Climate migrations.  "There will be disputes over water, land and a place to live."

  • Climate migrants flee bad weather around the world
  • Dr. Love. Dorota Heydrich stated that although all estimates about further climate change and the number of immigrants are uncertain, the future looks pessimistic.
  • In the coming years, we may be threatened by conflicts over resources, water, land or a place to live. In some countries it can already be observed
  • According to the expert, the main problem is not to develop a coherent system to protect us from the crisis, but to make the whole world unanimously agree to such measures.
  • More such stories can be found on the homepage of

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Arkadiusz Płachta, Onet: We come across the concept of climate migration more and more. Who is a climate immigrant? How should we deal with it?

got dr. Dorota Heydrich: Currently, in the case of people leaving their place of residence due to unfavorable climatic conditions or natural disasters, we do not fully know whether these migrations are forced or result from potential economic benefits. It is important to If we assume that migration is forced due to the negative effects of climate change, then we should treat these people close to the category of “refugees”. In this case, since they cannot remain in their place of residence, they must receive some form of protection in third countries. We can also ask ourselves whether there are instances where climate change simply causes, but does not prevent, a deterioration in the quality of life in a particular area. Then they look for better living conditions and do not escape, Because their place of residence has been flooded or destroyed Tornado.


A flood in Athens on October 15, 2021

The broader term that defines this problem is environmental immigrant. It takes into account not only disasters related to climate change, but also And also any other environmental disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. A subcategory of ecological migrations is specifically climate migrations, where we focus on people for whom climate change makes their lives difficult or impossible. Some experts also use the term “climate refugee”. However, the word “refugee” is far-reaching because its use means that Some form of protection must be established for such persons. In the meantime, at the moment, we do not find a provision in the agreements in which climate change is a reason for granting refugee status. On the other hand, the use of refugee status for climate migrants is likely to obliterate the current definition of refugee. That’s what you say A refugee is a person who has a well-founded fear of persecution in the country on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or belonging to a particular social group.

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This shows that Migrations Climate change falls into different categories. However, defining climate migration as forced is not so simple because it automatically correlates with refugee status and the obligation to help. Countries are aware of these frightening estimates of the hundreds of millions of people who will travel through what climate catastrophe will bring in the coming years.

These estimates are truly terrifying. They talk about more than 200 million people who will have to leave their place of residence. What does it mean for us if these people, among other things, come to Europe? After all, we remember what happened to refugees in 20152016 and what is happening on the Polish-Belarusian border now.

These considerations must begin with the fact that we still do not fully know how climate change will continue. We still hope we can stop them, even though we have less and less time. However, the current assumptions are not optimistic and more and more boldly suggest that we will not be able to limit global warming enough to prevent new places on our planet where people will not be able to live. The second thing is that even if the temperature actually rises by 3°C compared to the pre-industrial era, we don’t know what the exact consequences will be for us.


California Fires, 10/13/2021

Maybe we will have procedures Desertification process, rising water levels, soil salinity. It is likely that the frequency of dangerous weather events will increase, and organisms, such as fish, will change their whereabouts. An example of this is mackerel. Until recently, it was considered a characteristic of fish in British habitats. Now, escaping from a warm aquatic environment, he has moved north and is caught en masse in Iceland.

It is difficult to say what people who have to flee the negative effects of climate change will do. Migration patterns indicate that these people are doing their best to stay in the territory of their country for as long as possible. International migration, although now highly facilitated, is associated with enormous risks for them, incl. Because of the uncertainty about where they are going and because of the high costs. The current situation in Europe, for example, also shows that Even if the immigrant wanted to cross the border, there is no certainty that he would. He can be removed from the border without being able to apply for asylum, whether it is legal or not.

If climate change continues, and is likely to happen to us, more and more people will certainly flee their country and stand at the borders of other countries. There will be struggles over natural resources, land, water, and a place to live and reproduce. No doubt about this. The question now is how countries that are richer but also vulnerable to climate change will respond to fleeing crowds. It can be assumed based on what is happening now and what was happening in the European Union in 2015In 2016, countries will generally exclude these people. It all depends on the climate change scenario that begins to be implemented. The negative effects of global warming increase, and the more conflicts there are.


Pakistan floods, 09/21/2021

In recent years, the climate has been assumed to be warming faster than the most pessimistic variables put forward. In this decade, at least in Poland, this trend is expected to slow slightly. Are there places in the world that people flee from? Does this cause any conflicts and clashes?

– Of course, there are already such countries. One of them is Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean. Several documentaries have already been made about this country. This island is in danger of flooding. Anote Tong, the former president of Kiribati, campaigned internationally about what is happening in Kiribati and asked for help. There were, inter alia, concepts of leasing part of the territory of neighboring states in order to resettle the threatened population there. There was also an idea to buy land so that some areas of Kiribati could be raised at least a little to delay their flooding. Papua New Guinea also suffers from similar problems.

It can be said that there are also conflicts. What happens in sub-Saharan Africa is directly or indirectly linked to resources. One can give as an example Kenya, where communities are draining water tanks. Desertification in Somalia, water shortage in Jordan and water disturbances in the Middle East are also a big problem. In this region, the issue of water shortage is a matter of life or death. Let us also not forget that the desert is growing and Central Asia is drying up. I also started noticing resource clashes in Latin and South America. Moreover, there is no shortage of extreme weather events that deprive people of infrastructure and the necessities of survival, NS. in Haiti. What we know as images from disaster movies slowly cease to be fiction and become reality.

Photo: Sinhan Bolili / Anadolu Agency / ABACAPRESS.COM / PAP

Madrid winter attack 11/1/2021.

However, we should also remember the richer countries, including Poland. We will do much better with changes climate From African or island countries, but the time will also come for us when we are faced with difficult choices. It will relate not so much to reversing the negative effects of climate change, but to adapting to the new climate reality.

Rich countries already have future visions in their plans. One of them is building a wall separating the Atlantic Ocean from the North Sea. It will prevent the sea from rising further. Thanks to this, the Netherlands will not sink, but the separation of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea from the Atlantic Ocean will lead to the death of these reservoirs faster than they are now. It is a series of changes that will affect us everywhere. One can also mention the desertification that occurs, among other things, in in central Poland. We already have summers when there are problems with access to water in the summer. This was the case in the Skierniewice area.

What should we do to prevent this impending disaster?

Most of the decisions made are personal purely political. The problem is not to create a unified system that mitigates climate change, improves the state of the environment, halts land degradation or halts mass migrations of people. The biggest problem is that we should all agree on something like this, even though it would definitely be very expensive. Unfortunately, there are no indications that such a compromise will be reached at the moment, even now, when we experience firsthand, across the globe, how much global warming can change our lives.

Photo: Dalibor Gluck/CTK/PAP

Effects of a hurricane in the Czech Republic on July 26, 2021.

Dr. Dorota Heydrich got PhD in Political Science (2004), researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw. Author of scholarly articles, chapters in collective literature, and books on issues of forced migration, transitional justice, and individual responsibility for international crimes and international organizations.

Every little action counts, change your habits and reduce your carbon footprint for the benefit of the planet. We’ve already done it – as of May 2021, all Ringier Axel Springer Polska brands have a zero carbon footprint. We must work together. The planet cannot wait.

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