Climate Now a Factor in Resettlement

I note today’s reports that the Immigration and Protection Tribunal has granted residency to a Tuvaluan family with climate change being included as one of the considerations.

The Green Party welcomes any decision that goes towards recognising that climate change is a real issue for people living in the Pacific Islands.  Their livelihoods, and indeed their lives, are being dramatically altered because of effects of the changing climate, especially extreme weather and sea-level rise.

This problem is not going away; in fact it is set to get bigger.  The International Migration Organisation states that, in 2008, 20 million people have been dislocated by extreme weather events, compared to the 4.6 million displaced internally by conflict and violence.  Every country needs to start acting now to figure out how to deal with climate change – both mitigation and adaptation.

The National Government has done virtually nothing to reduce our carbon emissions.  It is essential that we do so or there will be disastrous consequences for everyone around the planet.  The Green Party believes that, at the domestic level, we need to specifically look into how New Zealand addresses the issue of people who become forcibly displaced by the climate.

As shown by the Tribunal’s decision, current international instruments, such as the Refugee Convention, are not designed to deal with people displaced by climate issues. There is an urgent need for the international community to look a new mechanisms or extending current mechanisms to deal with the issue.

New Zealand should be leading on this process on the international stage, because the problem is getting worse, on our Pacific neighbourhood.

@KennedyGraham

23 thoughts on “Climate Now a Factor in Resettlement

  1. And yet nothing has changed since Jan posed this question last year in a thread entitled Climate Change and Immigration – the time is now.

    As the previous thread pointed out, this could be a problem that affects possibly hundreds of millions of people.

    Kennedy rudely combines two points into one short paragraph:

    The National Government has done virtually nothing to reduce our carbon emissions. It is essential that we do so or there will be disastrous consequences for everyone around the planet.

    Yeah, well that is just bullshit. Or, just a poorly drafted construct. Lets assume the first part is true, as it probably is, but our emissions being under 1% of the problem will not make the difference between disastrous and not disastrous.

    The Green Party believes that, at the domestic level, we need to specifically look into how New Zealand addresses the issue of people who become forcibly displaced by the climate.

    Yes, we do. So I’ll repeat what I said last year, because it remains valid today:

    So the question is, is New Zealand expected to accept all of these “millions or even billions” of climatic refugees?

    If not, how many should we expect to accept?

    Given the climate change will (assuming the tall foreheads are right, and lets not debate that one again) end up killing us all, should we even accept any of these climatic refugees? Should we (collectively) just accept that this is the beginning of the end, and yes, as it is the end, people really are going to start dying, and before long, lots of them?

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  2. Surely the more pressing problem is the internal refugees that rising sea are going to create. Where will the locals from the sea side suburbs be placed?

    Don’t we need to solve the internal refugee problem first?

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  3. It’s a different scale of problem, and a politically very different problem, but yes, the coastal displaced will be an issue, and an issue soon.

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  4. We already know that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is in irreversible melt-down. That’s an extra 1.2 metres rise on top of what is currently projected. It’s likely that the rest of the Antarctic ice sheets will follow the same route. The longer we (industrial civilisation) prevaricate, the more likely it is that billions will be removed from the (human) population count of the planet. We already know that eventual sea rise of the order of metres is built in but because it always seems to be decades and centuries into the future, no-one cares.

    We live in interesting times.

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  5. DBuckley – Our refusal to do our share provides moral cover for others refusing to do theirs, and theirs provides cover for others and so-on. This isn’t some sort of “ignorable” effect. It is the “bystander” effect and it is well known.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect

    As it is, Sweden, much of the EU, and some other minor states ARE attempting to do “their share”. Everyone else is standing around waiting for someone else to step up and take some responsibility. Fat chance. We’re talking about politicians.

    So to an extent it definitely IS on our doorstep, and Australia’s doorstep and our actions can most definitely make it harder for others to maintain their own in-action.

    Flip side of that is that it is still FAR more likely that they will leave action FAR too late to be useful to many hundreds of millions of people.

    So we have an internal refugee problem coming, as Gerrit worries about, and that is going to be a matter of infrastructure, farming and housing in places that are high enough that the water won’t reach them.

    Plan on it going higher. Te Papa will have to be moved. We’ll need roads and rail that go through the hills.

    Yet that is strictly small beer to the more nasty problem of millions of people seeking refuge from places that have entirely disappeared under the sea.

    How many can NZ support? How many can we support if we are ourselves taking significant damage? What happens when this turns into an exercise in lifeboat ethics.

    We cannot fix everything, we cannot save everyone, we are just one small nation after all. Too many people showing up here can mean death for everyone here. What is the response? When we are in the lifeboat, there are a hundred swimmers and only space for 10 of them in the boat.

    Characterizing our current situation as interesting is nothing compared to the situation when those refugees show up and we have to say “we did this, so we have to take them in” or “no room” or “die”.

    That’s what we are leaving to our kids. I don’t think they are going to thank us if we leave them with a blood guilt for having caused some part of the problem as well.

    We’d better start preparing ourselves though. I know “adaptation” is a popular word with the government where it considers this… but there are no adaptive measures being taken at all.

    We ourselves are partially guilty of this, as we ignore the need for a less vulnerable route out of Wellington in our opposition to “Transmission Gully”. When it is all done, Wellington is still going to be some sort of port city. I have no idea what will be done with the Straits of Auckland.

    We aren’t even CLOSE to being ready.

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  6. Tony,

    …..the more likely it is that billions will be removed from the (human) population count of the planet.

    Perversely that is exactly the ecosystem event that needs to happen. Adding more consumers to a finite resourced planet is going to end up in tears, suffering and annihilation for those who miss the lifeboat.

    The human population needs to self destruct (and is making a very good job of doing just that) so that the remnants can restart in the new ecosystem left behind.

    Yes, we live in interesting times.

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  7. BJ, you’re arguing a moot point. What you say isn’t what what Kennedy said. Kennedy made a flat out incorrect statement. A statement nothing whatsoever to do with “our share”.

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  8. Tony notes, and Gerrit comments upon:

    the more likely it is that billions will be removed from the (human) population count of the planet

    I argue almost relentlessly that the root cause of our (as in, mankind) problems is overpopulation, mostly made possible by “cheap” access to “easy” energy.

    I have no problem with the population shrinking by numbers in the billions range. It is what needs to happen. This goes to the heart of sustainability.

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  9. Gerrit
    you say “The human population needs to self destruct (and is making a very good job of doing just that) so that the remnants can restart in the new ecosystem left behind.

    Yes, we live in interesting times.”

    In early modelling about these very resource issues the population needed to reduce by about a third or we needed to reduce resource wastage and usage by about a third. The population is turning back in many countries by choice and natural fertility drop. In the mid 70’s this policy was espoused and has some effect. It says to me it is worth trying to get people reducing their commodity usage. Putting the energy into this goal makes more sense than waiting and fighting off others for resources.

    The Green policy says exactly that, in that as part of a Government they would promote work based on sustainable technology – not hard but certainly leadership.
    I guess it becomes a positive choice over a wait and see one.

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  10. oldlux,

    Whilst the birthrate is dropping below the replacement level in developed countries, the rate is above replacement levels in poor countries. Those poorer countries are more likely to use new resources to maintain their populations.

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN

    Interesting that in the West Bank and Gaza the birthrate is 4.1 children per woman. mmmmmmmmmmm between firing rockets there is enough time for a bit of “hanky panky”, make more love not war might be the answer :-) provided birth control is utilised. Afghanistan women are not to bad at reproduction despite the war being fought there, average 5 children.

    The birthrate overall is declining but not a a rate to drop the population to any degree quickly enough to prevent climate change.

    Cant find a chart that measures how many children make it to adulthood. Mortality rate by age group be interesting in places like Niger, Afghanistan, Gaza, or places with above 6 children per woman like Uganda, Chad, Angola, Mali, Nigeria, Zambia.

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  11. As we have reached the peak of global food production and industrial output, population will be limited by declining food supply which may be coupled with disease and war..

    Facing this realism is more than what most can do.

    But there is little awareness of how our consumerism has damaged the long term future except in regard to climate change.

    Two billion survivors will not be able to exploit natural resources the way we do at present. The natural non renewable resources use has risen exponentially so present consumption is at an all time high with useable reserves shrinking faster than ever before. Less than one third of pre-industrial reserves are left.

    Per capita habitat losses will be compounded by sea level rise forcing diversion of capital and resources to relocation and new infrastructure including food supply. So there is little chance of taking the foot of the throttle regarding non renewable natural resources exploitation.

    We will not have an effective group response to coping with the population over shoot.

    An intelligent solution is not negotiable.

    Human suffering and massive loss is unavoidable but the longer we carry on this way the smaller the surviving human population can be.

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  12. Gerrit I read years ago that replacement levels increase when people’s support systems are stressed, ie. maybe a natural mechanism to ensure replacement, and the example of Gaza adds weight to that assertion.

    Another example of the need for an enlightened leadership that can move society away from growth of consumerism and focus instead on ecological and social sharing and harmony.

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  13. oldlux,

    Another example of the need for an enlightened leadership that can move society away from growth of consumerism and focus instead on ecological and social sharing and harmony.

    As long as that “enlightened” Leadeship is not by example!!

    When an opinion was voiced that the Greens lead by example,

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2014/07/28/deep-sea-oil-and-love-dont-mix/#comments

    The staccato of indignation was palpable.

    So I guess “enlightened” Green leadership does not equal Green MP’s leading by example!!

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  14. Gerrit as there are no absolutes as you try to assume in those posts, again I would bet on the Green leadership being more conscious of the need to organise around resource issues more than any other party on the hustings. The fact that the Green Party is on a continuing steady growth when the likes of Act and NZFirst fluctuate to near extinction is a clear mimic of the possibility for all society with the different choice of world views.

    Just saying someone is a poor leader doesn’t make it true – the test is time and performance.

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  15. Gerrit

    Just EXACTLY what do you expect the Greens to do? Please explain what they can do which WILL NOT PUT THEM AT A CRUSHING DISADVANTAGE COMPARED TO THE OTHER PARTIES, to set an example?

    I don’t think you’re going to come up with anything, but you still think its a good idea to rip at the party.

    At the same time we see people running down our signs (and the Maori Party signs) but not Labour or National with their trucks???

    What’s the example being set elsewhere?

    Why is it WE have to “lead by example”??? That’s what you do if you’re the CO of a ship or leading a platoon in the military… it is NOT appropriate to people advocating for the society to control its use of the commons… and it logically CANNOT be.

    You are being unreasonable. I am not amused.

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  16. BJ,

    If you lack “amusement” it’s your problem. I’m not here to tow the line just so you will be “amused”. Did that saying not die with Queen Victoria?

    Examples?

    Try some of these.

    A call for political parties to have transparent funding reporting functions whilst themselves hiding their fund raising from media scrutiny.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10068270/Greens-bar-media-from-fundraiser

    Yes I know what you are going to say, it was a “fun” fundraiser. But how do we know, no transparency. Leaders would have the transparency on display as an example of transparent fundrairing.

    Greens leadership is against crony “capitalism” such as the SkyCity offer to build a convention centre in exchange for more poker machines. But the Greens are quite happy to label the Blueskins Resilient Communities Trust as a “promising startup” to receive government funding. A trust chaired by Jeanette Fitzsimons and is in the area where one of the recipient of the proposed windfarm electricity is a castle dwelling Greens co-leader. Why would the Greens support a wind farm for Waitati (population 500) when it does not increase local jobs or stimulate innovative growth? Leadership by example would not have allowed this conflict of interest to occur. Or at least explain how a $5M investment in outback Otago was going to stimulate the local economy and grow jobs.

    Greens leadership travel (or at least Kevin Hague’s) is supposed to be carbon neutral by having Project Rameka transact a carbon offset at their Golden Bay property. However when we look at their Charitable Trust we find no mention of any transaction in regards any Greens travel offset from their 500 tons per annum carbon credits. Some leadership by example to publish the details of the carbon travel offset would be a creditable undertaking.

    If no other political party is showing leadership by example, is that a reason for the Greens not to??

    I would have thought that it would be a given to claim the moral high ground. Obviously not in your opinion.

    Gandhi and Mandala where widely acclaimed for showing leadership by example. Sadly by your logical standards that is not possible so they must not be leaders.

    Worried about signage? Jeez, seen the National defaced one (and no am not accusing the Greens of doing this one, not like the billboard vandalism 3 years ago by pseudo Greens) calling John Key a lying jew xxxxsucker.

    Both sides are guilty of vandalism. Shows the mentality of people on all sides of the political spectrum.

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  17. Wow… you must spend a lot of time trying to scratch up dirt if that’s the best you can do.

    Nothing like it. We have a lot of little coffee-klatsch get-togethers. We don’t always invite the media. That’s the level at which you are now complaining. No we don’t usually invite them. GOOD work… however, there’s a point. Maybe if the goddammed media actually came to visit us more often they’d quit lying about us so comprehensively. We should invite them to ALL our littlest meetings.

    Then you grab hold of a transition town and compare it with Sky City.

    “Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch”

    http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/node/1667

    A self-organized grassroots transition town with
    http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/node/1270

    http://www.brct.org.nz/our-projects/blueskin-wind-cluster/march-2014-news/

    Obviously getting your talking points from a liar employed by National.

    Why would the Greens support a wind farm for Waitati (population 500) when it does not increase local jobs or stimulate innovative growth?

    What… ECONOMIC advantages are the only ones that count? That little town becomes more energy self-sufficient, reduces its carbon footprint, becomes more RESILIENT and you think it has to increase jobs for the community to make sense? Are ye daft man?

    Should the Greens expend a few hours documenting and dealing with the carbon offsets publicizing ? Yeah… that might be useful but it sure isn’t real important. What is clear here is that you don’t actually have any real issues, just a real desire to try to stick it to the Greens.

    I just came from the site where the problem occurred Gerrit… my second inclination is to stake out the sign, catch the b*****ds on camera and have the police talk with them…

    (( ouch! The expression is “toe the line” one does not “tow” it. ))

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  18. BJ,

    Toe or tow is dependent of where you come from. In England “tow the line” means to pull the barge in a canal. As the canal only goes one way, tow the line literally means follow that single path.

    Just like the expression “tow rag” in England means the rag at the end of the tow rope dangling from the head in an old sailing ship. The tow rag is left to clean itself in the wake of the ship after every use by the ships company. To be called a “tow rag” is the worst type of insult as you are only good for wiping someones behind.

    You would call it a toe rag as in a shoe cleaning rag?

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  19. Going SEVERELY (and irrelevantly) off topic for the moment. This doesn’t appear to be the USA vs the UK version of English.

    http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/45905/toe-the-party-line-or-tow-the-party-line

    http://grammartips.homestead.com/toetheline.html

    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Tow+the+line

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=435322

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/toe-the-line.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toe_the_line

    Gerrit, I can’t find any examples of “tow the line” that actually conform to what you are saying. Which doesn’t mean that it is really wrong, just that I can’t find that usage… apart from one place.

    Most folks who are pedants about English are saying to only use “toe”.

    …all I can say is that when I am reading and something like that shows up it is like having my brain do a backflip on the way to the next word.

    Completely discombobulating :-)

    Sorry…

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  20. Gerrit The Green leadership has learnt to stick to the point and not sidetrack on personalities or the use of a word. I see your posting as nothing but political muckraking and as we saw with Jenny Shipley, the public dumped her when the best she could do was attack Jeanette Fitzsimons. I guess that is what will happen to the likes of Act. This mornings Nation debate onTV3 showed no new ideas or relevence but old dogma like yours from Act. No link as not on demand yet.

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  21. oldlux,

    Yep, the greens leadership is as pure as the driven snow, and never sidetrack on personalities.

    Am much chastised by your admonishment. How dare anyone (least of all a potential Green voter) question the leadership, be like an attack on the our betters. Wont happen again old chap (or chappette).

    Oh by the way, did Dr Norman ever explain why he had three visits to the Dotcom mansion and what the purpose of those visits was?

    Ooops, sorry am I allowed to ask as the Greens leadership above reproach about such matters?

    Ah well, we can only speculate and come up with the wrong conclusions. Either he was asking for money or trying to persuade Dotcom not to form the Internet party.

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I wonder (trying hard to think of other reasons).

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