Former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, talked climate change, its subsequent effect on migration, and how Brexit plays into all of this at a Guardian Live event in London in November.
He expressed concerns over climate change not being a “ballot issue”, saying the world is “heading for catastrophe" if measures are not taken immediately.
Climate change refers to weather patterns that undergo constant change for an extended period of time. The Earth has undergone dramatic fluctuations in temperature and weather, with at least five major Ice Ages in little over 500 million years, and periods of global warming in between.
Global warming has occurred naturally in the past, but it has been exceptionally fast in recent decades, with scientists worried that human-induced warming will have irreversible implications on the planet.
These implications extend beyond temperature fluctuations, with socio-political and economic effects becoming more visible each passing year.
Every year, 25 million people become displaced due to natural disasters, five times more than those displaced by violence, and estimates put the figure corresponding to these migrants at 1 billion by 2050, according to the World Migration Report 2018.
The Groundswell report, as mentioned by the World Bank, stated that Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America will be dealing with tens of millions of internally displaced migrants due to climate change also by 2050.
The effects of climate change are visible: the number of storms and floods has increased threefold in the last 30 years, sea levels have risen by eight inches in the last century, and Antarctica lost 119 billion tons of ice between 1993 and 2016 (NASA).
NASA also states that hurricanes will become stronger and more frequent as the planet gets gradually warmer, and changes in precipitation patterns will see more places experiencing floods while others suffer droughts.
The migration chaos that international political figures assure will ensue will require substantial international collaboration.
“Well, imagine what happens if water dries up and you cannot produce food in northern Africa. Imagine what happens if Nigeria hits its alleged 500 million people by the middle of the century … you are going to have hordes of people in the northern part of the Mediterranean knocking on the door. I am telling you. If you don’t believe me, just go read the literature,” said Kerry.
If Europe does not take the necessary measures to deal with climate change, it will find itself facing another migrant crisis, one arguably worse than the current one where reportedly 1 in 5 migrants disappear during the journey.
Author: Ana Hernandez