Climate change results in migration, according to professor

Vinesh Kovelamudi

In a lecture Monday, Teófilo Altamirano, visiting professor in social science from the Catholic University of Peru, emphasized the relationship between climate change and forced human migration.

At the event, hosted by The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, Altamirano listed three forms of forced migration — seasonal, temporary and permanent — that occur as a result of climate change. He also said global warming affects those who are not migrating.

“Any type of professional will be touched by these global warming situations”, Altamirano said.

Altamirano said 80 percent of displaced people prefer to go to cities, and 20 percent relocate to refugee camps. He said the pressures cities will face in the future as a result of forced migration include water and housing shortages.

June Gunaratne, an international relations and global studies senior, said there is a lack of attention regarding global warming in America. According to Gunaratne, global warming does not simply apply to one region or population, but rather all regions and populations.

“Global warming affects people much more in other regions of the world than in America,” Gunaratne said. “[But] global warming is huge and impacts everyone and everything.”  

Business freshman Darrell Sung said he thinks global warming is not yet a cause for concern.

“Global warming is an issue for the future,” Sung said. “As of now, people shouldn’t be too worried about it.”

Altamirano also spoke about last month’s United Nations Conference of Partners in Lima, Peru, which provided a forum for countries to discuss climate change.

In his recap of the conference in Lima, Altamirano discussed the United Nations’ lack of assistance to the forced migrants of global warming.

“The United Nations recognizes victims of war in Syria, but why don’t they recognize environmental migrants?” Altamirano said. “That is a fault of the United Nations.”

According to Altamirano, United Nations officials’ promotion of this year’s UN Summit on Climate Change in Paris is a positive step toward climate change reform. Altamirano said governments would need to meet certain requirements before attending the summit.