Global warming is creating climate change refugees says Christian agency

By staff writers
October 19, 2006

Global warming is creating climate change refugees says Christian agency

-20/10/06

By Jordan Tchilingirian

Global warming will trigger millions of climate change refugees unless urgent action is taken, a new report has suggested.

The controversial and challenging scenario linking the two hot political topics of climate change and migration, is being spelt out by Evangelical charity and development agency Tearfund.

In the report released today, Feeling the Heat, the aid agency predicts that millions of climate change refugees will be one result of the impact of global warming on water supplies in the worldís poorest countries - unless urgent action is taken now.

ìThere will be millions more thirsty, hungry and ill poor people living in high risk areas of the world by the end of the century. It makes sense politically, economically and morally, for governments to act with urgency now" the report states.

Feeling the Heat, suggests that there are already 25 million ëenvironmental refugeesí around the world, and that this figure is likely to increase as rain patterns continue to change and floods and storms become more frequent.

The report cites examples where the environmental exodus has already begun. In Mexico poor crop yields are forcing more and more people to risk death by illegally fleeing to the USA. In Brazil one in five born in the arid north-east of the country are forced to move to avoid drought.

In particular it highlights the spread of the Gobi desert, which is consuming its surroundings at a rate of 4,000 square miles a year. This is forcing the populations of three provinces in China to abandon their homes. In Nigeria, 1,350 square miles of land are turning to desert each year. Farmers and herdsmen are being forced to move to the cities.

Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director of Tearfund said; "One of the most devastating impacts of climate change is on water supply. In some parts of the world, floods, storms and poor rainfall are beginning to have catastrophic effects, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people."

The report contains a call on governments, meeting at the UN Climate Change conference in Nairobi on November 6-17th, to move towards a global framework for cutting C02 emissions that goes beyond the existing Kyoto Protocol. Representatives are being urged to commit their governments to billions more pounds to help poorer countries adapt to climate change.

The forward to the report is written by Sir John Houghton the former Chair of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He suggests that strong words from the world's leaders on climate change must now be matched by sufficient investment and strong action to cut global emissions, and help for the poorest nations to adapt to climate change on their doorstep.

ìIf your house is on fire, do you urgently try to save it, or throw your hands up in despair and walk away?" said Sir John. "Well, the house is on fire and it requires much more determined efforts to bring it under control and put it out. The UN climate change conference in Nairobi is an opportunity for failings to be addressed. Time is running out on us and Governments need to act much more responsibly, effectively and quickly."

Global warming is creating climate change refugees says Christian agency

-20/10/06

By Jordan Tchilingirian

Global warming will trigger millions of climate change refugees unless urgent action is taken, a new report has suggested.

The controversial and challenging scenario linking the two hot political topics of climate change and migration, is being spelt out by Evangelical charity and development agency Tearfund.

In the report released today, Feeling the Heat, the aid agency predicts that millions of climate change refugees will be one result of the impact of global warming on water supplies in the worldís poorest countries - unless urgent action is taken now.

ìThere will be millions more thirsty, hungry and ill poor people living in high risk areas of the world by the end of the century. It makes sense politically, economically and morally, for governments to act with urgency now" the report states.

Feeling the Heat, suggests that there are already 25 million ëenvironmental refugeesí around the world, and that this figure is likely to increase as rain patterns continue to change and floods and storms become more frequent.

The report cites examples where the environmental exodus has already begun. In Mexico poor crop yields are forcing more and more people to risk death by illegally fleeing to the USA. In Brazil one in five born in the arid north-east of the country are forced to move to avoid drought.

In particular it highlights the spread of the Gobi desert, which is consuming its surroundings at a rate of 4,000 square miles a year. This is forcing the populations of three provinces in China to abandon their homes. In Nigeria, 1,350 square miles of land are turning to desert each year. Farmers and herdsmen are being forced to move to the cities.

Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director of Tearfund said; "One of the most devastating impacts of climate change is on water supply. In some parts of the world, floods, storms and poor rainfall are beginning to have catastrophic effects, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people."

The report contains a call on governments, meeting at the UN Climate Change conference in Nairobi on November 6-17th, to move towards a global framework for cutting C02 emissions that goes beyond the existing Kyoto Protocol. Representatives are being urged to commit their governments to billions more pounds to help poorer countries adapt to climate change.

The forward to the report is written by Sir John Houghton the former Chair of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He suggests that strong words from the world's leaders on climate change must now be matched by sufficient investment and strong action to cut global emissions, and help for the poorest nations to adapt to climate change on their doorstep.

ìIf your house is on fire, do you urgently try to save it, or throw your hands up in despair and walk away?" said Sir John. "Well, the house is on fire and it requires much more determined efforts to bring it under control and put it out. The UN climate change conference in Nairobi is an opportunity for failings to be addressed. Time is running out on us and Governments need to act much more responsibly, effectively and quickly."

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