World needs to get to grips with climate refugees, and slash emissions already

From Midday Report, 12:45 pm on 10 November 2022

A world leading expert on climate refugees says the world needs to come to grips with the issue to avoid chaos at countries' borders.

The Bahamas' Prime Minister Philip Davis told the COP27 UN climate conference in Egypt overnight that rich countries must slash climate emissions, or face dealing with tens to hundreds of millions of climate refugees.

Currently, there's no definition for such thing as a climate refugee in international law.

As a result there are no reliable data on how many people are already needing to leave their homes.

But it's a scenario New Zealand may have to grapple with, with Pacific nations particularly susceptible to sea-level rise and inundation from increasingly ferocious storms.

University of New South Wales Professor Jane McAdam told RNZ climate reporter Hamish Cardwell people are already on the move.