The United States must do more to protect and track refugees fleeing natural catastrophes from climate change, as it is becoming increasingly alarming. This was the Biden administration’s grim assessment Thursday of the increasing challenges facing the country.
Separate assessments by U.S. intelligence officials and defense officials highlighted the rising tensions and resulting increased threats to U.S. Security. They also pointed out a more dangerous world, with more desperate leaders and more people as the temperature rises. One is a first-of its-kind intelligence assessment about climate change that identified 11 countries of greatest concern, ranging from Haiti to Afghanistan.
The report suggests a number of steps, including monitoring for flooding or other disasters that could create climate refugees, focusing U.S. assistance that can help people ride out droughts and storms in their home countries, and working closely with Congress to discuss humanitarian visas and other protections to people who have been displaced by extreme weather.
It calls for the creation of a taskforce to coordinate U.S. climate change management and migration across all levels of government, including climate scientists and aid and security officials.
According to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, each year hurricanes, failure of seasonal rains, and other sudden natural catastrophes force 21.5 million people out of their homes. Already, the warming climate caused by the burning of coal or gas is causing a variety of disasters. These include wildfires that have ravaged California towns, rising sea levels that have overtaken islands, and conflict that has been made worse by drought.
The report stated that “Policy and programming efforts made today” and “in the future years” will have an impact on estimates of people who are moving because of climate-related factors. The report was ordered by President Joe Biden. It also included recommendations from federal agencies throughout government. “Nevertheless, tens of millions of people will be forced to leave the country in the coming decades, largely due to climate change effects.”
Biden’s administration is keen to address climate change before a critical U.N. conference in Glasgow, Scotland which begins late this month. This is especially true as Biden struggles with lawmakers to agree on multibillion-dollar climate change mitigation measures, which are a crucial part of his domestic agenda.
People who are displaced by climate change have no legal rights and no nation can offer asylum.
In February, Biden ordered his national security advisor to conduct a months-long study. This included looking into the “options of protection and resettlement for individuals displaced directly by climate change.”
The administration published its first national intelligence estimate about climate change as part of Thursday’s push.
The U.S. intelligence agency created the national intelligence estimates as a benchmark document to aid decision-making across government agencies.
According to the estimate, a warmer planet could lead to increased geopolitical tensions as poorer countries struggle with rising seas, droughts, and other consequences, while waiting for more polluting countries to make changes. According to the estimate, climate change will “increasingly exacerbate risks to U.S. security interests.”
It identified 11 countries of concern, including Afghanistan, Colombia and Guatemala. The report also lists two areas of concern: Central Africa, and the small islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Countries could be driven further towards conflict by tensions between water and land. Much of Pakistan’s water supply comes from Indian rivers. Both countries are nuclear-armed and have fought many wars since 1947, when they were founded. India is on the other side. Around 10% of Bangladesh’s 160million inhabitants live in coastal areas that are vulnerable to rising seas or saltwater intrusion.
According to agency rules, intelligence officials spoke under anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. They stated that climate change could inadvertently affect counterterrorism by pushing people for food and shelter towards violent groups.
According to officials, the intelligence community requires more scientific expertise in order to incorporate climate change into its analysis and assessments of other countries.
According to the United Nations, there could be 200 million people who are climate-displaced by 2050.
A World Meteorological Organization report published in April shows that climate change has caused an average of 23,000,000 people to be displaced annually since 2010. In the first six months last year, nearly 10 million people were displaced. The majority of them moved within their country.