Climate change has gone beyond theoretical predictions. It is happening now. Any of our actions are unlikely to be able to stop it, much less reverse it. This means that there is a need to consider how to mitigate the effects of climate change, including relocation of people.
Climate change could displace up to a billion people over the next several decades. Given this harsh reality, a group of experts led by Richard Moss of Princeton published a report on the political perspectives of resettlement in Science.
“Resettlement means moving people to completely new conditions,” the researchers explained. They noted that existing approaches to planning the resettlement of millions of affected people are “grossly inadequate” and risk exacerbating social inequalities.
The authors of the report note that historically, such planning for such a large-scale resettlement of citizens has always been of little priority and was associated with the interests of the policy of states rather than with the interests of those whom the states are forced to resettle. If, instead, this type of planning became priority number one, the process could go much more efficiently.
In addition, the team believes that it is important that the research community not only develops best practices in engineering, financial risk and other types of technical analysis, but also supports social transformation and material capacity building, which will make it easier for resettling communities to adapt to life in a new place..
It is unclear whether politicians will heed these calls and whether they will act on them.