Volume 34
Issue 3
Spring '20

A Framework for the Future of Climate Refugees

Written By: Evan Kielar

Abstract

As global temperatures rise due to climate change, nations around the world are seeing an increase in refugees. Resources are becoming more scarce, and ocean levels are rising, causing people to flee their homes, especially those from small island nations. It is forecasted that 143 million people will be displaced by climate change by 2050. Many people leaving their homes seek asylum in other countries, but are having difficulty as there are no internationally agreed-upon standards for climate refugees. However, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has begun its review of the matter by hearing a climate refugee case and has outlined factors for countries to consider when reviewing a person’s asylum application as a climate refugee. These include resource scarcity, violence due to resource scarcity that the applicant has experienced, and time left of habitability in the applicant’s country of origin. This piece analyses the Committee’s communication No. 2728/2016, which indicated what factors a climate refugee applicant might use to make her claim for asylum.

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