50 million “environmental refugees” by 2010?

Scholars are predicting that 50 million people worldwide will be displaced by 2010 because of rising sea levels, desertification, dried up aquifers, weather-induced flooding and other serious environmental changes.

No aid available to "environmental refugees"

According to the United Nations University (UNU), an international community scholars that work on pressing global problems, victims of political upheaval or violence have access through governments and international organizations to assistance such as financial grants, food, tools, shelter, schools and clinics, but "environmental refugees" receive no such aid because they are not yet recognized in world conventions.

The UNU says that environmental problems already have contributed to large permanent migrations and could eventually displace hundreds of millions of people. Meanwhile, Red Cross research shows more people are now displaced by environmental disasters than by war.

Emphasis added. Many of these disasters of course are made much worse because of human-caused problems, like the erosion of the Mississippi delta areas that amplified the effect of Katrina.

Simms argues that because the homes of these displaced people are being gradually destroyed as a result of environmental policies pursued by industrialized nations, it amounts to "environmental persecution", which makes them legitimate refugees deserving of legal protection.

Most of them are poor and/or in remote areas. Which makes them easy for the West to ignore. Plus, if they became refugees because of "environmental policies pursued by industrialized nations" then, when they quite rightfully demand legal protection (and monetary damages), there could very well be serious protests, followed by repressions, more protests, you get the idea…

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