Climate Change Is Increasing Regional Conflict and Creating Millions of Refugees Across the Globe

Those who are least to blame for climate change are those who are all too often affected first and worst. The world’s least developed countries produce only a fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions and have had far fewer of the benefits reaped by the developed world from their carbon-based economies, yet they are the most vulnerable and the least able to respond effectively to the impacts of climate change.

From the imagery of climate change, you might be mistaken for thinking it is all about polar bears. It is so much more: it is about all life on our planet and a threat to humanity as great or greater than geopolitical conflict or terrorism.

Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns will intensify competition for resources, food and water. Rising sea levels and extreme weather events will displace ever greater numbers of people. The Environmental Justice Foundation’s latest report, Beyond Borders, outlines the link between a changing climate, migration and conflict and how climate change can be seen as a threat multiplier.

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Richard Clarke said that climate change is the greatest single risk to California and to the entire United States, a warning that was followed by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the U.S. and a number of Caribbean islands with devastating impacts, causing flooding, destruction, and forcing people to leave their homes.

At the same time in the U.S., dry conditions and extreme heat have led to a proliferating number of intense wildfires, causing massive damage to infrastructure, land and the loss of human life.

These events are all increasing in frequency and are magnified as a result of climate change and they give us a glimpse into a future we all face.

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