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Globally, soaring amounts of greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change and resulting in rising sea levels and more frequent and severe extreme weather events. The effects of climate change pay no respect to national borders or laws; they impact individuals in developed and developing countries. In fact, the United Nations reports that climate change currently impacts every country on every continent. One growing, and often overlooked, effect of climate change is the link to displacement of millions of men, women, and children due to climate or weather-related events.
Below are three facts you should know about climate change and displacement:
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) notes that since 2009, nearly one person every second has been displaced by a disaster, including climate and weather-related events. The most recent estimates from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre find that an average of 26.4 million people per year have been uprooted due to disasters brought on by natural hazards.
- Displacement linked to climate change will only get worse if we don’t act now. Scientists are in high agreement that climate change, combined with other factors, will force more people into increasing poverty and displacement. The UN refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier,” meaning it exacerbates the issues that create conflict, making complicated situations even more challenging to resolve.
- The Paris Agreement, a historic accord that unites all nations in an effort to combat climate change, is a collective step forward in addressing displacement related to climate and weather-related events. The Agreement’s Preamble acknowledges that climate change is a “common concern of humankind.” Further, it establishes a task force charged with developing recommendations for global approaches to “avert, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change.”