Climate Change and Refugees

by Ethan Kurz

When thinking about climate change, the usual thought process leads to comments about changing weather patterns and how the world is heating up. However; according to Carment, Betrand, and Yiagadeesen; climate change shouldn’t be looked at from a scientific method, it should be looked at from a humanities perspective, and that is where the connection between Refugees and climate change emerges. Climate change has a large impact on developing countries, specifically countries with high fragility ratings. Climate change affects the development, security, and legitimacy of a state in addition to changing just the environment. The development or infrastructure of a country can be affected adversely though worsening weather conditions due to climate change. The security of a country can also be affected through extreme weather events, which are getting more common because of climate change. The legitimacy of a state may be brought into question as climate change causes bad conditions and the relocation of people. The effects of climate change on development, security, and legitimacy affect the poorest of the poor the most and cause these people to become displaced or refugees.

As a result of climate change, institutions must be put in place to help protect the people. These institutions must have authority, capacity, and legitimacy. The problem is that the already fragile nations may not have the ability to create institutions to protect their people. With the current negative state of institutions in fragile countries, climate change will have a great toll and cause the amount of refugees we see in the coming years to increase greatly. If climate change related relocation movements or refugee movements are to be avoided, larger countries with the economy and ability to help fragile countries must put their resources to use and help. Even though refugees stem from many things, climate change is significant in the relocation of people.

Carment, David; Langlois-Betrand, Simon; and Samy, Yiagadeesen. “Assessing State Fragility, With a Focus on Climate Change and Refugees: A 2016 Country Indicators for Foreign Policy Report.” Country Indicators for Foreign Policy (2016): n. pag. Web. 21 Jan. 2017. <;.




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