From Vanuatu To Vancouver

Port Vila-Vanuatu-130pm

Christopher Flavelle makes the case for rich countries welcoming “climate migrants” from the developing world:

Why should developed countries care if people in Tuvalu are forced from their homes? Take my home country of Canada: If we had never emitted a single gram of carbon dioxide, sea levels would still be rising almost as quickly. Why should we have to bear the cost of settling people with the bad luck to live on a sinking island?

The rebuttal is that Canada’s wealth derives in great part from selling the fossil fuels that are causing Tuvalu to sink. Partly as a result, Canada became the only country in the world to legally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, and has shown no particular interest in creating a replacement. And Canada emits more carbon per person than any large industrialized country save for Australia and the U.S. So Canadians, who according to one account enjoy the richest middle class in the world, have made money from an activity that disproportionately hurts others, and stymied efforts to curb that activity. The country also has space, resources and a history of incorporating newcomers into its social and political fabric – and not least, an aging population that needs new workers. The same could be said, to varying degrees, for many other developed countries.

“If rich countries would rather not invite in climate migrants,” he adds, “they can start by contributing money to the Green Climate Fund, whose goals include protecting people from extreme weather.”

(Photo by a Dish reader: Port Vila, Vanuatu, 1.30 pm)