The Earth Policy Institute looks at numbers of people running from the effects of global warming and concludes that the U.S. has more global warming refugees than any other nation today, ironically. The U.S. is also the largest emitter of greenhouse gases blamed for the human component of global warming.
EPI estimates at least 250,000 people fled New Orleans and surrounding areas after Hurricane Katrina, in the single largest migration prompted by the effects of global warming.
Those of us who track the effects of global warming had assumed that the first large flow of climate refugees would likely be in the South Pacific with the abandonment of Tuvalu or other low-lying islands. We were wrong. The first massive movement of climate refugees has been that of people away from the Gulf Coast of the United States.
Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in late August 2005, forced a million people from New Orleans and the small towns on the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts to move inland either within state or to neighboring states, such as Texas and Arkansas. Although nearly all planned to return, many have not.
Financial markets act as if global warming is a fact, even with a few deniers still hanging on and the Bush administration’s not moving very fast as if it were concerned: Insurance companies refuse to issue new policies for homes for people living in certain hurricane-prone areas.
The market has spoken: Global warming is a problem we need to act against.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Stolen Moments: A green digest.