Millions are displaced each year by climate change.  José Andrés, Leon Panetta and others are working together to help them

Millions are displaced each year by climate change. José Andrés, Leon Panetta and others are working together to help them

hurricanes raiding the Caribbean. Flooding left large areas of it Pakistan under water. Drought continues to ravage Africa and parts of the Middle East. And the changing weather patterns are driving tens of thousands of people from their homes – and more than 200 million people are expected to be displaced by climate disasters by 2050.

Pakistan flood victims in displacement camp
FILE: Displaced people start living in makeshift camps after floods hit their homes due to heavy monsoon rains in Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on August 30, 2022.

Hussain Ali/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


But a diverse group of leaders, thinkers and activists, including chef José Andrés, former cabinet secretaries Leon Panetta and Janet Napolitano and several former presidents and major city mayors, will meet for the first time this week on the wings of the United Nations General. A gathering in New York to try to force world leaders to start thinking about how to address climate change migration.

The Climate Migration Council, launched by and with Laurene Powell Jobs Emerson Collective, includes Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano – two former homeland security secretaries who oversaw US immigration policies – as well as Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and defense secretary. Also there is Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director and CBS News national security contributor; San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria; former presidents and mayors of Costa Rica and Bogotá, Colombia; and former heads of the Organization of American States.

“This is not a topic that governments want to entertain because they want to preserve the sovereignty of their borders. It’s a difficult conversation to have, but it’s one if we’re going to be responsible for how we manage the flow This large-scale. In terms of people, we have to address it,” said Marshall Fitz, managing director of immigration for the Emerson Collective, which will help run the new climate group.

Immigration policy remains one of the great unresolved policy challenges in the United States — an issue that has been brought back into the national conversation in recent days by Republican governors. who sent busloads and planeloads of migrants to Washington and Massachusetts. Most of those crossing the US-Mexico border are from Central and South America, forced to leave by widespread political and economic strife, but many are also fleeing from rural farming areas where farming has become difficult due to drought or extreme weather.

Climate-induced immigration is “gasoline on the fire of all the forces that have driven migration to historic levels today,” Fitz said. “We are seeing more people on the move. Climate is an immovable force that will drive decisions when people are on the move.”

Fitz said the group plans to meet Tuesday to begin brainstorming how the forced immigration debate can push climate on the world stage. The short-term goal is to put it on the agenda of the annual United Nations conference on climate change, which will take place in November in Cairo, or at least hold less formal meetings on the sidelines with leaders present .

Marta Lucia Ramirez, the former minister of foreign affairs of Colombia, said that she is joining the new council because it is “urgent to work together to find solutions at all levels of society, exercising responsible leadership from governments in a more effects.”

Roberta Jacobson, a former US ambassador to Mexico who handled Western Hemisphere affairs for the Obama administration, said she is joining because the number of people forced to flee their homes due to climate change will increase. , which will create additional pressure on an international system already facing unprecedented levels of displaced people. We need bold action at local, national, regional and international level.”

And Andrés said his travels around the world leading his World Central Kitchen organization that provides free meals to refugees and people displaced by natural disasters have shown him “how devastating climate change and catastrophic weather events can be.” communities and that they spent lives”.

“Our world needs real solutions to climate change that invest in local communities and build longer tables, not higher walls,” he said.

“We won’t have the kind of pressure campaign to get this onto the international agenda without having blue-chip leaders who show the breadth and depth of interest in solutions here,” Fitz said.

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