- Pages: 9
- Word count: 2064
- Category: Refugee
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Climate refugees have been prevalent in various parts of the world for a while now. We look at climate refugees as having to relocate to a different area because they are being displaced from their homes due to changes created by climate change and not natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes etc.). There are climate refugee problems happening in various parts of the United States. For example, wildfires in California, and rising sea levels on the Eastern Shore and in the deep South in Louisiana. The problem of climate refugees has evolved over time because climate change is getting worse every year.
The policy issue here is how do climate refugees get assistance in the United States if they even get assistance at all and are there any policies in place because this is a more recent issue here in the United States. I think the Department of Housing and Urban Development and also the Environmental Protection Agency would be the two department/agencies that would assist in creating policy for this problem. This could either be at the state or federal level because this is out of the scope of the local government. These policies would be for people in these areas that are susceptible to climate change related disasters. One current policy that I have observed is the federal government giving money to people who are to become climate refugees, this helps so they can find a new house in a different area. However, this could negatively impact them because depending on how fast the government gets the money to the people, they may not have enough time to go find a new place to live. This issue of climate refugees must be addressed because climate change is getting worse and an essential need of a human being is shelter, and if they do not have that then they cannot survive.
Addressing the climate refugee issue is very important because people being displaced from their homes due to a climate change related event is very costly. As a human, shelter is a basic human need, and for a person to lose their home is a very traumatic experience. The federal government should be involved in policy making because these issues usually affect large amounts of people, which would be out of the scope of the state and local governments. Also, the federal government has more money, and to give these people money to buy a new house would add up very quickly.
Statement of Goals:
Using Stone’s framework, there can be multiple values that can be applied to the topic of climate refugees. Stone defines these policy values as “equity, efficiency, welfare, liberty, security and democracy” (Stone 2012). Some values I would address would be efficiency and welfare. The efficiency value can be applied here because when addressing an area where there will be climate refugees the government needs to be efficient in terms of time and money. However, welfare also needs to be addressed because it goes along with efficiency. Efficiency should maximize social welfare and welfare is based on needs of an individual.
This goal is currently being expressed in policies because the government is acting quickly with people who are going to become climate refugees. For example, the government giving people money to be able to relocate and to buy a house in a different area that will not be susceptible to major climate change. Since welfare and efficiency go with each other so well, the government will look out for the welfare of the citizens while also maximizing their efficiency as an institution. However, since this a fairly recent problem here in America, there have not been many policies made in response to the climate refugee/climate change issue.
There is a potential for a policy trade-off, specifically between welfare-efficiency. There are many factors that could go into this trade-off depending on location, level of government, and funding. Depending on funding for the government, the government could favor efficiency over welfare. This means that they might not give as much money to the people, or they may put them in special housing that is not much better than where they were previously, so the government can save money. Another problem is that if this problem is tackled at the local level, they will not have as much money as the federal level, which will lead to maximizing efficiency and not welfare. Lastly, low income neighborhoods may be affected in a way that the government is not so much concerned about the welfare of those people but finding the cheapest way to help them out.
My topic is climate refugees, which are people who have to leave their homes because they will be destroyed from a change in the environment that does not come from a natural disaster. Since this is a more recent problem here in the United States, there really is no story to tell, or that is being told right now. I think that overall, organizations, and governments do not know how to address the climate refugee issue. There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty when it comes to this topic because nobody quite knows how to take this issue on. However, I feel that the time is coming that this issue will start to be addressed because within the next few years people are going to have to start leaving their homes.
If there was a story to be told I think it would be a decline story where things start off good, then they decrease and end up bad (Stone 2012). For example, people who live near water or a coast, liked the location of their home years ago because they were on the water. Most people their dream home is to live on the water or next to the beach, however that is becoming more unlikely now due to climate change. However, now, with climate change and rising waters, they regret choosing to live on the water. They are going to have to relocate to a different location and this comes with purchasing a house which is not cheap. This story could turn around and end on a higher note because the government can assist families that are going to be displaced from climate change.
The cause of this issue of climate refugees is the changing weather patterns and climate change overall. Climate change has caused sea levels to rise, which in turn, can wipe out towns and cities that are on the water or live near bodies of water. This has also been linked to the wildfires in California because it is so dry out on the West coast. However, the difference with displacement from wildfires, is that people have a limited amount of time to evacuate their homes and they have to leave everything there. Also, with displacement from rising sea levels, the people are given a notice way far in advance, so they have time to make plans accordingly. This way they can relocate and restart their lives as if they decided to buy a new house and move. With wildfire displacement, there is not enough time to find another house to move into if that person’s house gets destroyed.
This will cause an interest in the people who live in these areas that might be affected by climate change. Also, this should interest the local and state government because they should be the ones who intervene in these situations. This could also take the interest of the federal government because they might have to give money to state and local governments. This can also take the interest of organizations that are centered around providing for these families who are displaced.
My topic is climate refugees and as I have done this portfolio, I have realized that there is not that much information regarding this issue. This is a very new issue for the United States because since this is a result of climate change, the government has not had to deal with something like this in previous years. I think that that the federal government handles the issue of climate refugees because it will affect such a large number of people and with a large number of people will come a lot of money that the state and definitely local governments will not have.
The only policy in place that I have read about is assisting the families affected, with some money that they can use to relocate. There are some positives to this policy decision but also many negatives. A positive is that they are getting some kind of assistance to relocate to a different area because they will have to buy a new house or if they choose, build a new house. It is good that these families are getting any assistance at all. The negatives definitely outweigh the positives in this situation.
The main critique of policymaking for the climate refugee issue is that there is not one, stable policy solution in place at the moment. As previously stated, the government will assist people who are affected but it is not a cohesive, set in stone solution. A major problem is that the United States pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords which addresses climate change. Since the United States did not agree to this, the country is not recognizing climate change as a serious problem. Another major problem is the fact that sometimes climate refugees are not recognized at all and they are on their own, we see this mostly with victims to wildfires that destroy their homes.
Some recommendations I have is that the United States needs to do more in regard to climate change. As of now, it is not a top priority, and many believe it is not real. First, we would need to address that it is a very much real thing and how we can start changing how we live to lessen the effects of climate change. The government needs to recognize everyone who is a victim of climate change where they would have to relocate because they lost their house. The government usually recognizes people who have had to relocate based off of rising sea levels, but like I previously stated, the same is not for people whose house got destroyed from a wildfire. The government also needs to recognize everyone despite their socioeconomic status. I think that a policy solution should include enough money to provide a new house for a family, and some areas where they could relocate where the same thing will not happen.
Some recommendations I have is that the United States needs to do more in regard to climate change. As of now, it is not a top priority, and many believe it is not real. A hot topic in the United States right now is if climate change is even real. The big issue is if these policymakers fall on the side of not believing in climate change, then policy essentially will not move forward. On the flip side, if these policymakers do fall on the side of believing that climate change is real then policymaking should be able to move forward.
First, we would need to address that it is a very much real thing and how we can start changing how we live to lessen the effects of climate change. The government needs to recognize everyone who is a victim of climate change where they would have to relocate because they lost their house. The government usually recognizes people who have had to relocate based off of rising sea levels, but like I previously stated, the same is not for people whose house got destroyed from a wildfire. The government also needs to recognize everyone despite their socioeconomic status. I think that a policy solution should include enough money to provide a new house for a family, and some areas where they could relocate where the same thing will not happen. Lastly, if the family has to relocate far enough, jobs may have to be given up or changed and I think there should be some type of assistance to help people find new jobs or they are given a stipend until they can find a new job.