I was trying to find some recent data on climate refugees just now because of the controversy (in some quarters) over inaccurate UN projections (which, it seems, did not emanate from the UN at all). A Wikipedia site is of considerable assistance in this regard in that, while noting the conceptual problems, it does not dismiss the issue of ‘environmental migrants’. I’m reminded of an anonymous quotation on the definition of an economist I came across once, that read something along the lines of ‘someone who sees something in practice as asks whether it works in theory’. Does it really matter if there are 50 million climate refugees in 2010, 2020 or 2030? Is it somehow acceptable if it is an event that occurs 10 or 20 years from now? Or is it less of an issue because we are not sure whether a person can or cannot be counted because it is not possible to prove conclusively whether they were displaced because of environmental factors or war that may or may not have been caused by deteriorating environmental resources?
My challenge to the skeptics would be to watch this movie and then present a convincing argument that displaced persons arising from environmental factors is decreasing or not deviating from any historical trend. Furthermore, maybe if some of the climate change skeptics within government circles could bring themselves to watch it, they would spend less time trying to argue against the science and recognise that, whether they believe in the science or not, the consequences of climate change are sitting on their door step right now in the shape of a ‘national security problem’.