Secretary of State John Kerry warns the world that more and more people will be fleeing the devastation caused by global warming. “It’s something new. We have climate refugees today,” he said during a town hall event about the oceans.
Kerry described climate refugees as people who had to leave their homes because of drought, rising sea levels, and thawing permafrost.
“[T]he day could come, if we don’t respond rapidly, you could have millions of climate refugees. You could have people moving from whole areas where today you can grow things and tomorrow you can’t,” he said.
He remarked that more world leaders had begun to talk about this rising threat in many of his international meetings, although he admitted that the issue was not yet a “crescendo.”
International organizations, like the United Nations, he admitted, would have to codify the term “climate refugee” and put it into law. That would grant special immigration privileges to immigrants claiming refugee status, allowing them to move to other countries.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before it fits in under a category and countries have — and the refugee process has legitimately incorporated it into our policy,” Kerry said.