Trump and the coming climate refugee crisis


Click on this for a larger version of the map.

Donald Trump, along with many other Americans, is reluctant to admit refugees from foreign wars.   In Europe, there’s a backlash against admitting refugees.

Of course there might be fewer refugees if the United States and other governments hadn’t destroyed or tried to destroy functioning governments in Iraq, Libya and Syria.   A decade ago, Syria was a country that took in refugees, not a country from which refugees fled.

But within the next 10 years or so, the number of war refugees might be overtaken by the number of climate refugees—families fleeing drought, floods and hurricanes caused by global warming.

Think of the people fleeing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, or people fleeing the Dust Bowl region in the 1980s.   Think of the crisis in Germany over hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and other war-torn countries in the Middle East.

Now imagine this on a global scale and magnified 10-fold or 100-fold.

Most of the world’s governments, including the USA and China, have been slow to respond to the need to slow down climate change.  But President-elect Donald Trump is committed to policies that will actively make things worse!

Unless something important changes, a global climate refugee crisis is inevitable.

I can’t predict when the climate refugee crisis will hit—whether during the Trump administration or later.

I can predict that when it does, the United States will be the world’s scapegoat for everything bad that happens.

We Americans will deserve the blame for a lot of  it.  We will get the blame for all of it.

Middle East refugees are not necessarily grateful to be allowed into European countries because many of them blame Western interventions for the fact that they are refugees in the first place.

I think climate refugees will feel exactly the same way.  They will not be grateful to be admitted.  They will blame the Western industrial countries for creating the problem in the first place.


Donald Trump’s announced intention is withdraw from all international agreements concerning greenhouse gasses and climate change, stop contributions to United Nations programs on climate change and rescind President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Trump has promised to suspend regulations limiting coal, oil and gas production on public lands.  He wants to revive the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Donald Trump does not believe that human-made global warming is real.  His choices to head the Departments of Energy, Interior, Justice and Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency are all climate change skeptics.

In this, as in other things, it is not as if everything was all right previously and now will suddenly turn bad because Donald Trump is in office.   It is not as if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton were climate change warriors.

Source: LA Times

Source: LA Times

Obama and Clinton, supported hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and offshore drilling for oil as part of an “all of the above” energy strategy that, however, also included subsidies for solar power and nuclear power.

Unlike Trump, Obama and Clinton were committed to a phase-out of coal mining.  In terms of human health, worker safety, the environment and global climate change, coal is the worst energy source.

Donald Trump has pledged to revive the coal mining industry.  Sadly or not, reviving the coal industry is incompatible with his plan to lift restrictions on the natural gas and oil industries.  As Michael Klare wrote, why dig for coal when natural gas is cleaner and cheaper?


Climate Change in the Age of Trump: A ‘Humanitarian Crisis of Epic Proportions’ by Gaius Publius for Down With Tyranny!

The Coming Climate Refugee Crisis by Richard Matthews for The GREEN MARKET ORACLE.

Serious Changes Possible for National Security Policies on Climate Change by Dave Levitan for Scientific American.

United Against Trump Threat, World Vows to Push Ahead on Climate Action by Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams.

Trump’s Carbon-Obsessed Energy Policy and the Planetary Nightmare to Come by Michael T. Klare for TomDispatch.

Climate change denial in the Trump cabinet: where do his nominees stand? by Mazin Sidahmed for The Guardian.

Trump’s transition: skeptics guide every agency dealing with climate change by Oliver Milman for The Guardian.

Trump to scrap NASA climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’ by Oliver Milman for The Guardian.

2016 Is About to Become the Hottest Year on Record by Andrea Thompson for Alternet.

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One Response to “Trump and the coming climate refugee crisis”

  1. John Pennington Says:

    Climate change will make every other concern seem minor.


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