We're joining a protest at the Home Office this Saturday 4th November, following Suella Braverman's inflammatory speech at the Conservative Party Conference where she suggested that the UK was facing a 'hurricane' of migration and that the government's policy on immigration had been hampered by being 'far too squeamish about being smeared as racist'.
What are the links between refugees and climate change?
An obvious connection is that people are forced to leave their home by climate breakdown. Most starkly, the very existence of Pacific island states is at risk from rising sea levels. In recent years, we have seen a regular series of climate disasters around the world, extreme weather events which would have been unlikely or impossible without fossil-fuelled climate breakdown. These can force thousands, or even hundreds of thousands from their homes temporarily. But the destruction of homes and livelihoods mean not all can return. Changing weather patterns also cause less visible changes: repeated crop failures from drought, floods or both; rising sea levels causing salinisation of farmland.
Some areas, such as the Sahel region of Africa, face both climate change and armed conflict. Exacly how resource scarcity and conflict are linked is debated, but one thing is clear: this is a deadly combination. From Honduras to Afghanistan, from South Sudan to the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar now in Bangladesh, climate breakdown exacerbates situations of violence and inequality. And consistently, those who have done least to cause the climate crisis are suffering worst from its impacts.
Another link is that both immigration and climate action are being used by this government to in an attempt to stoke a 'culture war' ahead of the 2024 general election. This has led to complete abandonment of rational policy-making. Braverman's plans for asylum-seekers, including deportation to Rwanda, combine cruelty with sky-high costs to taxpayers and as a whole are widely considered unworkable. On climate change Sunak is wooing backbenchers and right-wing media by taking a wrecking ball to the political consensus on the UK's legally binding climate targets, ignoring not just climate scientists but industry experts, businesses and public opinion polls.