2020 should be called speculation, as its not based on anything solid, while the conventional wisdom is based on likely trends, so offers no numbers. My question is does THIS view have any credibility?

      • Eric Anderson

        “At this point everywhere begins to have climate disadvantages associated with climate change. Extreme weather events are more common and rainfall patterns will be less predictable, with less rain in some areas, flooding in others. Sea levels will rise and diseases will spread to new areas. All of this coupled with conflict over resources and the effects of global trade . . .”

        Unfortunately, there is not a single item in the above list that constitutes anything other than wild, even irresponsible, speculation. Why anyone would think such a parade of horrors would result from a 2 degree increase in average global temperature is astounding.

    • Prediction.

      It’s about the future.

      Attribution is about blame.

      How many refugees are there out there in the wider world?

      How many can be attributed to climate aspects in whole or in part?

      How much of the climate can be attributed to our actions?

      How many refuguees therefore can be attributed to our actions?

      Is the issue when you’ve got refugees in desperate straits (or worse according to the Tea Party, inside your borders) attribution, or dealing with their crises?

      Is there anyone so crass and inhumane as to suggest only those who can be blamed for a refugee crisis ought be called on to compensate the refugees for their harm, to raise them up out of their despair?

      Well, yes, appears to be.

      If we by our actions are increasing beyond our share to the emission of CO2, and thereby are the ones mainly at fault for the harm of its rise, even if that harm is a minimal share in the smallest discernable part of climate and its many disasters, how are we not responsible for the refugees?

      That appears to be the crux of the debate.

      Silly crux to have, but there’s where climate and responsibility intersect with regard to refugees.

      To address one frequent claim, there are those who assure me that without ‘cheap fossil energy’ the refugees are doomed! Doomed they tell me!

      How the logic of this argument is supposed to work, I cannot guess. All the data I’ve seen on fossil fuels and the most desperately poor people in the world tell me the opposite; that adding more fossil fuel to the mix is pouring gasoline on the fire.

      Maybe while we’re on the topic of refugees, people can revisit the poorest of the poor in general.

      • Bart R,
        You are assuming, without evidence, that CO2 is connected to refugees.
        why is this so hard for you?

      • He *likes* feeling guilty, irrespective of accuracy … QED

      • ianl8888

        Refugees make less good consumers of American-made products than people with fixed addresses and stable jobs, in general.

        The poor undercut local wages and draw capital and factors of production offshore, in addition to preferring foreign goods over American-made goods.

        If there is attribution, then the losses due to displacement of refugees and spirals of poverty should reflect in American ROI.

        This is about the bottom line for America.

        Don’t you like feeling American?

      • Bart–do you believe that if the US took the action you have recommended (implementing a carbon tax) it will have a measureable impact on the climate? Do you believe it would result in fewer refugees?

      • Rob Starkey

        That’s two different groups of questions.

        1. Do I believe the rate of CO2E emissions would drop if:

        a) Subsidies to fossil were cut?
        b) People were paid a fair price by CO2E emitters for the rent of this budget through a revenue-neutral CO2E carbon tax?
        c) People were charged a VAT on CO2E over and above the revenue-neutral CO2E tax to generate general revenues to governments?
        d) People were charged a Pigouvian behavioral ‘sin’ tax to modify their actions?
        e) Nations were involved in as small, focused and purpose-driven a Cap & Trade system as possible to cover what carbon taxes cannot, at some level corresponding (a) thru (d) above?

        a) & b) Don’t care – it’s simply the right thing to do to remove distortions from the market and restore economic efficiency – There’s no reason not to pursue (a) & (b) vigorously on their own non-climate, non-refugee merits.

        c) If (c) follows (a) & (b), then there will likely be some significant impacts on efficiency, as wasteful practices are squeezed out, attitudes of conservation are reinforced, businesses encourage frugal practices by employees to improve ROI, and whatever positive effects of taxation and fairness are predicted by various economic models are felt.

        d) Obviously a well-structured Pigouvian program after (c) were in place would have impacts on behavior, though these work best when used for the same reasons and with the same restrictions as the Infant Industry argument: to overcome switching costs and foster investment in growth technologies, unless one encounters the case of ‘Bads’ in the market — ‘Goods’ that have inverted or zero price Elasticity; in the case of Bads, a Pigouvian solution is always preferable to Command and Control regulations and prohibitions. You don’t want the EPA to create a black market for burning coal and fill prisons with three-strike coal-convicts like the DEA.

        e) While I don’t think (e) would be necessary where (a) & (b) are in place to promote the spread of revenue-neutral CO2E tax measures, simply because the democratic pressures of an electorate demanding ‘my carbon money, just like my neighbors in places with CO2E pricing get’ is far stronger than an appeal for more regulations, there are only so many types of emissions CO2E taxes are easily administered on, and there is a real advantage to nations to have their trading partners treat CO2E on a common footing. So to make (b)-(d) administratively simplest, to avoid leakage from (b)-(d) into other jurisdictions or administrative loopholes, to give nations a fairer and truer basis of trade, I’d argue for agreements on the smallest, tightest Cap & Trade systems possible.

        At which point, the democracy of the market and the security of nations will be at such a maturity level to meaningfully discuss CO2 level policy. Right now, there is no model of world policy that could succeed on this subject, lacking these five elements (a)-(e).

        2. Refugees. There are rather a lot of them. Most of them are caused by much more screwed up local, national and international policies than apply to climate, having to do with infrastructure and settlement, urban planning and rural land use, engineering, education, poverty, development, war and banditry.

        Do I think getting the fundamentals of economics right in just this one small area is going to solve all that? No, but how is the business-as-usual approach of screwing up this one area helpful to those?

        Certainly, those who claim fossil subsidies help the poor are completely discredited and ought be ashamed of themselves.

      • Bart
        You again demonstrate an amazing ability to reply to simple questions with overly long and misleading answers that do not actually answer the question asked.

        You’re A & B scenario has nothing to do with economic efficiency. When you write about subsidies for oil, what specifically are the subsidies you mean relative to the United States? Many other companies subsidize oil for its citizens to keep the cost of fuel low for its citizens, but the US does not. The question was simple- would a tax on fuel reduce US consumption sufficiently to have a measureable impact on the climate?

        Regarding the VAT (Value Added Tax) system, that is not a tax system that is applied to something like CO2. Trying to do so would be very complex and administratively inefficient. You would spend as much administering such a tax as you would collect. You have previously written about a basic additional “sales tax” with a rebate to poorer families; which are administratively much simpler and economically more efficient.

        You writing about a Pigouvian tax is really a way to make a simple tax sound like something different. It is the same thing as your A/B scenario. It is a tax to influence behavior and in this case reduce consumption.

        Cap and Trade schemes are a very dumb plan as they are very inefficient in that they would take a large number of government administrators to manage such a program to keep it functional. You base proposal of an additional sales tax is more efficient. I do agree that there is virtually ZERO probability of all or most nations agreeing to a similar tax on CO2 generating products.

        It appears that the answer to my question to you is that no, you do not believe that putting a tax on fuel in the USA will actually reduce consumption by enough to have a measureable impact on the climate. I tend to agree, but do not think a fuel tax is a bad idea.

      • Rob Starkey

        You get the answer you ask for.

        I’ve tried to make it abundantly clear that temperature isn’t my issue.

        Yet you ask me about impact on climate, surely having had the chance to read my many longwinded explanations that I’m not all about the +/- AGW game.

        If you’re asking for predictions about climate and tax policy, the best I can offer is that the Risk associated with climate will fall if CO2E emissions fall enough.

        How that translates to the +/-AGW debate, if at all, not my concern. What ‘enough’ is, I can’t say. Nor can you.

        Certainly it’s probable that in the long run, higher Risk may impact refugee numbers. Then again, it may not.

        That’s the sort of hopelessly convoluted question for detail people who have the time for longwinded answers taking into consideration whether mobility increases with all weather crises or may decrease with some.

        Do I foresee billions displaced from coastlines by some Deluge?

        Not really, no.

        Most of them will have time to quietly retire inland after a lifetime rise of local water amounting to a half a foot or so.

        Millennial scale events, not easy to get excited about, but they do have real financial impacts on valuation in economies that aspire to millennial stability, and real impact on the security of nations, which aspire to be millennial things.

        If you really want me to guess about what unstated premises you wish I’d addressed if I had the clairvoyance to read your mind and pry from it what you consider salient and what irrelevant.

        Saying subsidies have nothing to do with economic efficiencies pretty much proves there’s no point in discussing economics, or what’s wrong with subsidies, until we’ve longwindedly covered that very elementary ground — which you clearly aren’t interested in, and I can’t be bothered. You’re on your own there. Best wishes with that.

        When you say the US doesn’t subsidize oil, you might even technically be right (though you aren’t) and still miss out the phenomenal levels of US governments’ subsidies to fossil energy (the largest net subsidizer to fossil energy in the world, by far, counting state and local support) . That you don’t believe this, can’t be convinced of it, won’t find out for yourself, or remain adamant about it despite all evidence to the contrary for some other reason.. all good enough reason for me to stop even trying.

        When the US government produces official reports to the contrary (like Lamont Alexander’s 2007 report) and you can come out and DENY (I use the word advisedly) it, why bother?

        To apply a VAT to CO2E is the easiest thing in the world. First apply a revenue-neutral carbon tax, then apply the VAT to that amount, as that amount is the price buyers are willing to pay (to the owners, us) for their incursion into the CO2E budget. The USA already publishes the CO2E of every fuel sold as part of its CO2 inventory by treaty, so that part is free. Same administration as any other VAT at the retail level after that.


        You make it sound like it’s so impossible that not even the greatest nation on Earth could do it. A jurisdiction the size of South Carolina already does it.

        Have you ever been to South Carolina? (Lovely place. Great people. You should visit.)

        How is a Pigouvian tax the same as a VAT or a rent? Tell that to people who grumble about sin taxes on their tobacco or to law enforcement who deal with black markets on goods that have distortionary levels of taxes applied.

        They’re completely different beasts, but one supposes it takes some grounding in tax policy, economics, public policy, marketing, business, law, or common sense to see that.

        We agree that Cap & Trade are very dumb plans. If you don’t do everything in your power to narrow and limit them to exactly and only what they are good for. Which you can’t do absent an effective carbon tax system.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m a minarchist, and dislike taxes greatly. But I dislike command and control regulation still more, and theft and free riding opportunists sucking the life out of the market more still.

        You can’t shut down the free riders without these measures? Bitter pill to swallow, but sometimes the economy has to take its medicine to be rid of its parasites.

        After all of this, I don’t believe a fuel tax is an issue one way or the other. Once all these measures are in place, it should be up to each jurisdiction to deem the fuel tax (or not) that best meets its needs.

        And though we don’t mention it, I wouldn’t mind if corporate taxes (outside of service fees) were dropped to frictional levels (certainly single digit percentage), too. If you want something to address refugee issues.

  2. It’s time and past time for individuals and organizations making alarming environmental predictions to be held accountable for those predictions.

    I don’t mean that they should be sued, but serious apologies are in order along with discussion of how to avoid such mistakes in the future.

    The environmental movement, including its scientists, need to be aware that these mistakes reflect on all environmentalists and they all need to be involved with speaking up when such predictions are made.

    Environmentalists can’t keep making scary predictions then ignoring their failures and moving the goalposts. Or, even more despicable, clumsily trying to delete their mistakes 1984-style.

    Here are more “Greatest Hit” quotes from environmentalists:

    I think citizens should be merciless in reminding environmentalists of their lousy record of alarmist predictions.

    • Environmentalists have been making ludicrous predictions since at least the Club of Rome days in the early seventies. Few have seen fit to apologise to date, dont hold your breath either.

      • Bill: I’m not holding my breath.

        I’m recommending that from here on out environmentalists be constantly reminded of their long history of failed predictions, and whenever they make another such prediction, mark it down then ask, “And how is it different this time?”

        “This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.”

        –Lowell Ponte “The Cooling”, 1976

  3. 2010 came and went without a single climate refugee – let alone 50 million.

    It was a specific prediction that just didn’t happen.

    That’s why the alarmists normally choose vague predictions along the lines of “bad stuff may happen towards the end of the century”.

    • Pakistan still has many many internally displaced persons from the floods

      No the floods were not caused by AGW, but rather by an extreme weather event, so under some definitions these would count as climate refugees

      • But what’s the point of classifying them as climate refugees, if the event can’t be attributed to AGW?

      • well, whether you call them weather refugees or climate refugees, there are important implications of this migration (once you get past the idea that climate refugees is being used as some sort of selling point for CO2 mitigation). The Okies were climate refugees (but nothing to do with AGW).

      • But all you’ve done is slap a new label on an old phenomenon. Again, is there a point to this, in the sense that it serves any purpose?

      • Again, is there a point to this, in the sense that it serves any purpose?

        Perhaps that this is a real phenomenon that can be both forseen and planned for. We shouldn’t let the hucksters blind us to that fact.

      • I have been involved in the 2010 Pakistan floods as a member of a UN mission to assess damages and propose recovery programs. It does not seem to me that displaced people will be displaced for long, except for the time needed for them to get new dwelling places instead of the ones destroyed in the floods. The government and the main international organisations have pledged to help rebuilt houses, roads and other structures within a limited time. Floods in the Indus Valley, besides, are not a new phenomenon, nor can they be attributed to climate change but to natural weather variability, even the large event of 2010 (Monsoons plus El Niño are the culprits, methinks).
        Every large natural disaster, climate-related or not (think earthquakes), as well as armed conflict and economic collapses may motivate an increase in migration, either domestic or international. Some long-term environmental changes (e.g. those causing desertification) may cause a steady outflow as well. Mere poverty also drives migration. Among the many causes pushing people out of their native land, environmental factors may be one, along with many others.
        Of course the dire “climate refugees” predictions were a fake, designed solely to scare the good God-fearing, immigrant-hating souls in the developed world and push them into action about those goddamm’d CO2 emissions. But good scientists know better.

      • Hecttor M,
        Thank you for your work in reducing suffering.
        Where are those good scientists hiding out?
        Now would be a good time for them to show up.

      • Judith—
        As you well know, the damage in Pakistan due to the floods was caused to the fact that Pakistan does virtually nothing in regards to construction of infrastructure to prevent such flooding. That is the problem of Pakistan PERIOD. The country is so corrupt it is impossible to get anything build without massive amounts of kickbacks and even then projects are delayed as people want ever more bribes. This is NOT an issue the US should be concerned with at all.

      • From one of the previous pakistan threads:

        U.S. security repercussions from the floods included: disruption of transport of logistical supplies to Afghanistan, distraction of U.S. military assets from Afghanistan for HA/DR missions, distraction of Pakistani govt from dealing with the Taliban, displacement of flood victims to Karachi which is exacerbating ethnic tensions, concerns about increased poppy cultivation, overall exacerbation of political violence.

        If you aren’t concerned about terrorist strikes in the U.S. or about heroin in the U.S. or about general humanitarian issues, then you would probably think the U.S. shouldn’t be concerned with this issue.

      • Judith- IMO you are completely over the top on this one.
        1. The issues related to the transportaion of goods into Afganistan from Pakistan are a relatively short term concern. (Unless you believe that we will be in Afghanistan for many decades). The time to build Pakistan’s infrastructure will take decades and billions. It is certainly a poor investment for the US to fix their infrastructure in he belief that it will help transport goods into Afghanistan.

        2. For you to write that it “distracted” the Pakistani government from dealing with the Taliban is completely in error. What distracted the Pakistani’s from dealing with the Taliban is that much of their government and secret services ARE the Taliban for all practical purposes and they have a very limited desire to change the culture. Any thinking they had about the victims of flooding was certainly VERY short term and not strategic.

        3. You wrote: “Displacement of flood victims to Karachi which is exacerbating ethnic tensions”- Again, this is a short term problem caused by long term Pakistani neglect of their countries infrastructure. It is their problem and nothing to do with the issue of climate change will have an impact. Foreign funds are not the solution to their cultural problem.

        4. Finally, a really over the top vile comment- “If you aren’t concerned about terrorist strikes in the U.S. or about heroin in the U.S. or about general humanitarian issues, then you would probably think the U.S. shouldn’t be concerned with this issue”.

        So if I believe (accurately) that Pakistan has an extremely corrupt government that does not invest in its own infrastructure to prevent flood damage you would label me as not caring about humanitarian issues. Perhaps I realize that there are many humanitarian issues to be dealt with and limited US funds to deal with such issues and those funds need to be spent wisely. Your comment about heroin use and terrorist threats are rather silly. If you “BEILEVE” that foreign government putting their noses into domestic Pakistani affairs will lead to less worldwide terrorism, that is your right, but you have no evidence for your statement. Heroin supply? LOL really? a climate issue???

      • Read my previous post and the technical references linked therein:

      • Judith—I have read your previous post and had commented on that post at that time. I made the comments because I happen to be very familiar with the economics of the region.

        You do not disagree that Pakistan is a corrupt country, but you believe that we have some type of “humanitarian duty” to spend highly limited US resources on this corrupt regime and nation. I absolutely believe you are WRONG and that our resources should be used elsewhere. Your rather silly attempt link unrelated ideas like heroin production to climate change is beneath you. Your comment that someone who does not support your misguided position does not support humanitarian issues, or supports terrorists, or heroin is contemptuous.

      • I have a grant from the DOD to investigate such issues, including the linkages between climate variability and change and agriculture in afghanistan and northern pakistan, particularly as related to poppy cultivation. It is an issue that the U.S. DOD is concerned about, and they want to understand more about this issue. My studying this issue does not imply any personal judgement about how the U.S. government spends its resources, I am repeating their stated justification for their involvement in Pakistan. Their stated justification for involvement in pakistan is what it is, including poppy cultivation, terrorism, humanitarian issues, and regional stability. So argue with the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Congress if you don’t think this involvement is justified.

        Further information on what the U.S. DOD is up to in Afghanistan and Pakistan can be found at the U.S. Central Command web site., read especially the Posture Statement

        And a reminder, every time I use the word “climate” or “climate change,” I am not saying anything specifically about the causes of climate change or the policy solutions. If I am talking about AGW, I use the words AGW or global warming. So a knee jerk reaction that thinks I am saying we need to stop burning fossil fuels so we can reduce the import of heroin into the U.S. is way off base and not anything close to something that can be inferred from my statements.

      • Dr Curry (in the linked post):Note, this is a very concrete example of my interest in how to make regional decadal scenario projections out to 2040.

        I understand how the Webster paper about predictability on ~1 to 2 week time-scale relates to huge public safety / security and humanitarian benefits, but it’s not very clear how a scenarios out to 2040 could make a bit of difference. In other words, what would I do differently given such a 30 year prediction that I wouldn’t already do? If the prediction is just fiddling around in the “tails of the distribution”, then the recommended actions are likely to be the same as you’d get from a naive “prepare for the 100 year flood” sort of risk management solution (or perhaps Dr Peilke’s “bottom up vulnerability” suggestions). I am very interested in hearing your take on the what the value proposition for decision makers is concerning these sorts of high-fidelity, medium to long-term predictions.

      • jstults, very very good question, which deserves a separate post. The key issue on these time scales is decisions regarding civil infrastructure and land use decisions. Preparing for the 100 year flood is one important scenario, but there are other scenarios that can developed by other analysis techniques including ensemble climate model simulations.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Tthe question is not about concern of terrorist strikes. And to hold up terrorism as a justification for climate research is a pretty big red herring/straw man tactic.
        When the Monguls invaded Afghanistan and wrecked the incredible irrigation systems that made much of Afghanistan famous for its fertility, no one needed to look to CO2 as the culprit.
        To do so now speaks poorly of our analytical skills and decision making.

      • Judith-

        Congratulations on your grant.

        IMO it is an example of wasteful US Government spending and evidence that demonstrates how badly DoD can spend taxpayers monies. That said, I do not blame you for taking the grant, I only find fault in it being funded.

        I did thoroughly read the posture statement and it certainly supports what I wrote about Pakistan. Our disagreement regarding Pakistan is whether it is the responsibility of the US taxpayer to fund or manage improvements in Pakistani infrastructure. I believe it is not our problem and we should worry about people in the US before those in foreign countries.

        As I read the worldwide news, it appears that my perspective is becoming more common. Nations are beginning to get tired of having to support other countries that fail to keep their own house in order. As the worldwide economic problems become more extreme it will be interesting to see how this evolves. (look and Finland and Germany)

      • Rob, in case you missed it the first time around, my post on climate change and security

        provides a number of links to documents from the U.S. DOD and State Dept that addresses the link between regional security and climate change and natural hazards impacts.

      • Rob
        Here is an example of a changing attidude.
        France Blocks Trains Carrying North African Immigrants From Italy
        Course the French have always had race issues :)
        Regarding security threats. You have 4 options. Keep them out, Let them in, Invade them or Help them out. The last one became vogue 60 years ago. If you look at Africa it has not turned out any better than the other 3.

      • Alexander Harvey


        Regarding Afghanistan:

        I expect you know that Helmand was subject to extensive agricultural studies back about 50/60 years ago and a concerted effort to institute development along lines that paralleled some aspects of TVA work. Somewhere there should be a rich vein of data both prior to and after the new irrigation systems were installed.

        It is an interesting and not often recalled period of US development aid in the Cold War buffer states. The scope was extensive and costly but most importantly planned which means someone somewhere may still have a wealth of information either held federally or by the contractors involved going back all that way.

        I does seem a little strange now that the Lashkar Gah and environs were once dubbed “Little America”.


      • Jeff Norris:
        “Course the French have always had race issues”
        What kind of a statement is this? And the British and the Americans have not?! Or the Duch or the Swedes? Or…

      • Sven
        My sincerest apologies if I offend you. It was an attempt at humor that failed on you. Please note the :) It was a reference to a common complaint that the French look down at anything that is non French.

      • Jeff, I don’t feel offended. I’ve sure made the mistakes myself but because of my job I’ve lived in so many different countries (and happen to live in France right now), that I’ve really learned how wrong almost all stereotypes are.

      • jc – The issue of refugees is important, no matter what has caused them to seek refuge. Displaced poor persons need help – lots of it. This vital issue needs addressing, but has nothing whatever to do with climate disruption nor can it be solved by trying to cast national blame for natures vagaries.

        Pakistan, as a country, was not surprised by the flooding of its delta area — it is a regular and expected event — but overwhelmed by its inability to respond to the magnitude of the event. Poor weather forecasting resulted in poor- to-no planning which, combined with lack of national resources, led to disaster. Thus you have thousands of poor refugees placed as a burden on the rest of the Pakistanis, who are themselves already poor. We’ll not resolve this problem by discussing it in a climate-related forum.

        There are forums that try to work out these humanitarian relief issues where this issue would be better dealt with.

      • By some definitions, the Katrina “victims” would also be counted as climate refugees. In spite of the ridiculousness of that designation.

        There are probably those who would claim that those who retire and move to Florida and Arizona also qualify. Even though they’re moving voluntarily into a warmer climate.

      • Yes, Judith slipped a cog or two. Has the climate of Pakistan recently changed? If so, how? If not, there are at present no climate change refugees in Pakistan. If you don’t know, you have no basis for assertions pro or con.

        There are some people who have been temporarily displaced because of a natural disaster. Hardly a national security threat.

        One could, I suppose, root around in the plethora of GCMs in an attempt to justify the climate refugee meme. Regrettably, GCMs are generally recognized as having no regional climate prediction skill whatsoever.

        With threads dealing with PNS, green capitalism, climate refugees, carbon sequestration and miscellaneous other claptrap, one wonders where Judith is coming from.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Is a particular flood event now a ‘climate crisis’?

      • judith

        Classifying Pakistani flood refugees as “climate refugees” is flat out silly and pure hype.

        Every natural disaster will have victims. If it occurs in an already impoverished region, it might cause an increase in emigration (or refugees) from that region.

        The UNEP predictions of “millions of climate refugees” never happened, demonstrating that it was a flawed prediction to start with.

        People do not flee a few tenths of a degree warmer climate than they had 30 years ago. They flee war, famine, oppression, natural disasters and/or abject poverty. And these are not caused by AGW.

        The proponents of the “dangerous AGW” premise would do well to avoid such ridiculous claims, which are unfounded to start with and then backfire when it is shown that they were wrong.

        It’s like the Himalayan glacier canard plus the others that were exposed.

        The general public sees through this hype. It all just makes AGW look like an unfounded hysteria rather than a serious issue based on sound science.

        If I were a climate scientist, I would vehemently distance myself from this stuff for fear that it would otherwise make me look foolish, as well.


  4. Was Midnight Cowboy a climate refugee :) :) :)

    “…Going where the weather suits my clothes,
    Backing off of the North East wind,
    Sailing on summer breeze
    And skipping over the ocean like a stone.

    “I’m going where the sun keeps shining
    Thru’ the pouring rain,
    Going where the weather suits my clothes,
    Backing off of the North East wind,
    Sailing on summer breeze
    And skipping over the ocean like a stone …”

  5. “So the question is, how many other failed CAGW predictions are the out there, besides the one on climate refugees?”

    Indeed that is a great question. Their failed predictions are so numerous it’s getting hard to keep track of them all. They’re falling in ever greater numbers, in a steadily increasing drumbeat. To we skeptics it’s become a sweet and soothing rain.

    How much longer can the MSM continue to ignore these embarrassing failures? The journalistic negligence we’re seeing is every bit as shameful as the scientific.

  6. If I understand Dr Curry’s views correctly, there is a substantial chance that under business as usual projections of GHG emissions, climate change and sea level rise will lead to significant displacement of people – quite possibly tens of millions – within as little as a few decades and with higher likelihood by the end of the century. Given the existing difficulties we have provisioning for people displaced by the current scale of weather/climate extremes, this is a reason for some concern. The fact that one prediction (or even several) of the timing/existence of such refugees was wrong says little about the actual likelihood of such refugees being created in the future. Dr. Curry provided plenty of links to serious discussions of the topic. But commenters here (and of course at WUTW) seem to think that what matters is “CAGW PREDICTIONS WRONG AGAIN, UN CONSPIRES TO SCARE EVERYONE.”

    I’ll be interested to see whether anything is posted discussing the other issues Judy raised.

    • The fact that one prediction (or even several) of the timing/existence of such refugees was wrong says little about the actual likelihood of such refugees being created in the future.

      I think that’s a valid point, Paul. Most of the quoted predictions relate to changes by 2050 and only a few involved changes over the past few years, so it’s hard to know which predictions will prove accurate and which will not. The only thing we can predict with confidence is that when there is a wide range of predictions, most will be wrong, probably including those on either extreme.

      • We can all agree that bad-stuff-may-happen™

        I’m getting pretty darned good at the prediction business :)

      • The fact that idiots even make brain dead predictions that, by their very nature, are impossible to prove demonstrates that they are grossly incompetent. No one should ever spend a nickel based on the stupid predictions of incompetents.

        These predictions demonstrate that the climate scaremongers are devoid of credibility. No scientist worth more than a bucket of warm spit would ever tolerate having his name or his work associated with such ridiculous foolishness.

      • Fred,
        It means that you guys are throwing mud at the wall and hoping that some of it will stick.
        “Well that was not a miracle after all, but THIS special event was fer sure. So you must believe!

    • Sorry, Paul.

      The UNEP prediction was made some years ago.

      It was later proven false (as the Asian Correspondent article points out).

      Saying “well, it might still happen some time in the future” is purely conjectural and flat out silly.

      People do not leave their homes because the temperature there has increased by some tenths of a degree over the past 30 years.

      They flee for totally other reasons.

      For some theoreticians to come up with hypothetical predictions like this one just shows how far removed from reality they really are.

      There are no “climate refugees”.

      And there will be no “climate refugees” resulting from AGW (that’s my prediction, which is based on common sense rather than hypothetical deliberations based on flawed logic).


  7. Trying to segment and attribute motives to those who pack up and move will be an interesting exercise. Given the slow moving nature of climate change I would suspect that only those thinking of the future could even remotely qualify.

    Thousands are driven before the wind and away from harsh winters and summers. They usually return or are replaced by those fleeing even worse conditions. But that’s weather.

    Unless they get into the same ridiculous percentage game that creates 300,000 imaginary deaths due to climate change, it will take some determined social scientists to tease this one out.

  8. So far nobody has even mentioned the fact that not only has the prediction failed, but that they tried to cover it up/disappear it. And THAT is the most egregious part of the exercise.

    No apology, no admission of failure – just another business-as-usual, let’s move the goalposts and they’ll never notice or know the difference This has been SOP for the alarmist/leftist faction for the 20 years that I’ve been paying attention. The attitude assumes that the average bear Joe Sixpack is too stupid to notice and too powerless to do anything about it if they do.

    • Where is the proof for a cover-up. One service in Norway that produces pictorial material related to environmental and development issues removed those pictures from their repository. Is that cover-up? Why should they continue to offer material that has turned up to be wrong? To satisfy WUTW?

      The original articles remain available in the same place where they have been.

      I agree fully with Judith’s comment on backfiring of extreme alarmistic forecasts. It’s stupid to distribute them, as they are almost certain to have finally the opposite effect of their ostensible message. The unfounded estimates of specific damages and belittling of the significance of adaptation are serious faults in the report of IPCC WG2, and these problems influence also WG3. The science is very inconclusive in the areas covered by WG2 and WG3, but that should not lead to as biased presentation as we can find in very many parts of WG2 and WG3 reports and in special reports on related issues. The potential risks can be emphasized, but presenting them as virtually certain or very likely backfires badly, even if the uncertainties are stated somewhere unnoticed by most readers.

      • Pekka

        This time I agree fully with you. Silly projections like this one only make everyone look stupid and certainly do not help the AGW “cause”.

        One can always “emphasize potential risks”, as you wrote, i.e. it may get warmer or cooler or wetter or dryer or windier or calmer not change at all (because that’s what weather and it’s big brother, climate, do all the time), but this is also silly, unless one includes all possibilities.

        Best thing is to forget about trying to make poorly founded predictions of potential risks related to what might to happen to our climate.

        Even warming predictions, such as made by IPCC for the first decades of the 21st century, turned out to be totally wrong so far, and have only made the IPCC models look silly. They raise the obvious question: “if these models can’t even predict what is going to happen over the next 10 years, how can their predictions for the next 100 years possibly be taken seriously?”

        My advice: stay away from “crystal ball” projections of potential risks; they will only backfire.


  9. “No the floods ((in Pakistan) were not caused by AGW, but rather by an extreme weather event, so under some definitions these would count as climate refugees.”

    That’s a bit of a stretch, and in any case not seeing how it pertains. I’d say they’re weather refugees Dr. C., as “climate” implies weather patterns of long standing.

    “I am raising the broader issus of climate refugees.”

    But again, there aren’t any, which is why the discussion is really about predictions, and in this case at least one spectacularly failed predictions. 50 million? And they gave themselves 5 years! Almost incredibly poor judgment on the part of the predictors. Fantastical is a word that comes to mind.

  10. By some definitions, Noah was a climate refugee.

  11. When one “disappears” the data, whether such data is one’s predictions of climate refugees or recent tree ring data because one believes recent tree ring data is in error, speaks to how comfortable one has become with the ideology and abandoned one’s calling. Climate scientists appear to be very comfortable. They are neither to be believed nor trusted. They are best left to be ignored. Another instance of a complex problem given a simple answer, that is wrong. As you know, Pakistan’s recent flood was a disaster waiting to happen because of upstream forest denuding, water channels not maintained or left unbuilt, lots of people living in a known flood plain, and a lack of communication of risks. Nothing at all to do with atmospheric temperatures or CO2, just plain old accumulated institutionalized incompetence. These river flooding “refugees” can hardly be labeled “environmental refugees” described in Argos’s book. The book is lead by its ideology. Again, to be ignored.

    • Don’t blame the climate refugee predictions on climate scientists, blame the UN, social scientists, and NGOs.

      • son of mulder

        But climate scientists are surely best placed to point out when a prediction is unsupported by science. But then they get called sceptics and it’s apparently not good for their careers.

      • Judy, if the UN, social scientists, NGOs, politicians, and government agencies all told the world that my work “proved” that terrible disasters would happen in the future, I would hope that I had the personal integrity to correct the record and assure the people being stampeded by fear that my work did no such thing. If I failed to do so, I would deserve to be tarred and feathered with the rest of the scaremongers.

      • Dr. Curry,
        They are all one and the same parts of the AGW movement.
        Where were the climate scientists telling the refugee hypesters, “No, there are no climate refugees? You are over stating the case.”
        No where to be found. The AGW promoters and profiteers thought that prediction, like all of the others, are just great because they help the public understand the grave peril of AGW. Just like all of those marketing seminars climate scientists hold on how to get the public to believe.

        The issue, like in any other scandal is about the cover up.

      • Judith,

        I agree with you that “climate scientists” were not the principal culprits here. There may have been a handful of the “insider group” that have tried to sell the “null hypothesis” of more severe weather caused by AGW (leading to “climate refugees”), but, fortunately these are a minority.

        But, Judith, I honestly do believe that it is important for those climate scientists who do not belong to this “insider group” of “IPCC dogma defenders” to let the world know that they do not support this sort of thing. Failure to publicly distance themselves from this hype makes them look like silent accomplices and eventually look foolish in the eyes of public opinion.

        Just my thoughts on this.


      • Don’t blame the climate refugee predictions on climate scientists, blame the UN, social scientists, and NGOs.

        Dr. Curry: No go.

        How about the IPCC’s careless cite of the Himalayan glacier melt? How about the wild stuff that Dr. Jim Hansen and Dr. Jim Lovelock keep pumping into the media? How about the sainted Dr. Stephen Scheider’s “scary scenarios” and his blather about global cooling back in the seventies? Not to mention all the damage Dr. Paul Ehrlich has done from his lofty perch at Stanford. Last but not least, Dr. John Holdren burrowed all the way up into the White House as top science advisor. Holdren previously had supported global cooling, and now global warming and was one of the authorities behind Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth.”

        No. Environmental science is rotting from the head down. These are not a few lone-nut, fringe PhDs from obscure academic posts at community colleges. These are the people who have risen to the most prominent, choice positions in their world.

        If they do not represent climate scientists, who does? If climate scientists don’t like their representation, why aren’t they doing something about it?

        Scientists and academics, as well as the UN, NGOs, and environmental lobbyist groups, are all part of the same cocktail party that has been serving the same kool-aid for decades now. The mistakes are always towards alarmism, towards a liberal agenda, and — not surprisingly — towards more funding and power for scientists.

        From what I can tell, Dr. Curry, you are about the only climate scientist making a principled stand. Thank you.

    • Climate refugees are a subset of environmental refugees. Degradation of the environment (such as what has been occurring in North Pakistan) is a key reason for environmental migration.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Then the term is meaningless.
        The specific prediction of the UN is that CO2 would cause 50 million refugees.
        A flood in Pakistan that has been reasonably shown to NOT be caused by CO2 is not going to fit in your redefinition. The 2005 hurricane season, not casued by CO2 is another example of the failed prediction.
        The UN did not say ‘environmental refugees’. They predicted 50 million ‘climate refugees’ by last year.
        Redefining the issue and saying it is OK because it might someday happen is not reasonable.

  12. Rattus Norvegicus

    Just as a WAG I would guess that there were quite a few this year in Pakistan. This even has has led to a definite loss of support for a government what was already on shaky ground. China and Brazil likewise had their problems with internal refugees from climate (maybe one should say weather at this point) disasters. And of course New Orleans in 2005 had a large number (in the hundreds of thousands of refugees many, if not most, of which have not been able to resettle in NOLA. They are out there, they are just not crossing borders.

    I would also note that “The Asian Correspondent” has offices in NY and the UK. No Asian office. Hmm….

    • Rattus, see my comment above about Pakistan.

    • And of course New Orleans in 2005 had a large number (in the hundreds of thousands of refugees many, if not most, of which have not been able to resettle in NOLA.

      I think if you investigate, you’ll find that most have or intend to return.

      • A sizable group didn’t return. There was some whining by various local officials who accepted ‘temporary relocation’s’ when the Federal money ran out and the temporary relocation’s ended up on local welfare rolls.

      • harry –
        The rebuilding is still ongoing so eventually many of those presently not in NO will end up back there. My kids have spent considerable time and effort in that rebuilding.

    • “I would also note that ‘The Asian Correspondent’ has offices in NY and the UK. No Asian office. Hmm….”

      Are you implying that they have fled Asia to get away from all the terrifying climate change?

  13. When I first read the prediction of 50 m climate refugees by 2010, I thought it was just a typo for 2100. You know, you can say anything about 2100 or 2050: changes are you’ll be dead or your words forgotten when that time comes. But if they seriously predicted it for 2010, it would tell a lot about their sanity of mind, or their honesty.

    • If you read the wiki excerpt above, it was no typo:

      By 1989, Mustafa Tolba, Executive Director of UNEP, was claiming that ‘as many as 50 million people could become environmental refugees’ if the world did not act to support sustainable development (Tolba 1989: 25). . . In the mid-1990s, Norman Myers became the most prominent proponent of this ‘maximalist’ school (Suhrke 1993), stating that there were 25 million environmental refugees in the mid-1990s, and claiming that this figure could double by 2010, with an upper limit of 200 million by 2050 (Myers 1997).

      It was risible at the time it was written, but 2010 had to come and go before somebody at the UN thought it was a good idea to disappear the claim. IOW, they all really believed it. I wonder if there’s anything they wouldn’t believe?

    • “But if they seriously predicted it for 2010, it would tell a lot about their sanity of mind, or their honesty.”
      Well said, Hector.

  14. When I wrote “changes are” of course I meant “chances are”. Sorry.

  15. An important point is that these predictions are being made by government sanctioned entities. This immediately gives them a validity for policy decisions and allocations of resources. I do not know whether or not any governments made any policy decisions based upon these migration predictions but I am pretty sure that monies have flowed due in part because of them. But even that does not scratch the surface of this continuing travesty.

    A not so insignificant point is that all the predicted migrations were not based on nothing or out of thin air. They were based upon projections of climate changes that either did not occur, or were not as bad as had been projected. In a sense the predicted migrations was just the tip of the iceberg of all the faulty projections that were made in order that a conclusion could be reached about such wide spread human displacement. Oceans didn’t rise, deserts did not grow, islands did not sink beneath the waves, hurricanes did not destroy coastal communities to the point of abandonment, etc, etc.

    This episode is a perfect illustration of what the global warming hysterics of the climate science community has wrought on mankind, Nothing really is happening and yet billions of dollars are being wasted, worthless and faulty policies are being enacted and the real harm is being done is to those who could benefit from sane policies and compassionate uses of resources.

    And here we have people debating the importance of non existent climate refugees as if it were an intellectual exercise. Because of the bastardized policies of the climate science driven hysteria about a make believe problem many of those people who are not migrating from a non-existent crisis are starving to death or dieing from indoor air pollution because of the lack of resources and actual humane policies. Scientist lie and people die.

    • Well said, Jerry. You have summarized the situation very well.

      This one is has been exposed as a red herring, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.


  16. Thanks, Professor Curry, for this topic.

    To me the most frightening part of this story is the fact that “left-wing” Democrats like Barack Obama, “right-wing” Republicans like Newt Gingrich, and “great statesmen” like Desmond Tutu would join forces with the likes of Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC in scaremongering.

    Have leaders of any political party condemned this nonsense?

    No wonder voters want to vote all office holders out of office.

  17. I will sponsor 1 climate refugee to a dinner at the Mc Donalds of their choice if that choice is located within 10 miles of my house and on presentation of climate refugee papers. If everyone would feed a verified climate refugee in this way there would be no starving climate refugees.

    I can’t tell you what a gut wrenching experience it is to have to step over the bodies of all these climate refugees while trying to board a commuter bus to get to work. Why doesn’t Obama do more for these homeless waifs? I can’t believe I’m the only climate refugee advocate out here – check in, people!

  18. “The unfounded and senseless predictions of the UNEP could very well ‘backfire and result in policies that marginalise the poorest and vulnerable groups.’

    The poor and the vulnerable are not the ends of progressives like those who run the UN and its various directorates. They are merely the means.

    The goal of virtually all progressive movements and programs (national and international alike) is the accumulation of power. That is why the targets of their initiatives are invariably the affluent Western countries. Progressives target the affluent for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks – that’s where the money (and power) is.

    Here in the US, progressives have taxed and spent hundreds of billions on education in the richest country the world has even known, but have not taught the poor children trapped in schools under their control the most basic skills of reading and math. But no worries, teachers’ unions are able to funnel hundreds of millions to progressive political campaigns and provide government financed campaign workers on election day. And those children grow into adults who will be forever dependent on government to survive, and thus can be counted to vote for progressives in perpetuity.

    Internationally, restrictions on DDT result in a rise in deaths among the poorest people on the planet, but that is a fair price because that fight gave rise to the “environmental movement” as we know it, with all the tax free budgets and government largesse that have gone with it. Billions have been spent (and collected in the form of paychecks and grants) to chase the ghost of CAGW. So what if billions live without access to clean water, where would all those progressives be without their NGO and government jobs? Let’s keep our priorities in order, huh?

    Why should it be any surprise that their efforts on a global scale can be just as harmful to the supposed beneficiaries of their feigned compassion. If you think the intended beneficiaries of progressive policies are “the poor” and “the children,” then they are unmitigated failures everywhere they have been tried. But once you realize those policies are about the accumulation of power, you see how very successful they have been.

    The UNEP predictions (like the AR4 predictions about the glaciers, Amazon desertrification, etc.) were never about helping refugees, they were about providing a rationale for increasing centralization of power and increased taxation. They have been “disappeared” in true Orwellian fashion because such faulty predictions have done great damage to the real progressive agenda lately.

    • Which explains the polar bear as mascot. Feel-gooders don’t get all worked up about poor people, but who can be against the fuzzy-wuzzy bear? Cap your carbon or the bear gets it.

  19. Again, Orwelian speak. There will be no progress in our understanding until we clean it up.

    When you define Climate Change as anthropogenic climate change, anything is possible.

    There has always been climate change and climate refugees. It is not going to change.

  20. During the last half million years, before Younger Dryas, a relatively short period of warm ocean and thawed Arctic Sea Ice did put down enough Ice to cover the northern latitudes with so much ice that it took a hundred thousand years to melt and sublimate it to the point that the earth could enter the next global warming phase. The data exhibits the characteristics of a stable cycle that can range between 5 degrees above the modern normal and 10 degrees below the modern normal. The warm phase, when the Arctic is full of water that is not covered with ice is very brief, a few thousand years, because the snow falls rapidly and the oceans drop rapidly and the ice sheets build up rapidly. The ocean drops and cuts off the flow of warm water into the Arctic, the snow stops and the ice starts to melt and sublimate. It takes about a hundred thousand years for the ice sheets to thin to the point that they start to retreat. There were four of these cycles that were much warmer than today which were each followed by cycles that were much colder than today. The temperatures during these cold cycles do demonstrate the characteristics of a stable, but not tightly regulated system. Solar cycles, Orbit cycles, Volcanoes, etc. could push the temperatures up or down a good bit.
    After Younger Dryas, the earth entered a new, unprecedented phase where temperature is tightly regulated. In this modern normal phase, Solar cycles, Orbit cycles Volcanoes, etc. cannot push temperature up more than a degree or drop it more than a degree very often and never more than 2.

  21. Dr. C — this is a head scratcher from you.

  22. Here in Texas we see seasonal migrations of “Snow Birds” from Canada and other points in the far north. Driving their RVs and pulling little SUV dingys these “birds” show up in Corpus Christie and Padre Island around November and stay until March.

    Of course we export our own native RV birds TO the north during 40 degree weather ( +100 F)

    All very Lomborgian. Migration, mitigation, adaptation. No need to modify the climate, just how (and where) we choose to experience. it.

  23. Judith,

    If you use the perspective of an impending “Ice Age”, then survival for food and warmth are a major priority.
    Take the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”. The used a climate model to predict the spread of cloud cover and cold. Was that a true an accurate model?
    No. The model spread way beyond the equator into the southern hemisphere. Any studying of the satellite mapping shows that storms and cloud cover NEVER crosses the equator.

    Does the current evidence warrant worry that we are currently in the start of glaciation?
    Yes. Due to cold dense air being pulled down due to the stretched atmosphere at the equatorial region that has now become colder due to the water temperatures that is cooling the stretched atmosphere. Creating less atmospheric pressure.

  24. Judith,

    One thing I keep harping on is the surface salt changes that has inhibited solar penetration of heat into the oceans.
    Fluffed off as having no bearing.
    Yet, when researching the history of salt, it was far more plentiful and had to be for a faster rotating planet or centrifugal force would have shed it off of this planet when first formed. Water is a plentiful in this solar system. Saturn’s rings are made of crystallized water and so are many comets and meteors. Our belief, that this planet was a chemical brew is incorrect due to the massive heat that helped to infused minerals and salt into the water which shed off over the years due to planetary slowdown.

  25. The migration story at this broad geographic level is one of net out-migration from the Northeast and the Midwest and net inmigration to the South.

    Do these people (or a subset) qualify as “climate refugees” moving from the snowy and cold north to the sunny and warm south?

  26. We’ll be clustered at the equator sooner and more often than at the poles. Deal with it.

  27. First let’s call a spade by it’s real name.

    The problem is that the Climate Scientists, Govt Agencies and MSM have branded ” Climate and Climate Change ” as ” Warming due to Human Released CO2 “. Every single time they mention Climate, Climate Change and Climate Refugees they deliberately intend the meaning to be seen as changes caused due to human induced CO2. Under that context they have been creating havoc with gloom and doom messages and predictions. They want the public to see every event as caused by man and create a sense of guilt. When these predictions fail as they are wont to, they come and point out ” weather ” related events like Katrina and Pakistan Floods as evidence. And people pontificate about how people are re-settled by ” Climate ” disasters. And go into pointless theorizing about how to prepare for it in future.

    It took Hector here to explain the case of Pakistan as luckily he was involved there. Likewise if you ask people closely related with Russia, China and Brazil, you’ll get a true on the ground perspective of the events. But for AGW supporters such an efforts seems to be an anathema. Every natural disaster seems to be a new excuse for them to shamelessly link it to ” Climate Change ” and pontificate.

    Again, at the risk of repeating this, the common theme seems to be ” if it is hot, it’s climate, if it’s cold, it’s weather. If there are natural disasters, it has to be termed as climate related disaster, with intention to imply that human made CO2 is responsible “. And make sure to mention ” carbon ” when you mean CO2.

    That is the problem with Climate Science and Scientists and all other AGW positive agencies’ communication. That is what made it easy to label sceptics as ” Climate Change Deniers “, when nobody actually denied that the climate changes. There is a fundamental dishonesty being practiced in comunication with intent to deceive the great unwashed. Until this lot learn to separate these terms and talk of weather, climate, human released O2 and Carbon as separate entities with specific attribution to each of the above names / factors and then state their case , nobody is going to trust weasel words.

    So something like ” Climate Refugee ” is a misnomer unless one is prepared to clearly define it and state that they are discussing about problems faced by people displaced by extreme weather events, with the caveat that they are not linking it to ” Climate Change ” or ” Human Induced CO2 “. Climate Science has lost the benefit of doubt to be believed literally based upon words stated by the proponents as there has been too many semantic games played with these words.

  28. And if anybody wants to worry about ” Climate Refugees ” and how to start handling such ” climate ” related problems as a precautionary principle, I can recommend an excellent post done by Willis Eschenbach 16 months ago which is clear and lucid.

  29. Judith writes “Yes, “another failed climate prediction” is the issue WUWT is pursuing. I am raising the broader issue of climate refugees”

    I am afraid this is going to be a little long. I dont want to be misinterpreted, and I know how easy it is to write something on this sort of blog, and have it completely misunderstood. I started on this type of discussion some 20 years ago; on Usenet and a group called rec.crafts.textiles.needlework. One writes something, one thinks what was written is completely clear, and then someone interprets it in a way that was never intended.

    It is clear that CAGW is not occurring at the moment; it is an idea of something that will happen 50 or 100 years in the future if we dont reduce our production of GHGs. So there are no such things as “climate refugees” in 2011. And, therefore, there is no urgency to discuss what may turn out to be a purely hypothetical concept.

    The proponents of CAGW have been caught making a wrong prediction. The best thing to do under such circumstances is to ‘fess up, and hope the whole thing will go away quietly. The cover up is always worse that the original mistake. But a cover up is precisely what the proponents of CAGW have attempted to do this time. The offending web page was removed; the excuse was made that it was a typo; it should have been 2020 or 2100; etc. etc.

    So I wonder why, Judith, you started this thread at all. It could not be because climate refugees represent a “clear and present danger”; they dont. So this brings me to my question. I have enormous respect for you; the success of this blog; and your courageous effort to get both sides of the CAGW debate to discuss things in a quiet and scientific atmosphere.. But if you did not introduce this thread because climate refugees need urgent consideration, was it an attempt to help the rest of the CAGW community to “circle the wagons”?

    • I started this thread to increase understanding of a complex issue. It is a direct response to the WUWT thread, which arguably leads the reader to the conclusion that the whole issue can be dismissed because some politically motivated people made a prediction that turned out to be wrong. Particularly in the context of my interests on climate and security, I think that it is important that the issue of climate/weather/environment impacts on migration is better understood.

      • “which arguably leads the reader to the conclusion that the whole issue can be dismissed because some politically motivated people made a prediction that turned out to be wrong”

        That wasn’t the impression i got- i thought it was more about the hiding of a blatant mistake, rather than commentary on an issue as a whole.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Since the issue bogus, perhaps the point of the conversation should be to demand that allegedly responsible groups offer reality in stead of hype?
        But why is ‘cliamte/weather/environment’ even listed together?
        They are not one and the same.
        You can have a marvelous climate with terrible weather (as we do now), you can have a horrible climate with great weather, and you can have bad environmental probelms in any climate or weather combination.
        Perhaps part of the ineffective, increasingly costly policies we are pursuing is due to thinking that things that are not equal are equal?

      • The issue of the prediction mentioned in this article Dr.Curry, is that as you mentioned, this is a politically motivated prediction that turned out massively wrong. And it was made in the name of Climate Change by a UN body. With IPCC also being a UN Body and Climate Scientists closely associated with IPCC, nobody from the Climate Science community stood up to UNEP and say ” Hey guys, that prediction is not supported by our science, so please don’t make unsupported statements. They did not have to say it to UN. They could have given a general statement that this was not correct. They did not do so. So the first thing would be is to admit that and not to dress it up in any other way.

        Secondly, from time immemorial, as history shows us, extreme weather and climate related problems have been happening all over the world. So what’s new today? Why is it suddenly that everything related to climate tends to get dramatised with starry eyes as if it is ” unprecedented ” and as if such things have never ever happened in history?

        What is the issue with the inability of the climate science community and the agencies related with blowing up climate science policies and fallacies to stand up and say ” Yes, we made a mistake, we goofed up, we’ll correct the errors next time “? Why is it that it is always defend, deny, hide and obfuscate? That is the key point that needs to be analysed.

        The answer of the agency to the above failed prediction was to remove the link and minimise the graphics and carry on pretending nothing has happened. Now that is what is being objected to. And it is not an isolated situation. Whether it is Govt Agencies, or UN or Scientists in the climate field, the response seems to be the same.

      • Many (if not most) climate scientists can and do conduct their research are not directly involved in the IPCC. Of those directly involved in the IPCC (notably WG1), it does not surprise me at all if many (if not most) are unaware of what goes on at UNEP (and even in the WG II report). Note that in the movie “Climate Refugees”, the only climate researcher included was Steve Schneider. Among those relatively few climate researchers of the WG1 type that are trying to look at the broader issues (impacts, politics, economics, etc.), a group in which I include myself, they may not have any particular interest in or knowledge of this particular topic. It took me 6 hours to dig into the literature to write this post. The issue of migration and climate refugees is something I already knew a little about, but 50 M climate refugee prediction never made it past my attention threshold until now.

        Like I said, don’t blame climate scientists for this one, blame UNEP and the NGOs. And where the heck were the skeptics on this one, I don’t recall it getting any play in the skeptical blogosphere either?

      • They said the train was leaving the station, but it’s still there. How can that be, no skeptic said it would be there?

      • Dr. Curry
        Good question I will hazard three possible answers. These claims were first introduced in the early 90’s, sceptic blogs did not come of age until after 2005. A position than can be perceived as “Anti-imigration” results in getting called a bad name. The issue has been mostly centered in Pacific Island countries in with a large political context.

      • Agreed. People on both sides haven’t really been paying attention to this issue.

      • I have been trying to post this but it has not come up. Filter?
        Like many other commenters I am having trouble understanding what idea you are trying to convey or what topic you want to discuss. Does climate cause migrations? Yes.
        For example, there is a reasonable argument that most, if not all the past nomadic invasions were influenced by climate. The two most common overpopulation due to a multiyear increase in rain (Good Climate), or a multi year drought (Bad Climate) of the grazing lands.
        In a nut shell nearly all modern migration is caused by political or economic instability. Changing climate probably has a tangible causation of that instability but it is a small one of many dominoes that need to fall.
        Sincere questions had the Drought and Dust Storms of the early 30’s not occurred during the Great Depression would the Okie migration occurred? Prior to the 30’s was there an unusual wet period that encourage population and agricultural growth?

      • apologies, this got caught in spam

      • And how about the science journalist? where were they? This Gavin Atkins was the first to report it and congrats to him but no journalists questioned it at the time. I suppose it’s probably because people don’t take outlandish predictions very seriously or just wait for them to fail. Also it was a sign of the times, the fashion, and to be a non CO2 AGW Al Gore believer meant you were anti-science. My son still cannot question anything in his middle school about Global Warming or the kids gang up on him and say that’s just crazy talk, so he says nothing, no discussions.

  30. dp wrote: “I will sponsor 1 climate refugee to a dinner at the Mc Donalds of their choice if that choice is located within 10 miles of my house and on presentation of climate refugee papers. ”

    This is quite funny. Hah! Those who’ve brought up the U.N.’s hide the prediction attempt..prediction-gate?…and subsequent re-prediction…are of course right on the money.

    Dr. C., I really do not believe your attempt to absolve the AGW climate scientists with respect to this laughable prediction is fair. I sometimes see a tendency in you to get a tad legalistic. I’d fall off my chair if you can come up with one on-the record objection to this nutty claim from any of the usual band of AGW rogues.

    While we’re at it, were you aware of this prediction when it was made? What was your reaction? I’m interested to hear what a climate insider (at the time) might have thought…

    • I didn’t pay any attention to it, if I was aware of it at all. I am well aware of the general issue of migration in terms of my interest in climate change and security, see this post

      Allow me to be legalistic: if you are trying to blame someone, blame the right people (in this case, the UNEP and NGOs)

      • I’ve often thought that the main reason why climate scientists circle the wagon is that they don’t see that they’ve become the lightning rods for public anger at the activists who are behind a lot of shenanigans. It’s the activists who like to lump themselves in with the scientists when they talk about the “2500 experts”, as if the entire IPCC was nothing but wall-to-wall science professors.

        Pekka mentioned something above about the WG2 and WG3 science being a lot shakier than the WG1 science, and I think that’s part of the same piece. People are mostly annoyed with the outlandish and fast-and-loose claims in WG2 and WG3, but don’t see the distinction from WG1. So the actual climate scientists end up getting the ridicule when someone like Pachauri does something dumb.

        You need to say that louder and clearer: the policy people aren’t the climate scientists. If the climate scientists have a communication problem, it’s this, and not that the public doesn’t understand the greenhouse effect. You’ve been pimped by the activists, and most of you still don’t realize it.

      • “Allow me to be legalistic: if you are trying to blame someone, blame the right people (in this case, the UNEP and NGOs).”

        This guy seems to be the initial source for the claims. His original prediction seems to have been 200 million refugees by 2050. “In the mid-1990s, Norman Myers became the most prominent proponent of this ‘maximalist’ school (Suhrke 1993), stating that there were 25 million environmental refugees in the mid-1990s, and claiming that this figure could double by 2010, with an upper limit of 200 million by 2050 (Myers 1997).”

        But as the Wiki page on climate migrants shows, there are certainly others willing to predict doom and gloom climate migration to come.

        The IPCC, EPA and other governmental/quasi-governmental bodies may publicize such predictions, but they invariably originate with academics.

        In my occupation, it is a truism to say that “you can get an expert to testify to anything.” This seems to hold for climate “science” as well.

      • Cause that’s what expert (witnesses) get paid to do, don’t they?

  31. It’s a very clever finesse in fact. Why, climate and weather turn out to be unpredictable, and by golly, it’s the fault of the human race that it is.

    Well done, a blinder, what? What?

  32. “Allow me to be legalistic: if you are trying to blame someone, blame the right people (in this case, the UNEP and NGOs)”

    Of course strictly speaking you’re correct. No argument. But at the same time there’s no doubt in my mind anyway, that no professional warmers objected to this risible prediction because such things serve their cause.

    Rising seas, devastating droughts, massive cat 5 hurricanes, 50,000 climate refugees, it’s all the same. Fear is their stock in trade. That and guilt.

    • Arfur Bryant

      [“…that no professional warmers objected to this risible prediction because such things serve their cause.”]

      Never a truer word…

  33. “How much longer can the MSM continue to ignore these embarrassing failures? The journalistic negligence we’re seeing is every bit as shameful as the scientific”
    This is by far the more troubling part for me. In a while, white will be black and black will be white. It used to be real important to report the truth, not so much anymore. Then the question, why are they not telling?

    • Arfur Bryant

      Ah, but the MSM will win both ways!

      They will publish the hyped scare stories issued under the auspices of ‘climate scientists’ and supported by politicians – and sell lots of newspapers/air time because scare stories do that.

      Then, when it becomes clear (even more so than it is to some now) that the ‘climate scientists’ were talking BS, the MSM will sell more newspapers/air time about how wrong the scientists were and how poor Joe Public was duped by the politicians.

      Truth and the MSM only go hand in hand when it suits the story…

  34. “Then the question, why are they not telling?”

    First and foremost, most journalists (so-called) are lazy. Remember as well, that they’re generally progressive democrats. They just assume that skeptics are ignorant flat-earthers. It genuinely does not even occur to most of them that there’s a legitimate debate going on.

    3 years ago, that pretty much described me.

    • Hi Pokerguy,

      In addition to that I believe that a lot of the journalists and MSM cast their votes firmly with the AGW camp and took sides right from the beginning as in early days it was seen as the ” right ” thing to do and everyone was hellbent upon being the hero who saved the world from it’s inhabitants. Real journalistic principles went through the door and noble cause corruption set in. Now, if they report the unpalatable truths, they have to admit that they goofed up badly and that they were also a part of the problem. So, they pretend that if they ignore the problem, it will go away. Unfortunately, the media have been slow to catch on about the way internet and google cache made sure that inconvenient truths are not easy to hide or make them disappear. They also forgot that in addition to joe public on one side and the ” experts ” on the other side, there exists now a cadre of well informed and educated peers who actually read what’s happening and make their own intelligent decisions without being swayed by what’s written in the media. This peer to peer review of news and science is going to be the way of life for a long time to come and there’ s no escaping that.

  35. Kent –
    It used to be real important to report the truth, not so much anymore.

    Nice theory. But my Grandfather didn’t believe it – or the press. And he taught me to not believe them. He’s been dead for 63 years. Tings haven’t changed much – except that they’re even less believable today.

  36. Jim Owen-
    “except that they’re even less believable today”.
    So who does the MSM direct their deciet at? Those that are to lazy to check them?

    • Anybody who’ll believe them, Kent.

      There seems to be a lot of those.

      Note – even the right wing press, such as it is, has some problems. Just not as many or as egregious.

      Trust, but verify.

  37. Explorer40503

    Does anyone have a reference for “The unfounded and senseless predictions of the UNEP…” that Judith refers to? The closest I have come is this and it says nothing at all about climate change being responsible for 50M refugees. It does say this, ‘According to a report published by the United Nations University, there are now about 19.2 million people officially recognized as “persons of concern”-that is, people likely to be displaced because of environmental disasters. This figure is predicted to grow to about 50 million by the end of the year 2010.’

    • Dan Olner tracks the story here. If I understand it correctly, a map with the label “50 million climate refugees” appeared in a UNEP publication called the “International assessment of agricultural science and technology for development” published in 1998, and on a web page associated with that publication (that’s what you get when you go to the google cache here.

      The map itself seems to be based primarily on work of Norman Myers, referenced in Wikipedia and elsewhere (see the above link to Dan’s site) about environmental refugees, not “climate refugees” or “AGW refugees”. So the map was an error. But perhaps given its rather obscure location, climate scientists can be forgiven for not hunting it down and denouncing it?

      Talk about a tempest in a teapot!

      And I’m SOOO not surprised that that’s pretty much all anyone wants to talk about in response to Judy’s much more thoughtful posting.

      • Paul Baer, see the same repeated below by the UN. Can we now stop calling this as ” some obscure statement “?

        General Assembly, 8 July 2008
        Sixty-second General Assembly
        Informal Meeting on Climate Change and Most Vulnerable Countries (AM)

        SRGJAN KERIM, President of the General Assembly, opened the discussion by saying that 11 of the last 12 years had ranked among the 12 warmest since the keeping of global temperature records had begun in 1850. Two points were significant: that climate change was inherently a sustainable-development challenge; and that more efforts than ever before must be exerted to enable poor countries to prepare for impacts because it had been estimated that there would be between 50 million and 200 million environmental migrants by 2010.

        Panel Discussion
        The Assembly then held a panel discussion moderated by author and journalist Eugene Linden. The panellists were Reid Basher, Senior Coordinator at the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; Ian Noble, Senior Climate Change Specialist at the World Bank; and Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of the Environment and Energy Group at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


      • Explorer40503

        Thanks for that Paul. Based on your link and what I have found to date perhaps Judith would want to reconsider her own denunciation of UNEP. It would appear they never made the prediction for which they are being so roundly denounced for. A tempest in a teapot indeed.

      • Explorer,
        the point is the entire issue is a tempest in a teapot, and the AGW community wants to move on and pretend that even though it was a massively incorrect prediction, it was still somehow true.
        “False but accurate” comes to mind as a way to describe just how bad this is.

      • Explorer40503

        Seeing as how UNEP does not appear to have made any such prediction I have a hard time understanding how it could possibly be described as inaccurate.

      • Explorer. maybe you can have a look at the link what I posted just above, as a response to Paul, which shows that this statement was again made in the General Assembly of the UN on 8th July 2008 talking about ” Climate Change and Most Vulnerable Nations “.

        And Dr.Janos Bogardi, Director of The Institute of Environment and Human at te Unied Nations Univesity, made the same statement about 50 million environmental refugees by end of the decade, meaning 2010 and attributed it to ” Climate Change “.

        His full statement was

        “There are well-founded fears that the number of people fleeing untenable environmental conditions may grow exponentially as the world experiences the effects of climate change,” Dr Bogardi said

        This was reported in The Guardian on October 12th, 2005.

        So Explorer40503, your serve. Go ahead and dispute this evidence now. I’d like to see what spin you’ll put on it.

      • Explorer40503

        Color me unimpressed. You have not provided a “prediction” by UNEP that there would be 50M climate change refugees by 2010. People have been denouncing UNEP for a prediction they do not appear to have made. I think those who made such derogatory statements about UNEP should either provide proof or apologize.

      • Go ahead, serve returned, game over

        UNEP’s Logo is well visible in the link. So how much more proof do you want? How many more hairs do you want to split?

        What are you trying to defend? This report about 50 million environment refugees has been discussed in relation to Climate Change and I showed you the proof. It has also been reported widely with UN Experts talking about it. Now it has been shown that the prediction was to be blunt a political nonsense with no basis.

        And here we have typical AGW Crowd behaviour, refusing to accept that anything can be wrong with their religion.

      • And here we have typical AGW Crowd behaviour, refusing to accept that anything can be wrong with their religion.

        Worse than that, refusing to believe that anything can be wrong with their church, or any of its bishops. Where’s the Martin Luther of AGW?

      • The IPCC link is to a draft of the AR4 WG2 Summary for Policymakers, which can still be found from the net (Google the filename). I didn’t find anything on climate refugees in that paper.

      • Explorer,
        Thanks for proving that faith trumps sight, for extremsits.
        You would rather believe the excuse than read the evidence.

      • You’ll find part of it here –

        On page 416 you’ll find the words 200 million climate refugees by 2050.

      • Explorer40503

        The claim was that UNEP predicted there would be 50M climate refugees by 2010. I fail to see how your source comes anywhere near serving as evidence that UNEP ever made such a claim.

      • It was on their website. That’s what the WUWT piece that inspired this thread was all about. They have the smoking gun over there. And the casing, and the slug.

      • Explorer40503

        Here is what Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, had to say about the graphic you guys seem so interested in. He made the statement in the comments section of the post that evidently set this whole thing off. The link is

        “Dear Gavin, I read with interest your bog not least as Spokesperson for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

        I have trawled through our records and cannot spot UNEP havng made such a statement about numbers of climate refugees by 2010.

        I suspect that there is a measure of misunderstanding here linked to that ‘handy map’ to which you refer.
        UNEP has a centre in Arendal, Norway called Grid Arendal tht produces graphics and maps for publications. Some of the graphic artists have a long standing relationship with Le Monde Diplomatique, a French publication, and were asked to produce a graphic basedon various scientific papers (sourced on that ‘handy map’).

        GRID Arendal archive/have a library of graphics and the one you refer to is archived there.
        So the top and bottom is that the figure of 50 million refugees is actually not ours.
        That does not mean there are not environmental refugees including climate ones. But we do not have any projections ourselves.
        There are however quite a lot of universities/research centres around the world trying to unravel his complex issue.
        Given your interest in the subject you might like to go to for example to the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford or the site of the International Displacement Monitoring Centre.
        Regards, Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Nairobi, Kenya”

      • Explorer40503

        Apologies for the messed up link.

      • Very nice, Nick Nuttall and UNEP distancing themselves from the statement after milking it for 5 years. Yes, we believe it. Pigs can fly.

        And here’s a link for you

        This UNEP statement talks about the 50 million climate refugees by 2010. And at the end of that report, can you see who’s name is there? The same Nick Nuttall.

        Possibly her forgot? The internet does not forget.

        So it’s game set and match 6:0, 6:0 6:0, explorer. Anymore excuses, obfuscations and red herrings? Every single objection and point raised by you has been shot to pieces. Will you now accept that you had no clue about what you were talking and were blindly defending the actions of UNEP?

      • “According to a report published by the United Nations University, there are now about 19.2 million people officially recognized as “persons of concern”-that is, people likely to be displaced because of environmental disasters. This figure is predicted to grow to about 50 million by the end of the year 2010.” (From the link Venter provided).

        It would be nice to see the “UN University report” referenced.

        But if this is “game, set, match,” it was a pretty trivial game. And the six press articles quoting a UN University official at a conference in 2005 is of equivalent gravity.

        It would also be interesting to see what it says in the AR4 SPM that’s referenced. That’s a matter of greater concern.

        Of course, every quote I’ve seen, (even those which don’t explicitly refer to “environmental refugees” instead of “climate refugees) says “up to 50 million” – sort of like “up to 50% off” – not itself falsifiable. But I’ll grant that this defense in particular would be lame if it were a highly visible claim, rather than a leaf dropping in a forest.

      • Paul –
        So why don’t you ask the UN why they disappeared their own report? I’d be interested, too.

        The story was too widespread to be just rumor. And that last link was a UN piece that also quoted the numbers. It’s out there somewhere.

      • This press release from UNU-EHS tells a little more, but lacks also links to actual studies

      • And here is a related publication

      • And one more and very recent report from the same institute

        Climate Change and Migration: Rethinking Policies for Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
        Edited by Michelle Leighton, Xiaomeng Shen, and Koko Warner

      • So the guy who is caught lying denies he is lying.
        You, not to put too fine a point on it, are only kidding yourself.

  38. We can go back the the begining of the fall of Rome when on a cold December day the Rhone froze over and the Barbarians crossed over. They were climate refugees? But that was cold so probably does not count.

  39. Should those leaving California for more favorable business climates be considered to be “climate refugees”?

  40. Specifically. country by country, what are the problems that lead people to migrate or seek refugee status? What about over population, resource depletion, kleptocrat governments, third world education and energy use, unemployment.Drought and floods are nothing new but more people living on flood plains and more people using the water supply compound the problem. Where’s the evidence for CAGW extreme temperature rises?

  41. When a disaster strikes and local law and order collapse you have a “problem”. When, for whatever reason, a country collapses you have a bigger problem. Think of “climate-refugees” as displaced persons (DP’s) during a World War III. At first there is resistance to the influx, eventually, things just crumble and –like water– people seek their own level. If the poles melt in a short period of time, if we get a major impact form space, etc., “civilization” as we know it will be totally transformed (or washed away). “Planning” for catastrophy is an art, not a science, and no one has ever been very successful at producing any worthwhile results. Ergo – live one day at a time, do what you can, and always be prepared to take care of yourself and move if you have to.

  42. What climate refugees?

  43. I am sure the audience is aware of the conservation refugees

  44. Yes, this issue was getting increasing press even before Dowie (himself an environmentalist) wrote this book in 2005. The major conservation groups claim – at least in their press – to have learned from this, and to now be much more sensitive in the design and implementation of conservation reserves. However, someone I spoke to recently (I’ve forgotten whom, frankly) told me that it was still an ongoing problem.

    There are some “greens” who are insensitive to human rights. But the caricature of greens and environmentalists that you see here and on WUTW are, well, caricatures.

  45. Dr. Curry, I would like to ask the question, what do YOU think is the end game of the CAGW folks? There must be a motive behind such a huge process. Are the folks pushing it trying to do what? If this is the wrong forum for posing the qestion, or too general a question, I apologize.

  46. What I see is a deliberate obfuscation between environment, climate, and what is more often simply weather. I’m reminded of the famous line from a baseball player describing player-owner disputes: “When we tell them it’s a business, they say it’s a game. When we say it’s a game, they tell us its’ a business.” In this case, it’s climate and weather. And both become ‘the environment to imply climate. When there’s a drought, people may become refugees. Are they refugees because of climate or weather? For the AGW activist set, the answer is that it depends on what suits them.

  47. IMHO this has been a disappointing thread so far and the denizens could do much better! Judith is correct. There is more to this issue than a failed UN prediction of 50m climate refugees etc, and we should widen our gaze in the interests of creating a more interesting blog rather than harping on about it.

    It seems instictively correct to suggest that people will move in extreme periods of droughts or floods etc. Call this climate or weather, it does not really matter, and it does not need to be linked to CO2 or AGW – it might be as a consequence of a shift in the PDO for example. To my mind, this issue is tied in with our inability to provide medium term regional predictions of climate change. That’s not to say that countries would invest in infrastructure even if the forecasts could be provided. There always seem to be more pressing priorities.

    • Rob B,
      If the rate of migration due to weather/climate is unchanging, then we can look at proven successful strategies.
      If the rate is going to change due to CO2 to a dangerous and unprecedented level, then we need different tools.
      if CO2 management as a climate management tool could ever move from science fiction to real, then we could talk about still more tools.
      But so far it is all science fiction. Now as a huge SF fan, I can appreciate the fun of discussin SF scenarios.
      But I thought we are here to discuss literal, and not literary, issues.
      Which do you prefer, continued fiction or reality?

      • I prefer reality of course, but the AGW aspects you are pressing so hard in this thread is a red herring. The climate is always changing due to natural variability and I am sure that over the years people have fled prolonged droughts or floods. If we could predict these events regionally then it might be possible for countries to prepare. Are you so sure that existing strategies work satisfactorily or could they be improved? In my view there’s nothing about AGW that needs discussing about this so you can afford to put your strongly held views on the matter to one side and take a more objective view.

      • And I write as an AGW skeptic so I have no particular agenda on this, just an open mind about the topic.

      • RobB,
        Existing strategies work well and could be improved.
        Will wasting time worrying about the non-existant evidence of CO2 being a new major cause of refugees help this improvement?
        What about refugees who are moving due to alien abductions or due to small blackholes raning down on Earth?
        Those are also non-existant, but they could happen!

    • Call this climate or weather, it does not really matter, and it does not need to be linked to CO2 or AGW – it might be as a consequence of a shift in the PDO for example.

      Indeed. It’s getting a little tedious that mentioning the “C” word is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Debunking alarmist pronouncements no more falsifies the concept of climate refugees than the uncovering of a welfare cheat falsifies the concept of poor people.

      • Gene,
        Except that we know there are poor, and we have yet to see any evidence for CO2 caused refugees.
        Actually, you are the one obfuscating and using red herrings etc.

      • Hunter,

        More than one person has already pointed out that “climate” does not equal “CO2”. I’m not arguing that those displaced by extreme events are “CO2 caused refugees” any more than you are. That being said, there are people who were driven out of their homes by Katrina who are still displaced. Shall we tell them they don’t exist because you don’t like the term?

      • Gene,
        The AGW community begs to disagree.
        They think CO2 isTHE driver of cliamte and that no matter what happens in the cliamte, it is all due to CO2.
        And are you yet another one of those won confuses cliamte with weather?
        The claims that Katrina was evidence of climate change/AGW/global warming/cliamte disruption/etc. etc.etc. have been debunked.
        Are you one of the hard core immune to reshaping your views in the face of facts?

      • Having already stated my position, I see no need to repeat myself.

      • Gene,
        Please try again. I would like to understand why we should worry ourselves with some that is not happening more than why people falsely claimed somethinwas happening that was not.

      • Katrina is a particularly bad example. It was a singular event. It wasn’t “climate” in any meaningful sense other than that the Gulf coast has always has hurricanes just like California has always had earthquakes.

        Again, I’m completely at a loss for why any of this matters. Calling it “climate” changes precisely what?

      • We are in the warm phase of the AMO and the cool phase of the PDO, both of which portend elevated levels of atlantic hurricane activity, including more major hurricanes and U.S. landfalls. Not to mention the observed increase in % of category 4 and 5 hurricanes. Policies made in the 1970’s (federal disaster assistance, etc.) which was a period of low hurricane activity, have spawned substantial development of the Gulf and Florida coasts. Lack of knowledge in the 1970’s and 1980’s of hurricane dynamics have cost insurance companies, homeowners, and governments a lot of money (there was relatively little development of these coasts in the 1950’s and 1960’s because of the hurricanes). For further info on this topic, see my hurricane post

      • Dr. Curry,
        As someone form that region, I think you would find most people of the opinion that the economic growth was driven by the opportunities of good ports, oil & gas, pro-growth business environments and relatively cheap land.
        The earlier slow growth would have been seen more due to economic provincialism and a lack of knowledge of offshore oil & gas.
        The Gulf Coast of the South grew like the South in general.

      • Gene- Your comparison with welfare is not without merit. In the past people saw poor people and there was a push to provide for them better by giving more and more welfare. Ultimately that was found to be counterproductive. When welfare programs were restructured and reduced, people actually went out and got jobs.

        When it come to potential climate change, it seems that many countries are using it to justify getting something from western nations. Some of us believe that is not our responsibility and if the residents of Pakistan are hurt due to flooding that it is not our problem to solve.

      • Rob,

        I’ve come in contact with those who were gaming the system, and my reaction to that is pretty visceral. By the same token, I’ve come into contact with those who are desperately in need of help (think 80+ widow who has outlived her husband’s pension). Part of my anger at the first group is that they are stealing from the second (as well as those of us footing the bill).

        Much of my concern along these lines is mainly related to the national security implications. Pakistan’s impact on US logistics in Afghanistan is well documented.

      • Unfortunately there is ZERO evidence that US helping with Pakistan’s infrastructure problems will have any impact on the number or percentage religious fanatics in that country. The reason they began helping the US initially is that we threatened to bomb them into the stone age if they did not. That threat was in 2001 and our understanding of the culture is not much improved today.

      • Rob,

        I’m not advocating a specific policy (my views on foreign policy tend toward the utilitarian). Rather I’m agreeing that weather and climate can impact security (population displacements being one possible destabilizing influence, crop failures being another). Note that it doesn’t matter whether these come about through higher or lower temperatures or wetter or drier conditions. Recognizing this, taking steps to enhance our ability to forecast problems, and contingency planning are all prudent measures that don’t require stroking a check to Pakistan (or any other country).

  48. Judith,

    Thanks for posting and the excellent discussion. However, the wikipedia article on climate refugees states “The inhabitants of the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea are also among the first climate refugees due to sea level rise attributed to global warming and climate change.” but if you go to the wikipedia entry for “Carteret Islands” the it-was-the-climate answer is a highly controversial finding and, IMHO, probably misleadingly wrong. I confess this is the first and only example used that I further looked into.

    • Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea is worth noting because IMHO it represents an inherent problem with current Climate Change Policies. This is based on my faulty memory and subjective opinion. Based on the impending refugee problems pressure was put on the Australian government (Howard was the Liberal PM) by various Humanitarian and enviro groups using white/western guilt for him to do something. The government along with many others promised over 100 million in response but as history has shown us, govs promise a lot but are very slow to send a check. More pressure resumed. The Aussies did send some money to the PNG but instead of using the money to resettle or help the residents of the Carteret Islands they used it to help all the peoples of New Guinea. Not sure if they spent it on education, housing infrastructure or a new limo for the PM of the PNG(they have a little history of corruption). The varies NGO’s have since complained that most of the money was not spent on helping the residents of the island but has gone to think tanks, universities and government agencies to study the problem. Net result in 2005 the Carteret Islands had about 2500 residents only 100 or so have been resettled. Activist are now asking for more money. I truly welcome any corrections or more info from the residents of OZ , Kiwi’s or anybody else.

  49. Gee, I wonder where Explorer40503 went.

    Why oh why is it so difficult for human beings to admit when they’re wrong? Are we all 6 years old? Is it somehow better to turn tail and run or continue to issue absurd denials than to simply say with a quiet humility, “Gee, I guess I was wrong.”

    Anyone wondering how it is that that this “climate change” nonsense continues unabated in the face of such massive evidence to the contrary, need look no further than this one human failing…

  50. another false prediction as noted by BH
    Past Alarm. World’s Coral: 40% gone by 2010 — [ Wrong ! ]

    On Monday 22 April 2002 ABC’s flagship current affairs program, 4 Corners, broadcast the following alarming prediction in a report titled: Beautiful one day.
    Across the world, coral reefs are turning into marine deserts. It’s estimated that more than a quarter have been lost and that 40 per cent could be gone by 2010.
    From the transcript:
    According to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, 10 per cent of the world’s reefs were lost by 1992.
    27 per cent were lost by the year 2000.
    And it’s expected 40 per cent will be gone by 2010.

    In 1997 the area of the world’s coral reefs was estimated to be 255,000km2. Reference.
    If the prediction made on 4 Corners is to be believed, then in 2010 the area of the world’s coral reefs should be around 153,000km2.
    Instead, in 2011, one year on from that alarming forecast, we find that the global area of coral reef is estimated to be 249,713km2. Reference.
    This amounts to a change from 1997 figures of -2.1%. Given the unreported uncertainties, there has essentially been no change in global reef area over the past 10 years. Within error, essentially none of the reefs are missing in 2010. This ABC story turns out to be yet another beat up, designed to scare rather than inform.
    Will Four corners now provide an update? Or will it leave this forecast of climate doom to go uncorrected?

  51. Craig Loehle

    Pardon if someone made this point, but the biggest migrations are the result of wars (civil wars, anarchy, forced relocations). After WWI & WWII, millions were moved around in Europe for political purposes. In Sudan, millions were forcibly relocated as they were in the Soviet Union under Stalin. In Africa fleeing genocide/civil war is an ongoing problem. The Cambodia bloodbath caused mass flight to Thailand. Climate? Not so much.

    • Craig,
      Now if the current UN ‘leadership’ had to confront the reality of the regimes of the UN causing refugees, where would that leave those dedicated kleptocrats?

  52. Re Climate refugees 4/17/11:

    The notion of climate refugees and creating rights for them is a manifestation of a much wider movement. Here it is focused on climate, short for climate change, meaning Anthropogenic Global Warming, a code word for carbon pollution, leading to a tax on energy, and recognition, wealth, and power for the activists. For a hierarchical view of this movement, listen to Walter Olson expound on his new book, Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America. Caution: he’s with the Cato Institute.

    See his bio at

    In Olson’s view, modern law schools, starting with the most prestigious and staffed by the left, are working to replace civil rights with human rights. This, he says, is destined to become embodied in law.

    This is the last step in transforming the hope of Equality of Opportunity into the socialist fantasy of Equality of Outcome. It is the ultimate authority for statism. To the right and slightly over half of American voters, it is misrule, indeed.

  53. These three quotes come from searching “50 million” (which due to the virtues of pattern matching also pulls up “250 million”):
    “According to a report of UNCCD (2010), 50
    million people are at risk of displacement in the next ten years if desertification continues unchecked.”

    “IOM has estimated that there will
    be 250 million people who could be described
    as climate or environmental migrants by 2050
    (IOM 2009). The findings of a joint report by
    UN OCHA, the Internal Displacement Monitoring
    Centre (IDMC), and the Norwegian Refugee
    Council (NRC) show that at least 36 million
    people were displaced in 2008 by sudden-onset
    natural disasters (IDMC and UN OCHA 2009).
    Among them, 20 million people were displaced
    due to extreme climate-related events. As the
    frequency and intensity of weather-related events
    are increasing, the number of displaced people is
    expected to rise in coming years.”

    “Climate change is a massive global challenge
    that could have major impacts on societies across
    the globe, particularly in developing countries.
    However, the assumption that there is a direct and
    linear causal relationship between climate change
    and migration is problematic. Such a causal link
    has been the subject of much debate between
    “maximalists” (predominantly environmental
    social scientists) and “minimalists” (mainly migration
    theorists) (Morrissey 2009). Maximalists
    have emphasized the fact that climate change is
    likely to lead to hundreds of millions of displaced
    peoples – Meyers’ estimates of 250 million “environmental
    refugees” are often cited (Meyers
    1993 and 1997). Minimalists, such as Richard
    Black (2001), have challenged these claims and
    stated that environmental change is not a determining
    factor of migration or displacement (except
    in very extreme cases). They claim that migration
    is a multi-causal, complex phenomenon
    and thus one cannot separate out climate change
    – or environmental change – as a distinct driver of
    migration (Brown 2008; Gemenne 2009; Morrissey
    2009; Zetter 2009).”

    Aside from the fact that it accepts the UNFCCC consensus that in fact increasing GHG concentrations will cause significant and possibly dangerous climate change, this seems pretty balanced.

    But if you don’t believe that there is any evidence of AGW, or possible AGW, then of course a “climate change refugee” (where human-caused climate change is implied) is an oxymoron. In which case real climate scientists would have to spend all their time denouncing themselves for believing in it.

    • Sorry – that was supposed to be a reply to Pekka; the cite is from the document he linked to:

      Climate Change and Migration: Rethinking Policies for Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
      Edited by Michelle Leighton, Xiaomeng Shen, and Koko Warner

    • Sorry – that was supposed to be a reply to Pekka; the quotes are from the document he linked to:

      Climate Change and Migration: Rethinking Policies for Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
      Edited by Michelle Leighton, Xiaomeng Shen, and Koko Warner

      • The spam filter seems to be overly active on Chinese names or some words in the title of the report. It was caught as spam until I left all that out. (The original message was later made visible by the site administrator.) I guess your message appears twice for the same reason.

    • I would add that separating the consequences of climate change from other extreme weather events cannot be done as easily as many comments of this thread imply. The “climate refugees” would also originate as people reacting to extreme events that cannot be on case by case level be attributed to climate change. The effects climate change would come through the frequency of such events, or they would be additional factors that in combination with others would influence the living conditions in marginal areas like edges of deserts or areas prone to flooding.

      By the above I do not imply any particular number for the present of future “climate change refugees”, but rather that estimating their number is and remains extremely difficult.

  54. There are always climate refugees for some reason or other, so not all the 50m can be ascribed to CO2

    If the prediction is 50m climate refugees by a certain date, shouldn’t we know what the prediction would be both with and without CO2 induced climate change?

    As someone pointed out earlier, AGW has barely started, so perhaps 50m is the baseline trend and CO2 induced migration will be on top of that.

    • There is no 50,000,000 refugees of anything.
      You are granting to much credibility to the alarmists.

  55. Many claims made by UNEP, IPCC and others regarding the postulated impacts of a projected warmer climate purportedly resulting from AGW are based on some tiny grain of truth (or at least reasonable probability), but the “climate refugee” canard is 100% hype.

    As the Asian Correspondent article points out:

    However, a very cursory look at the first available evidence seems to show that the places identified by the UNEP as most at risk of having climate refugees are not only not losing people, they are actually among the fastest growing regions in the world.

    Of course, we had Tamils fleeing Si Lanka, Somalis fleeing their country and now we have Libyans fleeing their country, as well.

    But, let’s face it, these people are fleeing war, oppression and/or abject poverty, not a temperature which is some tenths of a degree warmer than it was thirty years ago.

    AGW advocates only make themselves (and the whole AGW story) look foolish by parroting such silliness.


  56. Schrodinger's Cat

    It seems to me that some climate scientists have created a set of alarmist predictions that have no basis in real science and have already been proved wrong by events. Unfortunately, it seems that millions of other scientists have adopted these predictions as the basis for further alarmist as well as more moderate predictions in just about every discipline known to academia.

    This sad trend has been significantly amplified by the huge public funding thrown at those who alarm the most and the more cynical support of politicians who see the massive opportunities for taxation and the endless propaganda peddled by political and environmental activists who wish to exploit the situation to satisfy their own agendas.

    The consequences of this are seen as a scam by the general public, which, in the long run is bad for honest scientists and science in general.

    Sadly, scientists and their learned societies have generally turned a blind eye to the whole affair and have supported the alleged consensus. The rank and file scientists who know better have generally been silent too, though probably for financial reasons, either to protect their jobs or to join the bandwagon.

    The UN has already stated it’s desire to create a world government in relation to climate matters, so propaganda to support that objective is surely not a surprise to anyone.

    Sad times.

    • It’s like a Gordian Knot. I’m expecting Wily Ol’ Sol to cut through it all with a sharp cold spell, and we can all forget about the mania of the last two decades as we strive as a giant hive to the more pressing need for adequate stores of fuel to assure adaptation and survival in the cold.

  57. Stephen Pruett

    This is not the first example of a questionable claim regarding climate mediated migration. A 2010 paper in PNAS regarding the US being flooded by climate refugees from Mexico makes specific claims, although they are wisely far in the future and the range stated is broad enough that the authors will probably not need to worry (PNAS 107:14257-14262). The point I would like to make is that in most fields of research, this type of work wouldn’t be accepted for publication anywhere, certainly not in PNAS. The work is based solely on correlation (a very weak and uncertain way to examine causality), and the authors admit that they didn’t consider confounders and made assumptions about adaptation. So, conclusions were made using “data” from unproven climate models to predict crop yields and using crop yield estimates to predict migration. When one considers the layers of uncertainty and confounding correlations, how could this be regarded as anything more than numerical speculation?

    • Speculative modeling based on simplified assumptions is, of course, the bread and butter of economic policy analysis.

  58. I’ll say it one more time. To me the take-home message from this red herring is simply that serious climate scientists should openly distance themselves from this sort of prediction when they become aware of it. If they do not do so, they risk being accused of being silent accomplices and later of looking foolish in the eyes of public opinion.


    PS Judith. You have made the point that it was not the climate scientists, but others who made this ridiculous claim, and I’m sure that is correct. But, believe me, unless you openly distance yourself from it and the whole concept of (AGW-caused) “climate refugees”, you will be seen as a silent endorser of this concept and the silly claim.

    • And As I said above, there’s a specific reason why that is. It’s because the activists want to give the impression that the scientists are on board with whatever the story is. Scientists are being actively implicated every time activists use the “consensus of experts/scientists” claim.

      This is critically important. They don’t distinguish between a consensus regarding WG1 science and this kind of speculation. It’s all the same in the world of talking points. The “consensus” is whatever the activists say it is.

  59. The geopolitics are speculative, but rational. You do nothing to close the science-action gap by misrepresenting the speculative context and essentially minimizing the concept of vulnerability, or emphasizing security and border issues when discussing climate distress and refugees.

    Such self-conscious climate change denial/minimizing is partly ideological, but also clearly, maybe even for most on this thread, just a reaction by neocon citizens whose attitude is ‘if I’m o.k., then who cares about anybody else’.

    • Martha,
      Your gibberish to content level is approaching 100%.

    • So it’s “climate distress” now, is it? I haven’t seen that variant before. The Orwellian language police of the warmist cause must be working overtime. Seriously, though, do you make any of this moralistic, pabulous cant up, or is it ALL regurgitation? And if we are to infer that you “care” about those less fortunate than you, can you explain how it helps them to have their problems seen and addressed through the prism of climate angst, when climate is clearly the least of their problems?

    • Martha – could you please restate your contribution? I have no idea what you are talking about. Are you an executive type?

    • Martha


      Could you repeat that in English?


    • Martha again demonstrates her irrational, prejudicial behavior. 1st she declares there to be a science-action gap and then unilaterally declares that a case for action to have been made. Such as case only exists in a few people’s minds and fortunately imo has not been adopted by most people or the US government.
      She then demonstrates her prejudice by declaring that anyone who does not agree with her unsubstantiated beliefs to be a “neocon”. She then continues by inaccurately ascribing behaviors to these “neocons” that that would generally be considered antisocial and selfish. Nice lady that Martha.

  60. Don’t get me wrong – I think the outcome of the great atmospheric experiment is unknowable but has associated appreciable risk. Here is not the place to discuss the chaotic spatio-temporal realm of the Dragon Kings. If you haven’t understood by now that the science is very uncertain – then you haven’t been paying attention.

    So what is to be done when the planet cools over the next decade or 3 at least? I suggest a modest but pragmatic program of multiple paths and multiple objectives. Reducing black carbon and tropospheric ozone not only would have huge health and environmental benefits but have a huge impact on radiative forcing in the atmosphere. Safe water and sanitation, basic health and education especially for women and girls would help enormously to stabilise populations – critical for future emissions. Trade and good corporate governance builds wealth and resilience. Conservation and restoration of ecosystems and agricultural soils has tremendous potential to sequester carbon as well as having biodiversity and food security benefits.

    To avoid the potential for death and destruction on an unimaginable scale – we need to increase food and energy production by 3% for the rest of the century. Several doublings – an impossible task. Ideally we would have abundant supplies of cheap and carbon free energy from

    • Lerner’s plasma fusion device – or something similar.

      These are just the Millennium Development Goals – plus some simple and pragmatic carbon reduction possibilities enough to start the process. If we add the Lomberg priorities – reducing malaria instance by half for instance. We just might make it through this century and into the light of a very much brighter future.

    • Chief,
      That is a reasonable path.
      So it is likely to be a non-starter, sadly.

  61. I’ll echo manacker’s advice: distance yourself our lose all credibility.

    How much evidence does it take to illustrate that “this” (all of it) isn’t about science, it’s about the UN and others trying to gain power and money, period?

    Serious scientists should be denouncing this behavior loudly and frequently.

  62. ps, it’s easy: I denounce the alarmist predictions made by regarding climate refugees. There is no science to back any of these wild “predicitons”.

  63. OK, let’s take one more step here and show the link between UNEP and IPCC

    1] The UNEP is the one of the parents of IPCC, the other being WMO

    Source :

    2.] As shown above, Nick Nuttall denied that UNEP talked about 50 million refugees figure when his own name was the website of UNEP with that statement. Go figure the ethics behind this.

    3.] And who’s heading this organisation since 2006? Achim Steiner. And what did he have to say about IPCC’s Himalayan Glaciergate, in Feb 2010? That it was a ” typographical error ”

    And the irony is that IPCC themselves aditted that the prediction if Himalayan Glacier demise was ” poorly substantiated ” and was a ” lapse in standards ” in January 2010

    4.] One more stament this gentle man made is to claim that

    ” But perhaps one of the greatest leaps occurred not in time but in environmental science
    with the establishment by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation of the
    Over 20 years, thousands of scientists have selflessly come together to periodically sift,
    to weigh and to validate the scientific evidence on the links between rising greenhouse
    gas emissions and their impact on the global climate.”

    Read it below

    As everyone knows the IPCC does not validate any claims or science. This has alos been confirmed by IPCC people in the IAC questionning.

    So what does one say about this kind of an orgaisation and it’s approach? The Director General of one of the parents of IPCC blithely goes on record making manifestly untrue statements conflicting with what IPCC themselves said.

    Then one of the spokesmen of the organisation denies that the organisation had anything to do with the 50 million refugees claim when his own name was on the organisation’s website which stated that claim and in fact he was referred to as the point of contact for any clarifications on that.

    For the world, it was spun that UNEP and IPCC’ and climate scientists associated with them confirmed and validated the prediction that cliate change will create 50 million refugees by 2010. And 5 years down the line, when it did not happen, there is no apology or recantation. The inconvenient data is just removed for the website and spin is again started by UNEP to distance themselves form the claim, contrary to facts. And the more they spin, the more foolish and ridiculous it looks.

    And it is astonishing to see that after first denying that this was a statement made by IPCC and then splitting hairs about who said what, people are dismissing this as a ” trvial game “.

    To me this is an institutionalised malaise and corruption of the supposedly highest body in the world in climate affairs, who proclaim louldly that their every opinion is backed by science and over 2500 climate scientists. So it encompasses the whole spectrum of climate science.

    If Climate Scientists want to claim that they are not to blame, they have to stand up and say no to every single one of these kind of baseless predictions by UN and it’s associated agencies involved in climate change. Like it or not, due to the IPCC, every single climate scientist is irrevocably linked to everything the UN or IPCC says about climate. By default they carry the burden of supporting every baseless statement like the climate refugees issue, unless they say a loud no everytime. The AGW supporting climate scientists made their bed with IPCC and they are irrevocably linked.

  64. And here’s another such alarmist prediction without basis by UCAR / NCAR, released earlier this month

    This study talks about dangers of climate change to cities and talks about Rio de Janeiro floods and European Heatwaves as evidence of Climate Change, when these were clearly extreme weather conditions.

    So the fact that poorer nations suffer more form extreme weather events due to inadequate infrastructure and bad planning by the leaders is well known. But what’s that got to with climate change and CO2? This paper links both as if all problems are due to climate change wich means human released green house gases as per them.

    When is this nonsense ever going to stop.

    There was a good comment about this article in Dr.Pielke Sr.’s blog

    The last two paragraphs say it all

    “However, most of the predictions the author has stated have certainly been subjected to considerable questioning by very qualified scientists, none of which were pointed out in the article. Scientific predictions are just that, predictions, and until they have been verified, are just that, unverified predictions.

    I could add to this list a number of other predictions that have been made by the models that, to date, have not been verified, but that is not my point. There are questions as to the validity of the predictions stated in this article that should have been recognized by the author and at least mentioned in the paper, but none were. I do not believe this is in the best interests of climate science.”

  65. There’s too much going on in my life at the moment, and I’ve missed much of this debate. But readers might be interested in the following extract from a speech I made a couple of years go, which shows how these ‘climate refugee stories get into print I hope it’s not too long.

    ‘The Media, and the example of the Maldives

    What I would like to do now is to illustrate for you what has happened in the media with respect to this issue, by examining in close detail a climate-change story typical of scores that I have seen over the past couple of years. This one comes from Toronto’s quality newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and I read it while I was in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago. The half-page story sat around a wonderful aerial photo of Male, the capital of the Maldives, and the point of the story was that the new Prime Minister of that island state intends to set up an investment fund to buy a new home for the Maldiveans ‘should global warming raise sea-levels and submerge their picturesque but low-lying homeland’. The photo was superb, because it shows a small city absolutely surrounded by the sea, and the PM’s proposal, to say the least, is a novel one. So far, so good.

    But the reporter, Siri Agrell, then added some comment on the Maldivean situation provided by ‘climate-change expert’ Hadi Dowlatabadi, the holder of a Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia. Dr Dowlatabadi agreed that it was likely that the Maldives would one day disappear. ‘It depends,’ he said, ‘on how Greenland melts, but easily within a century.’ If all of Greenland melts, the sea-level will rise seven metres. But even if climate-changing emissions were stopped today, sea-levels will rise by 1.5 metres in the next 300 years.

    Then the reporter moved to another source altogether, probably the newspaper’s back files, which stated that ‘In PNG, residents of the Carteret Islands have already had to relocate because of rising sea-levels attributed to climate change. Residents of Tuvalu and Kiribati are also at risk of becoming climate refugees.’ Next we learn that an alliance of small island states recently held a press conference at the United Nations urging international support for projects that would aid their survival in the face of climate change. ‘Members of the 44-nation alliance described the new reality of hurricanes, tsunamis and other weather phenomena that are already affecting their fellow citizens…’ Dr Dowlatabadi re-appeared at the end of the story to tell us that people who are relocated never recover from this event, and tend to have very high suicide rates.

    Now, what would the casual reader get from all that? The detail of the story is pretty grim. The Greenland ice-cap is melting; the Maldives could disappear easily within a century; if Greenland melts completely, seas will rise by seven metres; in any case seas will rise by 1.5 metres over the next 300 years; and there is a new reality of hurricanes and tsunamis connected to global warming. We know all this because Dr Dowlatabai is a climate-change expert. The subliminal ethical message is that we should help because we are the cause of the global warming.

    What evidence is there for any of this? Let me start with Dr Dowlatabadi, whom I have never met. You do not get a Canada Research Chair easily, so he is plainly a proficient and well-regarded academic. He may have not been properly reported, and there can be no real doubt that he said a lot more to Siri Agrell than appears in the article. All newspaper stories are constructions, as are all books and films. But let me say, as gently as possible, that in my opinion there are no climate change experts, in the sense that such people cover all aspects of the domain with authority: climate change is a vast topic and it has as yet no central body of knowledge. All those who speak about climate change, myself included, do so from their own knowledge base and with their own capacity to deal with argument and evidence, much of it from disciplines other than their own.

    Now let us look at the other details in that story. They centre on four propositions — that the seas are rising, that the Greenland ice-cap is melting, that hurricanes and tsunamis are related to these changes, and that they are all connected to our emitting greenhouse gases. You will see that this is the central IPCC story, with some details that are relevant to the Maldives. So are the seas rising? I think that the moderate answer is that, yes, the seas are rising and that they have been doing so for a couple of centuries, at about 20cm a century. You will appreciate that it is really difficult to be sure, especially about what has happened in the past. But a slowly rising sea-level would be consistent with a slow warming of the planet, partly because as glaciers and ice-caps retreat the melted ice finishes up in the sea, and partly because a warmer body of water will grow in volume and rise for that reason. Land sinks, too, which is why Venice is in trouble. But are rising sea-levels happening right now? Well, they may be, and they may not be. The IPCC projects a possible sea-level increase of 18cm to 59cm this century. Satellite measurements go back to 1992, and they show an average increase of 3.2mm a year, which is in the middle of the IPCC projection. In the past few years, however, the sea seems to have cooled and the satellite measurements suggest a slight fall in sea level. What are we to make of that? What about the Maldives themselves? A Swedish group has been studying sea levels in the island chain, and reported at the American Geological Society congress in 2003 to the effect that the current sea-level has been much the same for the last 4000 years, with an increase of 30 cm from 1790 to 1970, and no increase since. It’s not hard to find articles about any subject you are interested in. Why didn’t the reporter find that one?

    What about the Greenland ice-cap? Here again there is divergent evidence. There is good satellite evidence that the ice-cap is retreating at the edges, which is consistent with what has been happening to glaciers for the past 150 years. At the same time, it seems that the ice-cap is growing vertically at about 5 cm a year, which is consistent with other evidence that the average summer temperature at the summit of the ice-cap has decreased at the rate of about 2 degrees Celsius a decade over the past twenty years. We should keep remembering that a lot depends on how long a time-span we are considering. We know that Greenland has been a good deal warmer in the past than it is now (there is at least one Viking burial ground from several centuries ago that is now under permafrost), and it seems that Greenland experienced a short but rapid warming in the 1920s and 1930s that could not have been connected with postwar greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, the Greenland ice-cap sits in a huge valley, so it can’t slide into the sea or do other extraordinary things. All told, the Greenland ice-cap seems pretty safe to me.

    What about hurricanes and tsunamis? The weight of evidence is that as carbon dioxide has increased in the atmosphere, the incidence of hurricanes and violent storms has actually decreased. I am not proposing any causal link at all. No one has suggested, with any credibility, that the great tsunami in 2004 was connected in any way with greenhouse gas emissions. Whatever the ‘new reality’ referred to by the small island leaders in the story about the Maldives, it seems to have little or no relationship to available facts or to anthropogenic global warming. Why then did the islanders refer to it? Because, surely, it is a rhetorical weapon, and they have very little in their armoury other than rhetoric. Certainly the 2004 tsunami produced a metre-high wave that caused death and destruction in the Maldives, as it did elsewhere. People are leaving the Carteret islands, which are not far from Bougainville, and they attribute the rising seas to global warming. But the Carteret stories given by the old men suggest a process that is at least fifty years old, and as powerful then as now, which is not consistent with the greenhouse gas emission theory. In any case, sea levels do not seem to be rising in nearby Bougainville. The Carteret Islands sit on top of an ancient volcano. Perhaps the land is subsiding; perhaps the fringing reefs are sinking. I do not know, and I could not find a paper on that subject. But the hypothesis that the sea is rising rapidly there and nowhere else is plainly wrong. People have left Tuvalu, too, fearing that the seas will rise. But the evidence points strongly toward that island’s experiencing a sequence of sea-level rises and falls mostly related to the El Nino Southern Oscillation: during the El Nino spike of 1998, the sea-levels at Tuvalu fell about a foot. About Kiribati there is little evidence one way or the other, save that people fear that the seas will rise.

    I have gone into a lot of detail here to make what I think is an important point. I have little doubt that one could analyse almost every scary climate-change story in the same way, and with much the same result. The story about the vanishing polar bear, for example, seems at the pictorial level to have been akin to fraud, and there is no evidence that polar bear numbers are declining. The original Maldives story was plainly much more frightening than it need have been. The reporter and the climate-change expert added to the scares with a repetition of possibilities that were not strongly based in argument or evidence. In my view, despite the wonderful photograph, it was a sloppy and tendentious article. But there is nothing sinister or novel in this state of affairs. Bad news sells; good news doesn’t. There was a spate of stories about the shrinking Arctic ice-cap in 2007, but virtually none about the much greater Arctic ice area in 2008.

    • Don

      Excellent summary (and speech). Thanks for posting it.


    • >But there is nothing sinister or novel in this state of affairs. Bad news sells; good news doesn’t<

      Sorry, Don, far too simplistic

      I enjoy your posts, you are clearly trying to grapple with the thick grey line of the old conundrum of propaganda vs truth

      But we Aussies also remember your stint as a speech-writer. As a consequence, I know you know better than the simplistic "bad news sells" – the truth is that MSM editors, sub-editors and senior journalists invest "skin" in some particular point of view and then skew news to fit this

      Contradictions caused by reality mugging them seems of no consequence. For example, some years ago the SMH ran the line that increasing the State parliamentary term from 3 to 4 years was a "good thing", despite comments that all this did was simply to provide a longer time for Govts to bury blunders and scandals. When exactly this became apparent (Sydney had become gridlocked), the SMH then actively canvassed a "woe is us, how can we get an early election ?" line … utterly shameless

      And so it is with AGW

      • Ian,

        When do you think I was a speechwriter? And for whom? I’ve never written a speech for anybody else to deliver, to the best of my knowledge, and I write all my own.

        Puzzled. I agree generally with you about the culture of news-gathering and -disseminating organisations. The ABC is a good example.

      • >When do you think I was a speechwriter? And for whom?<

        I apologise, Don, I stupidly included a slightly-edited paragraph from another web post on a different "Don" without checking … red-faced on this point

        I agree on the MSM of course … despite some posts labelling the viewpoint of the MSM deliberately skewing news to fit their preferred line as conspiracy theory, my son worked for 5 years on a major Aus newspaper and attended many such editorial conferences. Censorship, he decided, and found a career where this did not happen. I'm actually quite proud of him :)

  66. Someone may already have posted this link, but these UN idiots are simply moving the timeline 10 years – and subtly rebranding the hapless victims from “climate refugees” to “environmental refugees” (whazzat?).

    Of course, Climate Progress has already picked up the latest dire forecast.

    But 10 years is a short time; one would have thought that these morons would have moved the goalposts a bit further to avoid another fiasco.

    Oh well.


    • Max –
      In the searches I did yesterday, one thing became clear from observation of the dates and terms on the various articles – the interchangeability of the terms.

  67. Re “sinking’ coral atolls, Willis Eschenbach’s article, ‘Floating Islands’ on WUWT. These islands float on a lens of fresh water and rise as the sea rises. There is a complex interaction between loss of sand from wind and waves and reef building by parrot fish. Willis lived on Pacific atolls and studied their dynamics. Population increase and over use of water and fishing the parrot fish which should be protected are the reasons these islands are ‘sinking, not climatechange.

  68. And a new paper on analysis of floods says the following in the conclusion

    “Analysis of trends and of aggregated time series on climatic (30-year) scale does not indicate consistent trends worldwide. Despite common perception, in general, the detected trends are more negative (less intense floods in most recent years) than positive. Similarly, Svensson et al. (2005) and Di Baldassarre et al. (2010) did not find systematical change neither in flood increasing or decreasing numbers nor change in flood magnitudes in their analysis.”

    Read the paper

    So while IPCC and world talk about extreme floods etc. climate change, threat to security, climate refugees etc., real world data says different.

    Dr.Roger Pielke Jr. has good post about these kind of predictions on floods, in his blog

    So can we all come back to the real world?

  69. barn E. rubble

    RE: Migration is key element of climate adaptation, and further understanding of migration is important for economic stability and security.

    Was North America not settled because of climate change? (Altho by who and when is now a hot topic among archeologists.) I don’t think anyone has suggested the first settlers were pushed out of their previous lands because of adverse climate conditions &/or disasters but instead took advantage of opportunities presented by favourable climate conditions. Climate conditions that had changed. Likewise expansion and conquest, whether Viking, Roman or European, were almost entirely dependent on favourable climate conditions; both long term and short term. How different would the world be had the (short term) winters of 1812 and 1941 been late and mild? As for long term, would I be paying more or less for Merlot if Greenland had stayed warm enuff long enuff to become a world leader in wine production?

    Surely by now we know that those (any species) that adapt (and indeed take advantage) of climate change will thrive and flourish. Those that don’t &/or can’t, will . . . . well, not. The West has gone to great lengths and expense to help keep people in areas of the world that simply can’t support their existence there. The idea that the Ford plant here in Oakville, Ontario is more to blame for their situation than continental drift is just silly. Just as silly, is blaming the whole of Western prosperity for millions of ‘climate refugees’ roaming the planet.


  70. Stephen Pruett

    Regarding the moral attributes and attitudes of “neocons”: Guess which state has the highest per capita rate of charitable giving. It’s Mississippi. Guess which state is dead last? It’s Massachusetts, that bastion of enlightened moralists. Hmmmm. My problem with the climate refugee papers has nothing to do with lack of concern for people, it is that these papers are almost completely speculative. In a recent search I noticed one title that indicated someone actually asked people why they had moved. Although self reported information like that has some problems, it might actually yield some real data.

  71. Christian Hoflin

    While the Earth has always endured natural climate change variability, we are now facing the possibility of irreversible climate change in the near future. The increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth?s atmosphere from industrial processes has enhanced the natural greenhouse effect. This in turn has accentuated the greenhouse ?trap? effect, causing greenhouse gases to form a blanket around the Earth, inhibiting the sun?s heat from leaving the outer atmosphere. This increase of greenhouse gases is causing an additional warming of the Earth?s surface and atmosphere. A direct consequence of this is sea-level rise expansion, which is primarily due to the thermal expansion of oceans (water expands when heated), inducing the melting of ice sheets as global surface temperature increases.
    Forecasts for climate change by the 2,000 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a rise in the global average surface temperature by 1.4 to 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This will result in a global mean sea level rise by an average of 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. Consequently, human-induced climate change will have ?deleterious effects? on ecosystems, socio-economic systems and human welfare.
    At the moment, especially high risks associated with the rise of the oceans are having a particular impact on the two archipelagic states of Western Polynesia: Tuvalu and Kiribati. According to UN forecasts, they may be completely inundated by the rising waters of the Pacific by 2050.
    According to the vast majority of scientific investigations, warming waters and the melting of polar and high-elevation ice worldwide will steadily raise sea levels. This will likely drive people off islands first by spoiling the fresh groundwater, which will kill most land plants and leave no potable water for humans and their livestock. Low-lying island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are the most prominent nations threatened in this way.
    “The biggest challenge is to preserve their nationality without a territory,” said Bogumil Terminski from Geneva. Rosemary Rayfuse from the University of New South Wales argued that “a solution to the ‘disappearing state’ dilemma is suggested through adoption of a positive rule freezing baselines and through recognition of the category of ‘deterritorialised state’. It is concluded that the articulation of new rules of international law may be needed to provide stability, certainty and a future to disappearing states”.

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