An International Policy Digest (IPD) article, titled “It’s Time to Recognize Climate Refugees,” claims “refugees are … fleeing climate change.” Research shows this claim is false. Millions of people flee their homelands each year, but the causes are what they have always been war, political persecution, and poverty. Refugees now, as they always have, are leaving their countries in pursuit of a better life for their children and themselves, not climate change.
“In the face of warmer temperatures, reduced precipitation, and blighted crops—struggling farmers from Guatemala and El Salvador are giving up and fleeing to the U.S. border,” says IPD. “As the effects of climate change increase later this century, this pattern of migration will accelerate.
Also, “Climate change will submerge American communities like Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, and entire countries like the Maldives,” IPD claims.
The scientific evidence clearly says otherwise. As reported by, and documented in, Climate at a Glance: Climate Refugees:
- As the Earth modestly warms, there has been a reduction in climate-related refugees rather than an increase.
- The asserted causes of climate-refugees – increasing crop failures, catastrophic weather events, and islands lost to rising seas – have failed to occur.
- A majority of islands predicted to shed climate refugees due to sea-level rise are growing, not shrinking.
- Almost all nations asserted to shed climate refugees due to crop failures are benefiting from steadily increasing crop yields.
- The United Nations confirms climate-related disasters have been declining this century.
As shown in previous Climate Realism posts, here, here, and here, for example, research shows most small island nations, including the Maldives, and many parts of the American coastline are adding land mass and population rather than losing them to rising seas and emigration.
And for refugees to be fleeing Guatemala and El Salvador due to failing crops, crops actually have to be failing, which they aren’t. Instead yields have been increasing in both countries over the past few decades.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) provides detailed data on crop production in Guatemala and throughout the world. According to UNFAO data, charted below by the website The Global Economy, Guatemalan crop yields have been consistently improving throughout the past 50 years as the Earth modestly warms.
Figure 1: Guatemala cereal crop yields per acre by year. Source: The Global Economy, reporting data supplied by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
As you can see in the chart below, El Salvador is enjoying similarly increasing crop yields as the earth modestly warms.
Figure 2: El Salvador cereal crop yields per acre by year. Source: The Global Economy, reporting data supplied by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
In the end, IDP’s article adds to the frequent conduct of climate activists simply making things up in order to foment climate panic, and then repeating the lie over and over again until “everybody knows” it is true. Science, however, tells a different story about climate change and alleged refugees.