Sunday, July 31, 2022




The only way in which mankind can bring about a social change and build a fraternal society, free of war, is to establish socialism. This will not come about as an expression of non-violence but as the conscious act of a socialist-minded working-class. Our position is that we are against every war and both sides of every war. Wars are struggles between capitalist interests; no army fights for the interests of any working class. Only in a truly socialist world-wide society will war disappear, because while the capitalist world social order lasts, the roots of war remain. So the only way to lasting peace is through a new world —without money, armaments, classes, or nations. There is no need for war, just as there is no natural need for poverty or mass starvation or housing shortages or hospital waiting lists. It is because society is organised to provide profits for the few rather than satisfaction for the many that these problems face us. 

Ukrainian troops are not fighting to defend Peace, Democracy, Liberty or any other high-sounding ideal. The present conflict is represented in certain quarters as one between “freedom” and ‘‘tyranny” and for the rights of a smaller nation for self-determination. . No one should be misled by their fine words and airy phrases about democracy. Whether they nakedly expose their own profit-seeking interests or whether for reasons of tactics and expediency they mask them in phrases about democracy and it is the same cynical capitalist interest that guides them. We are told that this is a war in defence of peace against aggression and that therefore all defenders of peace and collective security should support it. There never was a bigger lie. This war is a fight between imperialist powers over world domination. This war is not a war for democracy against an oligarchy. It is not a war for the liberty of a small nation.

The Russian invasion is just an aspect of the conflict between Western imperialism and Russian imperialism for control of  Eastern Europe. Not an issue in which the Socialist Party take sides. Whichever side prevails the poor people of the region will lose as the war is basically over who is going to govern and exploit them. The answer to capitalist intrigue and power-politics is not to be found in supporting one capitalist group against another. The task before us is still that of winning over the working class to socialism. 

The way to prevent war is not by engaging in anti-war campaigns. These are quite useless because they leave the causes of war untouched. The only preventative is to take away the urge to war; take away the profit motive. While private ownership of the means of existence remains, the making of profit is the object of the private owners. Abolish private ownership and substitute for it common ownership in the means of production and the profit motive disappears, taking with it the seeds of war. Socialism is the only means to defeat the warmongers.

The working class has only to say “stop” and the entire present. system of society will cease to be. We have only to take the means of wealth production and distribution into the common ownership and democratic control of the whole community to put an end to the need for fighting over markets and resources and frontiers. We need only withdraw our consent to capitalism, in a majority, to set in motion the revolution. The truth is that capitalism is triumphant everywhere because the working class are blind to their own class position, and is still persuaded that they have an interest in leaving power in capitalist hands. It is only a degree worse that in some countries large numbers of workers go further on the road of stupid servility, and help to place power in the hands of Fascist demagogues. The only people who can end this are the workers themselves. When they sicken of Fascism they will be well on the road to destroying it, but it can only be done from within the country concerned. It is the duty of each national section of the working class to struggle against their own capitalist masters, aided to the extent that is possible by the international movement. 

The Mediterranean Crossing

 British attention has been solely concentrated on the small boats crossing the English Channel but every year, thousands of migrants and refugees depart from Libya, attempting to reach Europe in unseaworthy vessels. Last year, Frontex detections of what it calls “illegal border crossings” were at their highest since 2017, and attempts from January to May this year were 15 percent higher than during the same period in 2021, with the journeys across the Mediterranean becoming increasingly fatal, and around half being intercepted by authorities who return the refugees and migrants to Libya.

Ina Fischer, the spokesperson for Alarm Phone, said, “In our opinion - and we have years of experience with them - [Rescue Coordination Centre] RCC Malta and the Armed Forces of Malta are doing all to prevent rescue operations and arrivals in Malta, backed up by the government.

In January 2022, the Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council for Europe also expressed concern about the “reported deterioration in Malta’s approach to search and rescue in recent years” and the “numerous reports of delays and non-response by its Rescue Coordination Centre to distress calls ” as well as “instructions given to commercial ships to return migrants to Libya”.

For many of the survivors on board the ship, being returned to Libya is a fate worse than death. “Whatever happens to me, even if we die, we don’t want to go back to Libya,” explained an unaccompanied minor from Eritrea. “We would prefer to drown at sea.”

 ‘Ready for rescue’: Saving refugee lives in the Mediterranean Sea | Refugees | Al Jazeera

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Cost of Living Crisis

 Figures, published by Citizens Advice, reveals the difficulties caused by spiralling domestic energy costs, which charities say are driving millions into fuel poverty.

The number of people seeking help because they cannot afford both food and energy has risen more than threefold in a year, according to new data.

The cap on average household gas and electricity bills in the UK – set by energy regulator Ofgem – is likely to soar in October from £1,971 to £3,500, according to forecasts issued last week. But the new data shows that the number of people struggling to eat and pay for energy has already surged, even before the new cap kicks in.

Given the predicted increase in the energy price cap, the National Energy Action (NEA) charity has added half a million households to its estimate of those facing fuel poverty – defined as spending more than 10% of income on energy. The charity, which advises people on how to manage energy bills, now predicts that 8.7m households, more than one in three in the UK, will find themselves in fuel poverty once the next price cap comes into effect in October.

NEA said the choice between food and energy isn’t the only one forced by poverty. “Some people are choosing between food and vital medical equipment like oxygen machines,” said Peter Smith, the NEA’s director of policy and advocacy.

Morgan Wild, head of policy at Citizens Advice, said the numbers were “truly shocking”. 

“That’s people who literally can’t afford to either keep their lights on or put food on the table,” he said.

Data from Citizens Advice also underscores how the cost of living crisis is disproportionately affecting particular groups of people, including those with disabilities or long-term health conditions. But the cost of living overtook all other issues combined for the first time in January 2021 and has since moved far ahead for disabled people, in contrast with the rest of the population. The data also showed higher-than-average referrals to food banks among single people and those in social housing. Referrals among single people, including those while children, have risen much faster than among couples, while there was also a pronounced rise among social tenants.

Citizens Advice pointed out that projections of monthly energy bills of £500 in January mean the cost of heating and electricity could overtake the average £420 spent on social rent in London for the first time.

Food and fuel poverty has more than tripled in a year, says Citizens Advice | UK cost of living crisis | The Guardian

Hothouse Earth


Bill McGuire is emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London and his latest book, Hothouse Earth, makes for depressing pessimistic reading.

He makes clear an uncompromising depiction of the coming climatic catastrophe, that for far too long we have ignored the explicit warnings that rising carbon emissions are dangerously heating the Earth. Now we are going to pay the price for our complacence in the form of storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves that will easily surpass current extremes.

He argues that there is now no chance of us avoiding a perilous, all-pervasive climate breakdown and that we have passed the point of no return and can expect a future in which lethal heatwaves and temperatures in excess of 50C (120F) are common in the tropics; where summers at temperate latitudes will invariably be baking hot, and where our oceans are destined to become warm and acidic. 

“A child born in 2020 will face a far more hostile world that its grandparents did,” McGuire explains.

McGuire, a volcanologist and  a member of the UK government’s Natural Hazard Working Group, takes an outlier position. Most other climate experts still maintain we have time left, although not very much, to bring about meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. A rapid drive to net zero and the halting of global warming is still within our grasp, they say.

Such claims are dismissed by McGuire. 

At the Cop26 climate meeting in Glasgow last year, it was agreed that every effort should be made to try to limit that rise to 1.5C, although to achieve such a goal, it was calculated that global carbon emissions will have to be reduced by 45% by 2030.

“In the real world, that is not going to happen,” says McGuire. “Instead, we are on course for close to a 14% rise in emissions by that date – which will almost certainly see us shatter the 1.5C guardrail in less than a decade.”

“I know a lot of people working in climate science who say one thing in public but a very different thing in private. In confidence, they are all much more scared about the future we face, but they won’t admit that in public. I call this climate appeasement and I believe it only makes things worse. The world needs to know how bad things are going to get before we can hope to start to tackle the crisis.” He goes on to point out, “Just look at what is happening already to a world which has only heated up by just over one degree,” says McGuire. “It turns out the climate is changing for the worse far quicker than predicted by early climate models. That’s something that was never expected.”

Wildfires of unprecedented intensity and ferocity have also swept across Europe, North America and Australia this year, while record rainfall in the midwest led to the devastating flooding in the US’s Yellowstone national park and Kentucky. “And as we head further into 2022, it is already a different world out there,” he adds. “Soon it will be unrecognisable to every one of us.”

These changes underline one of the most startling aspects of climate breakdown: the speed with which global average temperature rises translate into extreme weather.

We should be in no doubt about the consequences. Anything above 1.5C will see a world plagued by intense summer heat, extreme drought, devastating floods, reduced crop yields, rapidly melting ice sheets and surging sea levels. A rise of 2C and above will seriously threaten the stability of global society, McGuire argues. It should also be noted that according to the most hopeful estimates of emission cut pledges made at Cop26, the world is on course to heat up by between 2.4C and 3C. From this perspective, it is clear we can do little to avoid the coming climate breakdown. Instead, we need to adapt to the hothouse world that lies ahead and  start taking action to try to stop a bleak situation deteriorating even further, McGuire says.

Heatwaves will become more frequent, get hotter and last longer. Huge numbers of modern, tiny, poorly insulated UK homes will become heat traps, responsible for thousands of deaths every summer by 2050.

“Despite repeated warnings, hundreds of thousands of these inappropriate homes continue to be built every year,” adds McGuire.

McGuire stresses that if carbon emissions can be cut substantially in the near future, and if we start to adapt to a much hotter world today, a truly calamitous and unsustainable future can be avoided. The days ahead will be grimmer, but not disastrous. We may not be able to give climate breakdown the slip but we can head off further instalments that would appear as a climate cataclysm bad enough to threaten the very survival of human civilisation.

McGuire blames a “conspiracy of ignorance, inertia, poor governance, and obfuscation and lies by climate change deniers that has ensured that we have sleepwalked to within less than half a degree of the dangerous 1.5C climate change.

Sadly, in this blog's view, McGuire fails to identify the chief culprit - capitalism - as the motivating force for inaction.

‘Soon it will be unrecognisable’: total climate meltdown cannot be stopped, says expert | Climate crisis | The Guardian

A world without war


Should we be prepared to fight to preserve Ukrainian independence? The fact that at least a large minority of the workers in that country were themselves so dissatisfied and given over to nationalist sentiment. Instead of being united to maintain Ukraine as it was, they were anxious to set up autonomous regions or to join Russia. Semi-fascist movements and tendencies were also  making big headway in Ukraine. Going to war to force Russian  capitalism to keep out of Ukraine, and to force many unwilling populations to remain in, is not work for socialists. It is to play the part of tools of rival imperialisms. “National defence,” “national independence,” “protection of national interests” are phrases used by capitalists to set the workers against each other in the interests solely of the national groups of capitalists.

To know how war is to end it is necessary to know how wars begin. Cause and cure go hand in hand. You can’t humanise war. If you could it would not be war. While we have wars we must have inhumanity. And we must have wars until socialism. The only power that can stand between the people and the inhumanity of war is the organised working class of the world. The main fact is that wars are a product of the clashing economic interest of various property owners in different parts of the world who struggle for markets, trade routes, sources of supply of raw materials, and so forth. While private property with its clashing sectional interest remains war in all its barbarity and will always cast its dark shadow,

Capitalism is a war-prone society. An armed truce that is all “peace” can amount to under capitalism will always be broken from time to time, as on this occasion, by the destruction and slaughter of real war. To end war capitalism must be ended. Capitalism is a system in that built-in to it is perpetual conflict between rival states over markets, raw material sources, trade routes and investment outlets, for the profit-seeking capitalist corporations they exist to protect. You can’t have capitalism without wars, the threat of war and preparations for war. War isn’t some sort of exceptional aberration for capitalism. Just as recession is an unavoidable part of the economics of capitalism so war is a normal consequence of the international political tensions inherent within capitalism. 

When all the avenues of trickery, double-dealing, or “diplomacy,” have failed to bring about a satisfactory division of the spoils, one side or the other plays its trump card—armed force—and the workers are called on to lay down their lives in the interests of their respective masters. capitalist powers stand little chance of waging war successfully without the support of practically the whole population ; for, apart from the huge armies engaged in the actual fighting, the arms and munitions have to be produced and transported, and the troops fed and clothed; smooth working is therefore essential. This necessary support is forthcoming only because the workers do not realise their slave position, but believe they have interests in common with the capitalists; this belief being assiduously fostered by the whole of the press and the professional politicians.

The Socialist Party’s attitude is clear and definite. Those who do not own the country cannot have it taken from them, and even a complete victory by one capitalist power over another, resulting in the complete subjugation of the vanquished state, would not benefit the workers of the victorious country, and would only mean a change of masters for the workers in the defeated country.

Capitalists live solely and entirely upon the robbery of the working class.. The working class will organise itself to expropriate those who live parasitically upon it. It will link itself with the workers of every country, to achieve this internationally, when the workers understand their class-interests. We must unite to establish a world community without frontiers where all the resources of the planet would be at the disposal of all the people of the planet. Then we could use them to end world poverty, hunger and preventable disease once and for all and rapidly move towards applying the principle “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”, ensuring that no man, woman or child anywhere on Earth goes without adequate food, healthcare, housing or other amenities.

Let us urge you not to waste your time with futile anti-war movements, but to join with us in working for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, confident that the ending of the system will end the danger of war.

Brasil's Squatter Movement

 A 22-storey high-rise is about to be transformed into social housing for the families who have squatted in it over the last few years. Previously a textile factory, it had been abandoned for more than a decade when it was occupied in 2002.

“It’s wonderful; it’s a big win,” Cleber, who did not provide a last name, tells Al Jazeera. “I came here four or five years ago. It was really good to live here, with the opportunities it brought us. There is really no other alternative.”

Sao Paulo is the de facto financial capital of Brazil, known for its lush architecture, upscale restaurants and exclusive neighbourhoods. But another part of town, hidden in plain sight, reflects the city’s deep housing crisis, along with the systemic racism and social inequality that plague this region. As Latin America’s biggest city, Sao Paulo has failed for decades to solve its severe housing crisis. More than 1.2 million people are in need of adequate housing and, according to figures on the rate of construction provided to Al Jazeera by the city council in 2018, it would take 200 years to have enough social housing for everyone in need. In the last four years, the number of people living in the streets of Sao Paulo has doubled, from 15,000 to more than 31,000, according to figures provided to Al Jazeera by the city council.

Sao Paulo is the most unequal city in Brazil with regards to access to employment close to home, according to a recent study by the Institute of Applied Economic Research. “The richer and white population, on average, has more access to opportunities than the poor, Black population,” the study notes, citing an inequitable distribution of transport networks, infrastructure and urban development.

 Thousands of people have organised into squatting movements, taking matters into their own hands by occupying dozens of buildings across the city. The Movement for Housing in the Fight for Justice (MMLJ), under the umbrella of a larger group called the Pro-Housing Front (FLM), says it oversees 35 occupations in Sao Paulo that house approximately 4,500 families.

“The lack of social housing options in the centre of the city is the proof of oblivion: that we are a minority, and they don’t care about us”

“Unfortunately, we live in a country with an enslaver mentality, in which Black, poor, northeastern … people remain slaves of a low salary that doesn’t allow them to buy a house, feed themselves, guarantee a dignified life for their family.”

The current minimum wage of 1,212 Brazilian reals ($233) is not enough to cover the costs of living in the city. The average monthly rent in central Sao Paulo has steadily risen over the years, now standing at about 3,500 reals ($665). At the occupied building each family unit pays 220 reals ($41) a month to cover administrative costs.

The aim of such occupation movements is to present evidence to the city council that a building meets the criteria for conversion to social housing. If approved, the state can then finance renovations. 

Occupy to survive: Brazilians squat to fight for housing rights | Homelessness | Al Jazeera

Oil Profits

 The US’s biggest oil companies pumped out record profits over the last few months as Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities.

ExxonMobil reported an unprecedented $17.85bn (£14.77bn) profit for the second quarter, nearly four times as much as the same period a year ago.

 Chevron made a record $11.62bn (£9.61bn). 

The sky-high profits were announced one day after the UK’s Shell shattered its own profit record of $11.4bn (nearly £10bn) for the three-month period from April to June.

The record profits came after similarly outsized gains in the first quarter when the largest oil companies made close to $100bn in profits.

High energy prices are one of the leading factors driving inflation to a four-decade high in the US. Gas prices have fallen slightly in recent weeks but are now averaging $4.25 a gallon across the US, more than $1 a gallon higher than a year ago. Soaring energy prices are driving up the cost of everything from apples to toilet paper.

Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, increased its oil and gas production as crude prices hovered above $100 a barrel. Revenue at Exxon soared to $115.68bn, up from $67.74bn during the same quarter last year.

Shareholders reaped the benefits of high energy prices during the quarter. Since the start of 2022, Exxon and Chevron shares have risen close to 46% and 26%, respectively.

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of Britain’s Trades Union Congress, called the “eye-watering profits” “an insult to the millions of working people struggling to get by because of soaring energy bills.

“Working people are facing the longest and harshest wage squeeze in modern history. It’s time working people got their fair share of the wealth they create, starting with real action to bring bills down,” said O’Grady.

Oil company profits boom as Americans reel from high fuel prices | Oil and gas companies | The Guardian

Friday, July 29, 2022

Ukraine. Just another war


Members of the working class are taught in schools from a very early age that the country they were born in is somehow special. We wave flags and sing patriotic songsThe owning class suffer from no such xenophobia. They are prepared to exploit workers of any nationality, creed or so-called race. To them, profit is much more important than patriotism. The Socialist Party is often pilloried because we look at the world from a class perspective. History shows that in times of war, working-class interests are never served by workers offering their support to nationalist political leaders of capitalism. The slaughter in Ukraine underlines yet again the urgent need to work for a world without nations and nationalism, without bosses and generals

 There is nothing natural about war. Modern war is inherently antithetical to the interests of the working class, involving, as it does, disruption to the complex and integrated system of production we depend on for our existence, and necessitating the imposition of the tyrannous political structures needed to govern a society in a period of total war. What is the “independence” the Ukrainians yearn after, if it means being trapped within borders – artificial constructs, no, prisons – inside of the bigger prison of capitalism? 

It’s understandable that the conflict in Ukraine should command such worldwide attention as genuine suffering is being incurred by innocent people. The World Socialist Movement is sickened  by the death and destruction caused by the Russian invasion. We condemn and denounce the senseless killing of our fellow workers. But, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the war in Ukraine is just one of a number of wars taking place around the world. The war in Ukraine isn’t an exception or an aberration but another unavoidable part of the economics of capitalism. The war war is a normal consequence of the international political tensions inherent within capitalism run by a ruling class comprising of dictators, oligarchs and gangsters. Each of whom funds governments to best protect its interests. The world owned by a small global minority and is divided up between them.  Working people are left to toil in their factories and die in their armies. 

Workers have no country. Without the ideology of nationalism, capitalist states would be unstable since, being based on minority class rule, they need a minimum allegiance from those they rule over. Nationalism serves to achieve this by teaching the ruled to be loyal to “their” so-called “nation-state”. Nationalism is based on the lie that workers have their own country; that the British have an obligation to Britain and likewise with the workers of Russia and Ukraine. Workers who do not own nor control have no obligation to the bosses who do own and control it. Our sole interest is in co-operating with our fellow workers across the world who similarly have no country. Why should we die defending what is not ours and which we will never benefit from? On the contrary, our objective is to obtain what is not now the possession of our class – the earth and its natural and industrial resources. The only war that need concern us is the class war between the parasites who possess and the workers who produce the wealth of the planetOur war is waged on the battlefield of ideas for the hearts and minds of the world’s people. Socialism will allow humanity to co-exist in peace. We are not born with a desire to kill people who speak a different language. Peaceful cooperation is possible for human beings.

The Socialist Party has been consistent in its opposition to nationalism, in the belief that nationalism is a killer epidemic, creating conflict from which those with the least to gain have the most to lose. Whatever cause and victory the misinformed defenders of nationhood believe they are fighting for, it pales into insignificance when compared to the real war that needs to be waged against an elite who perpetuate the myth of nationhood for their own ends and always to our detriment.  there is more that unites Ukrainians and Russian than can ever divide them. Their real needs—needs people the world over identify with—can only ever be fulfilled in a world devoid of borders or frontiers. We can only hope it is not too long before they come to realise this.

Class consciousness was never more needed than now. Today mankind is under a dark shadow without precedent. The working people of the world have it in their hands to end poverty, fear, hatred and war. Nationalism is not their interest but their rulers. To free ourselves from the depredations of capitalism we need the World Commonwealth

Palestinian Authority Repression of Palestinians

 The Palestinian Authority (PA) is carrying out one of the largest political arrest campaigns in years against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, with at least 94 people arrested over the past two months.

Those arrested include university students and journalists, with at least 20 still in detention, according to the Ramallah-based Lawyers for Justice group. None were charged with any offences, and most were released after 10 days in prison.

Palestinian Authority arrest campaign ‘one of the worst in years’ | Palestinian Authority News | Al Jazeera

Poland's Double-Standards on Refugees

 The United Nations Special Rapporteur on migrants’ rights has said Polish authorities must stop locking up migrants near the Belarus border and put an end to the “very different” treatment of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian refugees.

Felipe Gonzalez Morales praised the actions of Polish authorities and citizens who have given protection and assistance to more than two million Ukrainian refugees and lodged them in their homes since the start of Russia’s invasion in February. But non-Ukrainian nationals fleeing that country have faced difficulties obtaining residence permits and proper shelter and have not enjoyed the same legal protections, he said.

Some people fleeing the war have been from third countries, often in the Middle East, Asia or Africa, who had been studying or working in Ukraine at the time of the invasion.

“I note with concern that this double standard approach has led to feelings of being discriminated among third-country nationals,” Morales said.

As well as the fallout from the war in Ukraine, Poland has faced attempts by tens of thousands of migrants and refugees since mid-2021 to cross its border with Belarus and enter the European Union.

Poland to set up an emergency zone, build a steel border barrier and introduce a campaign of pushbacks. Meanwhile, estimates suggested at least 20 migrants and refugees have died in the area’s freezing forests and bogs. Morales said these migrants and refugees, many of whom are from the Middle East and Afghanistan, were “routinely” being locked up in de facto detention centres in Poland near the border, including children, in violation of international humanitarian law.

End ‘double standards’ on refugees, UN expert urges Poland | Migration News | Al Jazeera

Shaking hands with a murderer


Following Biden's friendly overtures to  Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), France's President Macron warmly greets the man responsible for the assassination of a journalist as well as the instigator of bombings in Yemen. 

The fiancee of the late Khashoggi expressed outrage at the visit. "I am scandalised and outraged that Emmanuel Macron is receiving with all the honours the executioner of my fiancee, Jamal Khashoggi," Hatice Cengiz said.

"I feel profoundly troubled by the visit, because of what it means for our world and what it means for Jamal (Khashoggi) and people like him," Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard explained, describing MBS as a man who "does not tolerate any dissent...The visit by MBS to France and Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia do not change the fact that MBS is anything other than a killer," said Callamard, who at the time of the killing was the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and led the independent probe.

Saudi Arabia is seen by many in the West as an essential partner due to its energy resources, purchases of weaponry and staunch opposition to Iran's theocratic regime. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has made the oil and gas reserves of the kingdom all the more important for the West.

Callamard expressed concern that "values were being obliterated in the face of concern about the rising price of oil".

Camille Lons, a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), said that the war in Ukraine has put "energy-producing countries back in the spotlight, and they are taking advantage of it. This gives them political leverage that they will use to reassert their importance on the international stage"

Climate Refugees Ignored

 Worsening climate largely from the burning of coal and gas is uprooting millions of people, with wildfires overrunning towns in California, rising seas overtaking island nations and drought exacerbating conflicts in various parts of the world. The world has yet to officially recognize climate migrants or come up with formalized ways to assess their needs and help them. An increasing number of countries are laying the groundwork to become safe havens for climate migrants. In May, Argentina created a special humanitarian visa for people from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean displaced by natural disasters to let them stay for three years.

Each year, natural disasters force an average of 21.5 million people from their homes around the world, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. And scientists predict migration will grow as the planet gets hotter. Over the next 30 years, 143 million people are likely to be uprooted by rising seas, drought, searing temperatures and other climate catastrophes, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published this year.

Most climate migrants move within the borders of their homelands, usually from rural areas to cities after losing their homes or livelihood because of drought, rising seas or other weather calamities. Because cities also are facing their own climate-related problems, including soaring temperatures and water scarcity, people are increasingly being forced to flee across international borders to seek refuge. Yet climate migrants are not afforded refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which provides legal protection only to people fleeing persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or particular social group. While no nation offers asylum to climate migrants, UNHCR published legal guidance in October 2020 that opens the door for offering protection to people displaced by the effects of global warming. It said that climate change should be taken into consideration in certain scenarios when it intersects with violence, though it stopped short of redefining the 1951 Refugee Convention. The commission acknowledged that temporary protection may be insufficient if a country cannot remedy the situation from natural disasters, such as rising seas, suggesting that certain climate displaced people could be eligible for resettlement if their place of origin is considered uninhabitable.

While worsening weather conditions are exacerbating poverty, crime and political instability, and fueling tensions over dwindling resources from Africa to Latin America, often climate change is overlooked as a contributing factor to people fleeing their homelands. According to the UNHCR, 90% of refugees under its mandate are from countries “on the front lines of the climate emergency.”

In El Salvador, for example, scores each year leave villages because of crop failure from drought or flooding, and end up in cities where they become victims of gang violence and ultimately flee their countries because of those attacks. 

Honduras is among 11 countries identified as being of greatest concern in the U.S. government’s first assessment by intelligence agencies on the impact of climate change and its vast rippling effects on the world’s stability that was released last year. 

Policy debates on migration have long centered on locking down borders. Climate change is changing that. With hundreds of millions of people expected to be uprooted by natural disasters, there is growing discussion about how to manage migration flows rather than stop them, as for many people migration will become a survival tool, according to advocates.

“One problem is just the complete lack of understanding as to how climate is forcing people to move,” said Amali Tower, founder and executive director of Climate Refugees, an advocacy group focused on raising awareness about people displaced because of climate change. “There is still this idea in the Global North (industrialized nations) that people come here because they are fleeing poverty and seeking a better life, the American Dream. In Europe, it’s the same spin of the same story. But no one wants to leave their home. We’ve got to approach climate displacement as a human security issue and not a border security issue.”

Climate migration growing but not fully recognized by world | AP News