The 21th Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Paris from 30th November to 11th December. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. It is a necessary and inevitable step to keep global warming below 2°C.

As YES we reiterate the critical importance of the 2015 Paris Conference as a historic milestone for enhancing global collective action and accelerating the global transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society. The 2015 Paris agreement will be unique, because never before, have all nations been so closed to a legally binding umbrella agreement.

Climate change and migration

According to the US research organization Climate Central a temperature rise of 4°C would put up to 470 million people in danger in coastal regions. This would after all be true for China, where 145 million people live in flood-threatened regions. But even with a temperature rise of 2°C, 130 million people would still be affected through higher sea level.

Melting ice and raising seas are only some of the effects. The increase of extreme weather conditions like heavy rainstorms and consecutives floods or extensive droughts and the overall shifting of climate zones will be consequently followed by population movements.

Although it is accepted that increased disasters and chronic environmental degradation will bring significant changes in migration patterns throughout the developing world, the actual framework does not examine properly the likely migration consequences of increased hazards. This is why migration must be regarded as an important issue within the climate change adaptation discourse.

In the actual draft agreement[1] “migration” and “planned relocation” is mentioned under the loss and damage section within two options with one being more determined than the other one.

But even if the more determined option goes into the final agreement, the recognition and the action for dealing with the environmental migrants or so-called climate refugees is not properly taken into account. But as these population movements can’t be avoided, we need think about an action plan for tomorrow.

Climate change and eradication of poverty

Ending poverty and addressing climate change are the two defining issues of our time. Both are essential to achieving sustainable global development. But they cannot be considered in isolation. The recent World Bank studies show that without action, climate change would likely spark higher agricultural prices and could threaten food security in poorer regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. And in most countries where we have data, poor urban households are the most exposed. Without this type of development, climate change could force more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. But, with rapid and inclusive development, adapted to changing climate conditions, most of these impacts can be prevented.

                                                                                JS Luxembourg

[1] the actual framework does not examine the likely consequences of increased hazards