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Hundreds of Millions to Be Displaced by Climate Change, French Minister Warns

Environmental minister predicts mass global displacement by end of century

A refugee camp on the Turkey-Syria border. (Photo: Reuters)

Calamitous global conflict as a result of climate change will produce hundreds of millions of refugees by 2100, said France's environmental minister Ségolène Royal to representatives from 170 countries at the UN environment assembly in Nairobi on Thursday.

"If nothing is done to combat the negative impact of climate change, we will have hundreds of millions of climate change migrants by the end of the century."
—Ségolène Royal

"Climate change issues lead to conflict, and when we analyze wars and conflicts that have taken place over the last few years we see some are linked to an extent to climate change, drought is linked to food security crises," Royal said, according to the Guardian.

"The difficulty of having access to food resources leads to massive migration, south-south migration," she said, referring to migration between developing countries.

"The African continent is particularly hit by this south-south migration," Royal continued. "If nothing is done to combat the negative impact of climate change, we will have hundreds of millions of climate change migrants by the end of the century."

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The minister's words echoed what humanitarian groups have argued: that climate change is among the root causes fueling the so-called "migrant crisis" created by world powers.

Indeed, Royal's remarks came only a day after the Italian coast guard announced that it had rescued a staggering 5,600 refugees in 48 hours who were attempting the treacherous sea journey from North Africa to Europe.

Royal urged countries to take steps toward implementing last year's Paris deal to combat global warming.

"The Paris climate change conference was an important turning point, and today it is your responsibility to contribute towards implementing it," said Royal. "Acting for the climate is acting at the roots of these [humanitarian] issues."

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