While on a whirlwind media tour to promote his new film, former Vice President Al Gore claimed that global warming would create millions of refugees fleeing more intense and frequent extreme weather events.
ThinkProgress editor Joe Romm asked Gore in a Monday interview what humanity needed to do to deal with “the potential for tens of millions of refugees” from global warming.
Gore suggested the number could be higher before giving the following answer:
The Max Planck Institute and others are now saying that some significant regions of the Middle East and North Africa may become uninhabitable because of the rise in both the temperature and humidity. And that will increase the flows of refugees. Africa by mid-century will have more people than either China or India, and by the end of the century more people than India and China combined. And subsistence agriculture is being hit harder than any other vital system in our civilization, because of the timing of the rainfalls, the concentration and timing of the big [extreme weather] events, and the problems of drought. Right now, the U.N. has warned of the worst humanitarian disaster since 1945: 20 million people on the verge of famine. So, we’re going to have to prepare for it, and that means insulating our structures of governance against the kind of disruption that we have seen in some European countries.
The Brexit vote was partly affected by this. The most powerful billboard was one showing endless lines of swarthy-looking refugees on the border of Europe. This is a major, major challenge. Just as the next six or eight months are going to be particularly challenging for American democracy, the next several decades are going to be a test of the character and courage for humanity.
Gore paints a dire picture of humanity’s future without drastic changes to the global economy — namely, a shift away from fossil fuels. However, Gore’s claim is just that: a claim.
A recent study predicted that as many as 2 billion people could become “climate refugees” by the end of the century, due to rising sea levels. Most famously, the United Nations Environment Programme quietly removed a web page claiming that 50 million “climate refugees” would exist by 2010. The UN pushed its prediction to 2020.
Gore spoke with ThinkProgress as part of a media tour to promote his new film, “An Inconvenient Sequel.” It’s the follow-up to his 2006 film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” that has been widely credited with sparking the global warming movement.
While Gore’s first film enjoyed widespread acclaim, it was riddled with failed predictions. The Daily Caller News Foundation reviewed Gore’s 2006 film last year to see how well the predictions fared — they didn’t do well.
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