Climate change is forcing people to leave their homes, and even forcing entire nations to sink beneath the waves. Yet climate refugees might not even be included in the international climate agreement being developed for Copenhagen.
Photo credit Jennifer Redfearn/Sun Come Up
At last week's Bonn III negotiations (the talks to get ready for the big Copenhagen negotiations), the one line of text that referred to climate refugees was bracketed. That means the text is flagged for possible approval, instead of being firmly included. This slight change makes the US less responsible for the problem. The United States would rather not even use the word 'refugees,' fearing its strong implications, and instead would use the word 'migrants.' Why? Because a 'migrant' is someone who decides to move.
Peoples' homes are being destroyed. They are not going to be moving voluntarily, and any effort to make it seem like they are is a blatant shirking of responsibility on the part of American diplomats, most notably Hillary Clinton.
Tomorrow morning, the Avaaz Climate Action Factory, in solidarity with climate refugees across the world, will erect a refugee camp right in front of the US State Department in Washington DC. We will brave the 95 degree heat to demand that Clinton include language recognizing and protecting climate refugees in the negotiating text.
Action Factory members are working for a global climate treaty that mitigates climate change and protects the world's most vulnerable people. While major emissions reductions in the US remain probably the most important piece of that treaty, other important aspects can and should be advocated for in the run-up to Copenhagen. This includes provisions protecting climate refugees, increased funding for international adaptation, and more money for international clean-tech transfer.
As we near the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, please help us spread the word about the State Department's lack of protection for those who will suffer first and suffer hardest from a warming world.
Follow @actionfactorydc for updates as the protest progresses
Media contact: Kim Huynh/ 904-327-7650
Press conference: Monday, 12:30pm, West entrance to the State Department
For more info: http://www.towardsrecognition.org/