Our responsibility for the Climate Refugees

Climate change is one of the causes of the refugee crisis. If there will be no substantial steps taken to protect the climate, the number of refugees will increase tremendously. This is one more reason why the Clean Air Action Group is urging the Hungarian government and the EU to do everything possible to combat climate change.

Scientific American recently reported about a study of the American National Academy of Sciences which stated that climate change had significantly contributed to the outbreak of the war in Syria. Between 2006 and 2011, Syria lived through a drought which it had never experienced before. Agricultural production declined, and therefore many families moved to the cities from the countryside. This deepened social tensions. At the same time food prices increased and that made the situation even worse.

Global warming has been worsening people’s living conditions in other countries, too. In February 2011, one week after the Egyptian Revolution had broken out, Scientific American wrote that drastically increased foods prices had contributed to the outbreak of the revolution in Egypt. Due to the extraordinary drought, grain production was low in Egypt, and import prices increased, because extreme weather conditions in the main grain producing countries (drought in China and Russia, floods in Australia) decreased agricultural production there.

According to a UN estimation, in 2008, 20 million people had to leave their home because of climate change, and in 2012 this number was 35 million. There are forecasts projecting that the number of the climate refugees might reach 700 million in the next few decades. What could we do, if part of these people started to move to our country? Shoot them, when they reach our country’s border? And what could we do, if in Hungary the climate would become so unbearable that we have to leave our country? (Climate change will probably have a much harsher effect on Hungary than on most European countries). Will we be shot, when we step across the border?

Our responsibility for the climate change is not negligible. Hungary’s natural resource consumption is over 1.5 times more than the Earth can sustain without damage. And if we are responsible for the climate change, we have to take care of those people whose living conditions has become unbearable due to us as well. At the same time, we must do everything we can to protect the climate.