The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

The UN ‘disappears’ 50 million climate refugees, then botches the cover-up

Photo of Anthony Watts
Anthony Watts
Meteorologist and Climate Blogger

Oh boy, government idiocy at its finest. Not only is the original claim bogus, the attempts to disappear it are hilariously inept. Apparently, they’ve never heard of Google Cache at the UN. Rather than simply saying “we were wrong,” they’ve now brought even more distrust onto the UN.

Back on April 11th, Gavin Atkins of Asian Correspondent asked this simple question: What happened to the climate refugees?

It is a valid question, and he backs it up with census numbers. Here’s the first part of his story.

In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production.

The UNEP even provided a handy map. The map shows us the places most at risk including the very sensitive low lying islands of the Pacific and Caribbean.

It so happens that just a few of these islands and other places most at risk have since had censuses, so it should be possible for us now to get some idea of the devastating impact climate change is having on their populations. Let’s have a look at the evidence:

Bahamas:

Nassau, The Bahamas — The 2010 national statistics recorded that the population growth increased to 353,658 persons in The Bahamas.  The population change figure increased by 50,047 persons during the last 10 years.

St Lucia:

The island-nation of Saint Lucia recorded an overall household population increase of 5 percent from May 2001 to May 2010 based on estimates derived from a complete enumeration of the population of Saint Lucia during the conduct of the recently completed 2010 Population and Housing Census.

Seychelles:

Population 2002, 81755

Population 2010, 88311

Solomon Islands:

The latest Solomon Islands population has surpassed half a million – that’s according to the latest census results.

It’s been a decade since the last census report, and in that time the population has leaped 100,000.

After Asian Correspondent posted the story on April 11th, it was picked up by news outlets around the world, such as Investor News and American Spectator, and was referred to in yesterday’s Australian newspaper and even got a mention on Fox News.

Since that story appeared, the “handy map” Atkins cites in his original story seems to be gone down the memory hole. This is what you get now; note my yellow highlight:

Only one small problem there, UN people: a little annoyance called Google Cache, which has that page archived here.

Google Cache pulls up the page that had been removed, with the “50 million refugees” title, but the map is missing.

Fear not, dear readers, because as astoundingly smart as those UN people think they are, they forgot one very important yet tiny detail. The map links to a hi-resolution version of the “climate refugee map,” and if you delete the page above and the map it contains, you also have to delete the hi-res image it links to.

Oops.

I’m always happy to help the UN in times of “need,” so I’ve recovered it and saved it, because that image link is likely to go down the memory hole on Monday.

Here’s the map at web resolution as it would have appeared in the disappeared web page above.

And here it is in full-sized hi-resolution glory, suitable for printing, slides, or coffee mugs…wherever it might be appropriate to show the folly of these boneheads.

This is what the UNEP web page originally said:

Fifty million climate refugees by 2010. Today we find a world of asymmetric development, unsustainable natural resource use, and continued rural and urban poverty. There is general agreement about the current global environmental and development crisis. It is also known that the consequences of these global changes have the most devastating impacts on the poorest, who historically have had limited entitlements and opportunities for growth.

And there you have it, folks, another bogus climate claim rubbished by reality, followed by an inept cover-up attempt.

Thanks to the reality of census numbers, followed by the UN’s handling of this, we can now safely say that the claim of “climate refugees” is total fantasy. Be sure to leave comments on any website that makes this claim, and link to this and the Asian Correspondent website.

Kudos to Gavin Atkins for asking this simple question after six years of this fantasy being used to push an agenda.

Update 1: The American Association for the Advancement of Science now says that there will be 50 million climate change refugees by 2020.

Update 2: Another blogger, following the lead by Gavin Atkins, Mr. Aaron Worthing at Patterico’s Pontifications, was the first to note the 404 error on the UNEP website, but he did not recover the hi-resolution map shown in this story.

Anthony Watts operates the most visited blog on climate science in the world, www.wattsupwiththat.com.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a recent estimate that there will be 50 million climate change refugees by 2020 to the UN. In fact, that prediction was made by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, though the original prediction that there would be 50 million climate change refugees by 2010 was in fact made by the UN.

  • Safarilinds

    anyone want to stop for a moment and think about the fact that the world climate refugees NOT meeting the UNs original estimate is a good thing?  There are people displaced by changing climates and rising seas all over the world and the number is bound to rise.  That we missed the mark on one estimate is by no means a call to celebrate the end of humanitarian crises.