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Climate Change and Migration Report

How Renewable Energy can stop the Refugee Crisis

From Donald Trump’s Mexico-US wall, the UK’s asylum seekers arriving in boats across the English channel and now the crisis at the Poland-Belarus border – the world seems fixated on the migration of humans. We know war and economy are key drivers of migration, but what about climate change? Energy Point have explored the effects of climate change on migration in this report and what we can do to stem it’s rapid growth.

Tyrese Garvie

Tyrese Garvie

Tyrese is an experienced writer, marketer and is a Senior Research Analyst, with a key focus on geopolitical activity, climate change and in general, how to make the world a better place for everyone.

> Refugees and migrants jump off an overcrowded boat into the Greek Island of Lesbos in October 2015. Credit: Dimitris Michalakis / Reuters

What is Climate Migration?

200 MILLION – this is the number of migrants that are expected to be displaced due to the effects of climate change by the year 2050. What is most concerning about the figure is that shows an increase of 1,000% from what figures were in 2008 for the entire documented refugee, and internally displaced populations. If the figure stands true, we could expect that one in every 45 people throughout the world will have been moved across internal and external borders by climate change.

Energy Point has found that an average of 21.5 million people were forcibly displaced each year by sudden extreme weather between 2008 and 2016 and many more from the slower-onset hazards directly linked to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and increased temperature levels in areas.

Climate migration by year 2050 1 in 45 people

So, it’s not hard to see why climate change is such a pertinent topic and is dominating the headlines across the world. David Draper, CEO at Energy Point says:

“Global warming is hands-down one of the biggest threats to our safety and freedom – it’s really important that companies start to take action against climate change and reduce the amount of carbon emissions that they emit. Energy Point have decided to back major resources and efforts to become carbon net-zero in the near future and I think other organisations should follow suite.”

Unfortunately, climate migration isn’t just as clear cut as people leaving their homes because it’s too hot, or the sea level is rising – there are many more factors to consider what comes to produce displacement and the other effects that global warming has.

> A person armed with a rifle overlooks the destroyed town of Ain al-Arab in 2015. Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

How Climate Change Causes Conflict

October, 2021, The White House released a report, stating that there is a strong link between climate change migration and conflict; saying that ‘climate related impacts may further stress vulnerable communities, increasing the risk of conflict and displacement…’; this is because climate change can exacerbate resource scarcity and threaten biodiversity – bringing conflict over food and economic security.

Climate migration across the world also subsequently moves large numbers of people, which means bringing new groups into contact with one another – potentially shifting power balances, causing further stress on available resources in regions; this movement and contact with new groups could also ignite tensions that had previously been quelled with distance, amongst historically separated groups.

Climate Change and Conflict infographic

The direct link between climate migration and conflict do each other no good – increasing the figures of one another and further increasing the chances of conflict, terrorism and armed conflict around the globe.

Just recently, it’s clear to see that the recent Syrian Civil War in 2015, was exacerbated by the extreme drought experienced by it’s populace – causing stress on the population and rising tensions between the government and civilians.

Energy Point’s research Analyst, Tyrese Garvie says:

“What is really clear to see, is that climate change and the displacement of populations caused by it, ripple massive and very serious effects – which threaten national security, resources and other factors across the world. It is also a big player in causing destabilisation of regions globally and is directly linked with terrorism and conflict.”

Semaj N. McDowell (Institute of World Politics, Geopolitical Pivot) said that “

All of these factors contribute to the refugee crisis that we’re seeing now. People in developing countries are tired of the conflict and resource scarcity, caused by global warming and are fleeing their homes, because of this conflict. The refugee crisis has always been a question of humanity and responsibility, but now, especially in recent events at Poland-Belarus border, we’re seeing the underlying tone shift from that of a humanitarian one – to a question of security and warfare. Our number one aim right now should be to reduce the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and I don’t think it would be wrong to suggest that, with that reduction of carbon emissions, we will see a reduction in conflict and terror across the globe.

> A field of solar panels in a field (L); An African cattle farmer armed with an AK47 (R). Credit: Envato and Reuters

Can We Really Defeat Conflict with Renewable Energy?

It may sound arbitrary, but Energy Point have found that reducing carbon emissions in developed and developing countries could greatly decrease the need for conflict, especially in the Middle East & Africa.

Take for example the fact mentioned earlier, that groups of armed actors are murdering and killing African cattle herders in the Chad Basin for their livestock and land; this issue has been brought about by drought and urbanisation, which has cut access to grazing land for groups and now herders are forced to look for, and unfortunately, fight over dwindling reserves of pasture.

 

Drought in the US 2012 infographic

Drought is a major issue that is faced by many different countries in the world. Energy Point has found that in 2012, 81% of the United States was under at least abnormally dry conditions; so it’s no surprise that nations in the continent of Africa are facing similar perils.

The best way to reduce droughts and other extreme weather events on Earth, is to dramatically reduce the amount of carbon and greenhouse gases that we are emitting. We can do this by lowering our carbon footprint (the average carbon footprint per person in the UK, per year, is 12.7 tonnes CO2e) by doing simple things such as recycling, sharing a car journey, taking public transport or working from home where we can.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much we, as everyday people, can do to quell the effects of global warming and therefore global conflict; the real responsibility lies with our world governments to do the right thing and take climate change as a serious issue, which effects the development of countries in unstable regions, via conflict and resource-strain. 

Recently, Boris Johnson (British Prime Minister) announced that grants would be made available for homeowners to have heat pumps installed – this government scheme was enacted to help the UK reach net-zero by 2050. UN World Leaders at the COP26 event in Glasgow also announced that they would ‘End Deforestation by 2030’. 

All of these actions are steps in the right direction. Energy Point believe that governments should have a bigger focus on renewable energy sources, such as the installation of solar panels, hydroelectricity and wind turbines, to not only offset/reduce our carbon emissions, but to also take commanding action against the causes of climate migration and therefore conflict. 

About Energy Point

Energy Point is a renewable energy & energy efficiency consultancy organisation located near Leeds, UK. We specialise in publishing reports on climate change and the latest renewable energy technology. Our data is gathered from top organisations such as the White House, the UK Government, the UN and other institutions and research establishments.

References

The White House: Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration (Oct 2021)
IOM International Organization for Migration: Migration and Climate Change (2008)
IOM International Organization for Migration: The Role of Regional Consultative Processes in Managing International Migration (2001)
The Economist: ‘Cows, cash and conflict’ (2017)
The Guardian: ‘Animals farmed’ (2021)
C2ES Center for climate and energy solutions: ‘Drought and Climate Change’
Pawprint: ‘Average Carbon Footprint UK’
Gov.uk: ‘UK becomes first major economy to pass net zero emissions law’

Tyrese Garvie

Tyrese Garvie

Tyrese is an experienced writer, marketer and is a Senior Research Analyst, with a key focus on geopolitical activity, climate change and in general, how to make the world a better place for everyone.

2 thoughts on “How Renewable Energy Can Stop the Refugee Crisis”

  1. I found this article extremely informative and well researched. Its refreshing to see a company taking such actions to bring about positive change.

    1. Thank you! Energy Point is dedicated to resolving the issues that surround climate change, as part of our visions & values as an organisation.

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