LIRS Calls for Climate Displacement Solutions on Earth Day
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LIRS Calls for Climate Displacement Solutions on Earth Day

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LIRS Calls for Climate Displacement Solutions on Earth Day


April 21, 2021

Contact: Timothy Young | | 443-257-6310

Washington D.C.51 years after the inaugural Earth Day, where 20 million people took to the streets to demonstrate for environmental protection, the impacts of climate change continue to worsen.

The climate crisis will increasingly affect human beings in profound ways – notably through the large-scale displacement of individuals, families, communities, and in some cases, entire nations. Despite escalating climate change-fueled hurricanes, mega-fires, and prolonged droughts projected to displace up to 340 million people over the next 30 years, there exists no legal framework to allow those displaced by climate change to apply for humanitarian protection.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service calls on the U.S. government to take bold action to mitigate future damage and protect those who inequitably suffer the consequences of climate disasters. The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:

“Climate change is no longer a distant threat. It has emerged as destructive a force as war, violence, and persecution. After decades of failing to act, we now face the reality that an alarming proportion of migration is driven by climate. While we cannot prevent all of the cascading climate impacts around the globe, we, as the largest historical emitter of carbon pollution, must take responsibility for it.

Both short-term and long-term migration solutions must be designed. For those temporarily displaced by a sudden onset disaster, the Administration and Congress should leverage options like Temporary Protected Status. For those whose homelands disappear or become uninhabitable, permanent solutions like refugee resettlement, will be especially critical.

We commend the Biden administration for its executive order on climate change and migration, which requires the exploration of resettlement options for the climate-displaced. We urge President Biden to act on those findings and pioneer the world’s first legal framework to protect children and families who have lost their only home to the climate crisis. It’s not only in our national security interest; it’s our moral responsibility.”

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