The absolute worst effects of global climate change may be decades if not a century away, but extreme weather events are already creating climate refugees who now outnumber every other form of refugee.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that people forced out of their homes because by climate change-fueled weather events has surpassed the number of people displaced by war and armed conflict.
People who migrated domestically due to extreme weather events rose to 30.7 million, or 75% of those uprooted within their borders, according to a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. A record 55 million people in total had been forced to move at the end of 2020, with the number of climate migrants likely to be significantly underestimated due to incomplete data.
Climate change is causing more frequent and intense weather events. Contrary to fears of mass cross-border migration, many of the displacements are small-scale and localized, according to the report, costing economies about $20.5 billion globally in 2020.
This data set includes 1.7 million people who were displaced right here inside the United States by the most active hurricane season on record which included 30 named storms in 2020.
The Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that the vast majority of displacements are internal and climate disasters have not led to cross-border migration like we all fear it will, but I think it's a little too soon for that. Sea level has not yet risen as much as it's expected to over the next 20 to 80 years. We haven't seen nothin' yet, to put it mildly, even if climate change is already creating record breaking storms and flooding.
President Biden's infrastructure spending proposal is a down payment on doing something about climate change and the adaptations we're going to need, but the White House is not going to any great lengths to frame it that way. But I think that's understandable because passing it will be difficult enough even without linking it to climate change.