“The Syria conflict has triggered the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II,” explains the European Commission. As Climate Progress has been reporting for years, and as a major 2015 study confirmed, “human-caused climate change was a major trigger of Syria’s brutal civil war.”
But the unprecedented multi-year drought that preceded the Syrian civil war is mild compared to the multi-decade megadroughts that unrestricted carbon pollution will make commonplace in the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, and Central America, according to many recent studies.
Given the current political debate over immigration policy, it’s worth asking two questions. First: if the United States, through our role as the greatest cumulative carbon polluter in history, plays a central role in rendering large parts of Mexico and Central America virtually uninhabitable, where will the refugees go? And second: will we have some moral obligation to change our immigration policy?
If we don’t take far stronger action on climate change, then here is what a 2015 NASA study projected the normal climate of North America will look like. The darkest areas have soil moisture comparable to that seen during the 1930s Dust Bowl.
That drought, in addition to its mismanagement by the Assad regime, contributed to the displacement of two million in Syria. That internal displacement may have contributed to the social unrest that precipitated the civil war. Which generated the refugee flows into Europe.