Floods and storms have displaced millions of people living in Southeast Asia in recent years. And people in port cities, coastal communities and river deltas will continue to be the first affected as climate change creates a refugee crisis the globe will be forced to address. “We are not going to prevent climate change,” says Anthony Grayling, professor of philosophy at Northeastern University London. “What we have to do is find ways now of thinking about how to cope with it. It’s a question of mitigation, not prevention.” Climate change will create a refugee crisis in a matter of decades, Grayling says. In his opinion, now is the time to think about worst-case scenarios and how to manage them.
The World Bank estimates that by 2050 climate change will uproot 216 million people. The Institute for Economics and Peace approximates that during the same period about 1.2 billion people could be displaced because of natural disasters.
Grayling recently moderated a conversation titled, “The Impact of Climate Change on the Refugee Crisis.” The discussion included Gordana Rabrenovic, associate professor of sociology and director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern, and Rosalind C. Morris, professor of anthropology at Columbia University.