Rising sea levels, extreme weather and drought: climate change is already causing tens of thousands of people to migrate. But where will these displaced populations go? There is no refugee status for victims of climate change.
"There is a void in terms of their protection", says Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It is estimated that by 2050, 200 million people could be displaced by the environment. When the Geneva Refugee Convention was signed in 1951, there was no mention of climate change. Today, in the eyes of international refugee law, these people simply don’t exist.
And yet they do exist.
In this episode of Down to Earth, the team investigates the "climate refugees": who they are, where they come from and the difficulty in finding solutions for a group that has never been formally defined.