Monday, October 09, 2006

Should Australia be worried about climate refugees?

A new study sponsored by a group of NGOs in collaboration with CSIRO - the Australian science agency - states that Australia should prepare for the regional economic and national security fallout from climate change. A primary concern is providing refuge the possibility of hundreds of thousands or millions of "environmental refugees" from low-lying countries in south Asia and the Pacific. Unlike Australia, New Zealand has already reached agreement with Kiribati, Tuvalu and other Pacific nations to accept people displaced by environmental degradation or climate change. Here's the transcript of a short ABC (the other ABC) interview with one of the study authors.

I've not been able to locate a copy of the study (Australia Responds: Helping Our Neighbours Fight Climate Change) itself - if you find one, let me know.

Australia joined the US as a pariah in the eyes of advocates for international action on climate change when, under PM John Howard, it chose not to sign the Kyoto Protocol. The irony is that Australia had negotiated the right to increase GHG emissions by 8% over 1990 levels (by 2008-2012) under the Kyoto Protocol, and may actually be on pace to meet that commitment despite not signing the agreement.

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