Climate Primer #34: Impacts of Climate Crisis – 17. Mass Migration

To summarize, climate crisis is the defining issue of the century. Buildup of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Earth’s atmosphere is driving global heating, while a convergence of global crises threatens to rupture key planetary boundaries. Although the human activities which drive these converging crises (for simplicity: the climate crisis) are diverse and complex, the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) breaks down the sources of anthropogenic GHG emissions into five high-level sectors. Similarly, the impacts of climate crisis – in their variety and complexity – are almost impossible for an individual to grasp, but so far, this sub-series has covered: global heating, Arctic amplification, heat waves, droughts and floods, disruption of oceanic and atmospheric patterns, cryosphere collapse, declining oceanic dissolved oxygen content, sea level rise, fisheries collapse, coral reef die-offs, deforestation, water scarcity, food insecurity, deteriorating health, urban threats, and rural threats and deepening poverty. In the absence of dramatic global climate action this decade, climate crisis will likely spiral out of control, rupturing key planetary boundaries and endangering the future of organized human life on Earth.

I’d planned to write, yesterday, about mass migration driven by climate crisis, but then the New York Times went and scooped me:

I no longer link to the Times (because I’m sick of them stealing content without attribution; drawing false equivalences and soft-pedaling on lies; publishing dishonest hit jobs on courageous investigative journalism outlets; and, of course, not forcefully standing up for Julian Assange. Their coverage of India is also shit), but, in this instance, the Times is absolutely right: “Millions will be displaced,” and not just in the United States. As AR5 puts it:

Accidental highlighting my own; I was surprised not to find human migration mentioned, so found in document “displace” only to discover it was the very next clause on the page I was already looking at…
Source: AR5 of the IPCC (page 73)

Leaving it at that for today, as my intention is not to belabor heavy and distressing points, only to assert the obvious: That we live in an already radically changed reality, and our time and resources are dwindling to respond to the threats posed by escalating climate crisis.

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