Posted on March 11, 2008

Millions of ‘Climate Change Migrants’ Will Overwhelm Europe, Says Report

Daily Mail (London), March 11, 2008

Britain should brace itself for a new wave of mass migration caused by global warming, a report warns today.

A landmark document by two senior European Union officials says climate change will drive millions of “environmental migrants” towards the EU.

The report also warns of a potentially dangerous scramble between Russia and the West for the mineral deposits of the Arctic made accessible by the melting of the polar ice cap.

It says millions of people in poorer countries will be displaced by the consequences of global warming—famines, rising sea levels, loss of arable land and fresh water, and dangerous weather conditions.

Within a decade “there will be millions of environmental migrants,” says the report by Javier Solana, the EU’s chief foreign policy co-ordinator, and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commissioner for external affairs.

“The core challenge is that climate change threatens to overburden states and regions which are already fragile and conflict-prone.

The risks include political and security risks that directly affect European interests,” concludes the document to be discussed at a special EU summit on Thursday.

The report says “significant potential conflicts” are likely as a result of “intensified competition” over energy resources.

Of particular concern is a “potential crisis” with Russia over rights to oil and gas deposits in the Arctic region.

As climate change starts to take dramatic and unpleasant effect in other areas of the world, Britain and the rest of Europe will see an influx of migrants, the report claims

“If global warming were to allow this to become a viable source of energy, a serious conflict could emerge between Russia and Norway,” the report says.

A combination of farmland being turned to desert, shrinking coastlines and harder to obtain fresh water will result in a “vicious circle of degradation” with “migration and conflicts over territory” threatening global stability, the document adds.

“The multinational system is at risk if the international community fails to address the threats. Climate change impacts will fuel the politics of resentment between those most responsible for climate change and those most affected by it,” the report says.

Scientists have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades, the report stated.

Their findings suggest that both industrialized and developing nations must wean themselves off fossil fuels by as early as mid-century in order to prevent warming that could dry up sources of water worldwide.

Using advanced computer models to factor in deep-sea warming and other aspects of the carbon cycle that naturally creates and removes carbon dioxide, the scientists, from countries including the United States, Canada and Germany, are delivering a simple message: The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further.