Q&A :: Climate refugees in Europe?
PR dla Zagranicy
As European leaders seek to address the root causes of migration, experts point to one contributing factor largely overlooked thus far.
Half a million refugees have arrived in Europe since the beginning of the year, according to UN's latest figures. In 2014, the International Organisation for Migration estimated that 350,000 asylum-seekers from North Africa and the Middle East reached Europe's southern flanks throughout 2014.
European leaders admit that in order to drive down numbers, issues underlying the mass migration need to be addressed, particularly poverty, armed conflict and Islamic extremism. Experts are, meanwhile, increasingly pointing to another one accelerant playing its part.
“I think some of these migrants coming into Europe are migrants because of climate change,” Zbigniew Karaczun, from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, told Q&A host Alicja Baczynska, as he points to major droughts driven by the greenhouse effect as one of the factors coming into play.
It’s not only scientists saying it. Speaking at an August conference on climate change in the Arctic, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned against the effects of global warming: “[W]e as leaders of countries will begin to witness what we call climate refugees moving – you think migration is a challenge to Europe today because of extremism, wait until you see what happens when there’s an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival.”