Thongchai Thailand

DIVINE CLIMATE ACTIVISM

Posted on: April 3, 2021

Pope Francis waves during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 14, 2020.

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF AN ONLINE ARTICLE BY CATHERINE CLIFFORD ABOUT SOMETHING CALLED “CLIMATE MIGRATION” AND THE CLIMATE ACTIVISM OF THE VATICAN IN THIS ISSUE.

LINK TO SOURCE: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/01/pope-francis-on-climate-migration-many-are-being-devoured.html

PART-1: WHAT THE SOURCE ARTICLE SAYS

Pope Francis brings spotlight to climate migration: When we look, what do we see? Many are being devoured in conditions that make it impossible to survive. Forced to abandon fields and shorelines, homes and villages, people flee in haste carrying just a few souvenirs and treasures, scraps of their culture and heritage,” the pope wrote in a statement released Tuesday. “They set out in hope, meaning to restart their lives in a place of safety. But where they mostly end up are dangerously overcrowded slums or makeshift settlements, waiting on fate.” The pope published his call for collective focus on migrants forced to leave their homes because of climate change’s effects on their homelands as a preface to a booklet titled, “Pastoral Orientations on Climate Displaced People,” which includes recommendations for how to address the crisis. Reasons people around the world may have to leave their homes due to climate change include changes in rainfall, changes in flooding patterns or rising sea levels, to name a few. A report from the World Bank predicted more than 140 million people could move within their country’s borders by 2050 due to climate change. The climate migrants are in addition to other migrants who are forced to move for political and social reasons, the report says. In February, President Joe Biden ordered an interagency report on the current and future implications of climate migration. The first step toward addressing the issue is to see those who are suffering and to not look away, Francis writes. “Where it starts is with each one’s seeing, yes, mine and yours,” the pope writes. The response people have to those who are suffering the effects of climate change may be dependent on how close or far it is from their doorstep, but that is insufficient, the pope says. “Whether it seems remote or whether we feel it close to home — depends on our taking the trouble to see the suffering that each story entails in order ‘to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening … into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it’ (Laudato si’ 19),” he writes, citing his own previous missive on the importance of taking care of the earth, “our common home.” In his written statement, the pope affirms his stance that climate change is the result of human behavior, a fact which NASA supported with “direct evidence” in a report released on March 25, but which some other religious groups have disavowed. (About 80% of Americans now believe that human action “has at least partly” been causing global warming, according to a survey published in August by the Washington DC-based nonprofit, Resources for the Future.) “When people are driven out because their local environment has become uninhabitable, it might look like a process of nature, something inevitable,” the pope writes. “Yet the deteriorating climate is very often the result of poor choices and destructive activity, of selfishness and neglect, that set humankind at odds with creation, our common home.”

Climate Migration: A Growing Global Crisis – Climate Institute

PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

#1: Why is it necessary to relate migration to climate change for the victims to receive our pity, assistance, and blessings? For example, the relative dessication of Lake Chad over the years has been a major driver of migration. The likely cause is water removal for irrigation but it can also be argued that the dessication is natural or that global warming had something to do with it. So should we help these people only if it can be shown that their plight is an impact of cimate change and not otherwise? This kind of policy can and does create a bias for such attribution and thereby makes these attributions even less credible than they are.

#2: The use of poor countries like Tuvalu and Bangladesh by climate activists to make a case for climate action is harmful and cruel because of its negative effects on the country’s economic well being. The use of the poor and the third world in this way to sell the climate agenda is racist and a continuation of the colonialist view that the Global South must ultimately serve the needs of the Global North and right now what the Global North needs is to sell the climate agenda and they need pitiful third world victims for that purpose.

#3: In related posts on this site we show that post hoc attributions of weather extremes such as storms, floods, dessication, heatwaves, and wildfires contain fatal methodological flaws that derive from confirmation bias and violate the internal climate variability issue in climate science: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/06/29/diffenbaugh-2017-extreme-weather-of-climate-change/ . This kind of bias is encouraged and made worse by the need for attribution to climate change for the migrants to receive our care and blessings.

#4: If migration is a cruelty imposed on the poor and if they need our help we should help them and not insist that the cause of their plight must be climate for us to care and to help. As seen in the bibliography below, this kind of weirdness does not show that we care about these distressed people but only that the fake love and caring is motivated by climate activism.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: IF MIGRATION IS A HARDSHIP THAT REQUIRES LOVE AND CARING AND ASSISTANCE, THIS KIND HUMANE RESPONSE SHOULD NOT BE MADE CONTINGENT ON ATTRIBUTION OF THEIR PLIGHT TO CLIMATE CHANGE. CONVERSELY, THE NEED FOR SUCH ATTRIBUTION EXPOSES THE LOVE AND CARING BEING SHOWN AS FAKE AND THAT THE MIGRANTS ARE BEING USED TO SELL THE CLIMATE AGENDA.

Climate Migration: A Growing Global Crisis – Climate Institute

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF RESEARCH IN CLIMATE MIGRATION

  1. Hartmann, Betsy. “Rethinking climate refugees and climate conflict: Rhetoric, reality and the politics of policy discourse.” Journal of International Development: The Journal of the Development Studies Association 22.2 (2010): 233-246. This paper critically examines the perceived threat of ‘climate refugees’ and ‘climate conflict’. It locates the ideological roots of these concepts in development theories and policy narratives about demographically induced migration, environmental refugees and environmental security. While alarmist rhetoric around climate refugees and conflict has been deployed by a variety of actors, including U.N. agencies, development NGOs, national governments, security pundits and popular media, the paper concentrates on its strategic use by U.S. defence interests. It raises the question of how the portrayal of climate change as a security threat could further militarise the provision of development assistance and distort climate policy.
  2. Farbotko, Carol, and Heather Lazrus. “The first climate refugees? Contesting global narratives of climate change in Tuvalu.” Global Environmental Change 22.2 (2012): 382-390. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise are almost certain. What these outcomes mean for different populations, however, is far less certain. Climate change is both a narrative and material phenomenon. In so being, understanding climate change requires broad conceptualisations that incorporate multiple voices and recognise the agency of vulnerable populations. In climate change discourse, climate mobility is often characterised as the production of ‘refugees’, with a tendency to discount long histories of ordinary mobility among affected populations. The case of Tuvalu in the Pacific juxtaposes migration as everyday practice with climate refugee narratives. This climate-exposed population is being problematically positioned to speak for an entire planet under threat. Tuvaluans are being used as the immediate evidence of displacement that the climate change crisis narrative seems to require. Those identified as imminent climate refugees are being held up like ventriloquists to present a particular (western) ‘crisis of nature’. Yet Tuvaluan conceptions of climate challenges and mobility practices show that more inclusive sets of concepts and tools are needed to equitably and effectively approach and characterise population mobility. Perspectives of climate-vulnerable populations are needed in adaptation planning. ► Everyday practices of migration conflict with climate refugee subjectivities. Mobility can be a source of resilience for climate vulnerable populations.
  3. Bettini, Giovanni. “Climate barbarians at the gate? A critique of apocalyptic narratives on ‘climate refugees’.” Geoforum 45 (2013): 63-72. Climate-induced migration, and particularly the issue of climate refugees, is subject to growing attention in global climate governance. The debate on the topic sees the convergence of conflicting discourses (ranging from those of conservative European governments to southern NGOs) onto apocalyptic narratives that forecast massive, abrupt and unavoidable flows of climate refugees. Such dystopian narratives, either framed within humanitarian or ‘national security’ agendas, relegate the concerned populations to the status of victims (either to protect or to fear). This article, applying elements of poststructuralist discourse theory, analyzes the narratives via a set of influential reports on climate-induced migration and argues that apocalyptic narratives on climate refugees, although not totalizing or uncontested, represent a case of the depoliticization of global climate governance. The convergence into such narratives favors the drive towards a post-political discursive configuration, which, by supplanting politics with governance, leaves underlying power relations untouched and (re)produces present forms of representational and material marginalization. It therefore argues that such narratives, although often employed with the aim of attracting attention to a pressing issue, are detrimental for an emancipatory approach to climate change. {I analyzed a set of influential texts on climate-induced migration and employed poststructuralist discourse theory and political ecology to highlight how competing discourses converge onto apocalyptic narratives. Such convergence, centered on ‘climate refugees’, facilitates depoliticization. I argue that such narratives are detrimental to radical/emancipatory climate politics.}
  4. Farbotko, Carol. “Wishful sinking: disappearing islands, climate refugees and cosmopolitan experimentation.” Asia Pacific Viewpoint 51.1 (2010): 47-60. Disappearing islands and climate refugees have become signifiers of the scale and urgency of uneven impacts of climate change. This paper offers a critical account of how sea level rise debates reverberate around Western mythologies of island laboratories. I argue that representations of low‐lying Oceania islands as experimental spaces burden these sites with providing proof of a global climate change crisis. The emergence of Tuvalu as a climate change ‘canary’ has inscribed its islands as a location where developed world anxieties about global climate change are articulated. As Tuvalu islands and Tuvaluan bodies become sites to concretize climate science’s statistical abstractions, they can enforce an eco‐colonial gaze on Tuvalu and its inhabitants. Expressions of ‘wishful sinking’ create a problematic moral geography in some prominent environmentalist narratives: only after they disappear are the islands useful as an absolute truth of the urgency of climate change, and thus a prompt to save the rest of the planet.
Climate Migration: A Growing Global Crisis – Climate Institute

ENVIRONMENTAL MIGRATION DATA PROVIDED BY THE MIGRATION DATA PORTAL: LINK TO SOURCE: https://migrationdataportal.org/themes/environmental_migration

At the end of 2019, around 5.1 million people in 95 countries and territories were living in displacement as a result of disasters that happened not only in 2019, but also in previous years. (IDMC, 2020a). The countries with the highest number of internally displaced persons were Afghanistan (1.2 million); India (590,000); Ethiopia (390,000), Philippines (364,000) and Sudan (272,000) (ibid.). 

In the first half of 2020 alone, disasters displaced 9.8 million people and remained the leading trigger of new internal displacements globally (IDMC, 2020b). Five countries accounted for nearly 75 per cent of the new internal displacements due to disasters in the first half of 2020: India (2.7 million), Bangladesh (2.5 million), Philippines (811,000), China (791,000) and Somalia (514,000) (ibid.). In 2019, nearly 2,000 disasters triggered 24.9 million new internal displacements across 140 countries and territories; this is the highest figure recorded since 2012 and three times the number of displacements caused by conflict and violence (IDMC, 2020a) Most of the disaster displacements were the result of tropical storms and monsoon rains in South Asia and East Asia and Pacific; four countries accounted for more than 17 million new internal displacements due to disaster:  India (5 million), the Philippines (4.1 million), Bangladesh (4.1 million), and China (4 million) (ibid.).

While the majority of mobility in the context of environmental and climate change more generally, including disaster displacement, occurs within the borders of countries, some people are forced to move abroad. Global data on cross-border movement in the context of disasters are, however, limited, with only a few notable cases being examined so far (Nansen Initiative, 2015; Ionesco, Mokhnacheva and Gemenne, 2017). In some cases, official sources on humanitarian visas by countries such as the United States (US), Brazil and Argentina for Haitians can be used.

Slow-onset processes such as droughts or sea level rise also increasingly affect people’s mobility worldwide. Though specific data are not available, case studies are highlighted by existing research, for example: Foresight, 2011Piguet and Laczko, 2014Ionesco, Mokhnacheva and Gemenne, 2017.

The relocation of communities in the context of environmental and climate change is also increasingly implemented by governments (for a summary of recent relocation programmes see Ionesco, Mokhnacheva and Gemenne, 2016Benton, 2017 and Georgetown University, UNHCR and IOM, 2017). For instance, tens of thousands of people have been relocated in Haiti (Pierre, 2015) and in Viet Nam (UN Viet Nam, 2014Chun 2014Entzinger and Scholten, 2015); hundreds of thousands in Ethiopia (Foresight, 2011: 177); about a million in the Philippines (Ranque and Quetulio-Navarra, 2015Thomas, 2015Brookings and UNHCR, 2015: 3-4) and several millions in China (Foresight, 2011: 177).

PART-3: CAUSES OF MIGRATION LISTED IN THE WORLD MIGRATION REPORTS OF THE IOM (WMR)

LINK TO SOURCE DOCUMENT: https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/wmr_2020.pdf

AN EXAMPLE OF CLIMATE REFUGEE ACTIVISM ON YOUTUBE

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  • chaamjamal: Thank you
  • skeptic16: The environmentalist Left and their wealthy financial supporters are not so keen on returning manufacturing to the US where production would be cleane
  • fgsjr2015: Greta Thunberg aptly and poignantly described the global-warming (non)efforts of faux or neo-environmentalist politicos as just more "blah, blah, blah
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