Coming in 2020: 50 Million Environmental Refugees

“In 2020, the UN has projected that we will have 50 million environmental refugees,”declared of California, Los Angeles professor Cristina Tirado at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). “When people are not living in sustainable conditions, they migrate,” she continued.


In 2001 Norman Myers of Oxford University called environmental refugees as a “new phenomenon.” Myers described them as “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with the associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty.” Myers added, “In their desperation, these people feel they have no alternative but to seek sanctuary elsewhere, however hazardous the attempt.”

Given the projected amount of environmental refugees, the world does not have time to wait for a “bluer” U.S. congress to enact climate change legislation. However, there may be ways to combat climate change without the U.S. putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing black carbon (soot) and ozone levels “will slow the rate of climate change in the first half of the 21st century,” according to a new report released in Nairobi Kenya by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.

Black carbon is released from fires and diesel vehicles. Cook stoves are used in the developing world that burn wood, charcoal or kerosene. Ozone is a gas created when chemicals (including methane and carbon monoxide) are warmed by the sun. Both black carbon and ozone contribute to climate change. Replacing diesel generators and cook stoves with cleaner models would reduce black carbon levels. Reducing methane levels would help reduce ozone.

The United Nations Environment Program’s report concludes that a “small number of emission reduction measures targeting black carbon and ozone precursors could immediately begin to protect climate, public health, water and food security, and ecosystems.”

“This assessment describes a critical opportunity for the world that is completely within our reach,” Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development in Washington, said about the report.

“Even without considering the profound climate benefits,” he said, “the benefits for health and agriculture alone justify fast and aggressive action.”


Photo by: abizek


William C
William C1 years ago


W. C
W. C1 years ago

Thank you for the news.

Philip W.
Philip W.8 years ago

Please people, don't buy into this, I beg you, or at least look from another angle :-) In 2005, the UN claimed 50 million refugees by never happened! "Natural Disasters" happen all the time, however, increasing media coverage makes them seem more frequent.

Now its supposed to be 2020 for 50 million refugees...

Global warming? No. We have actually been cooling slightly since 2002 through RSS/UAH datsets, which due to complete scanning of the globe, cover much more of it!

This is a Major Issue, how many years does the Earth have to cool before we realize its not warming?

Wr R.
Wr R.8 years ago

So is this another 50 million refugees or the same ones the UN said we'd have by 2010 back in 2005? The first 50 million never showed up, and I'm not cleaning my place up again if the next 50 million aren't going to show either...

Or will the UN try to cover up this botched "prediction" when 2022 rolls around?

Manuela B.
Manuela B8 years ago

bugga! and I just bought a diesel car thinking I was doing the right thing....Earth is in soooo much trouble.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G8 years ago


Eternal Gardener
Eternal G8 years ago

WAKE UP AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS, don't leave it to someone or something else!

Alicia T.
Alicia todd8 years ago

We can still do something and we MUST

Caroline L.
Caroline L8 years ago

This is so sad. It basically means that a lot of people are going to die... and I mean a LOT. If sustainable areas reduce too much there won't be enough sustenance anywhere for millions of people. Most continents are over populated today. Imagine the future where aerable land and water is this scarce? Scary.

Joy Mcronald
Joy M8 years ago

Oh no!! God help this world...