Warming up to Mass Migrations

Global warming is not a political issue whose box we can check and move on; it is an intricate web of moral obligations, resource management, development, and an extensive network of once- or twice-removed consequences that are no less important.

For example, in a piece I helped put together with Kit Batten and Nat Gryll (at the Center for American Progress), we look more closely at what global warming means for the immigration debate — it is easily forgotten that the U.S. will not be exempt from global migration pressure as a result of warming.

Our most recent immigration debate has been tricky, but conditions will only worsen as we see an influx in refugees from Caribbean countries suffering from intensified storms, Mexican regions battling severe drought, and economies crushed by natural disasters, conflict, and sea level rise.

In the article posted online, we argue that the U.S. must consider its climate debt to the rest of the world in terms of historical and per capita emissions, which are still higher than any other country. Looking at international consequences and implications will help us strategize policies that will alleviate future border pressure and conflict.


Thus far the U.S. has had little or no foresight about how global warming will shape the future — and that’s simply not acceptable anymore.