"Refugees Join List of Climate-Change Issues"

"UNITED NATIONS — With their boundless vistas of turquoise water framed by swaying coconut palms, the Carteret Islands northeast of the Papua New Guinea mainland might seem the idyllic spot to be a castaway.

But sea levels have risen so much that ... residents stash their possessions in fishing nets strung between the palm trees. ...

The chain could well be uninhabitable by 2015, locals believe, but two previous attempts to abandon it ended badly, when residents were chased back after clashing with their new neighbors on larger islands.

This dark situation underlies the thorny debate over the world’s responsibilities to the millions of people likely to be displaced by climate change.

There could be 200 million of these climate refugees by 2050, according to a new policy paper by the International Organization for Migration, depending on the degree of climate disturbances. ...

In the coming days, the United Nations General Assembly is expected to adopt the first resolution linking climate change to international peace and security. The hard-fought resolution, brought by 12 Pacific island states, says that climate change warrants greater attention from the United Nations as a possible source of upheaval worldwide and calls for more intense efforts to combat it."

Neil MacFarquhar reports for the New York Times May 28, 2009.

Monday, June 1, 2009