Although the report focuses on climate migration abroad, it notes that some Americans are already on the move due to the effects of climate change. “Even in the United States, an extreme event can result in a relatively high degree of permanent relocation of low-income populations exposed to chronic conditions and which worsen over time,” the report says.
In February, Biden signed an executive order directing the National Security Council to propose options for protecting and resettling those displaced by climate change, as well as how to identify them.
In response, the report released Thursday, due to be completed in August, recommends that the White House “work with Congress to create a new legal path for individualized humanitarian protection in the United States for those facing serious threats to their lives.” life due to climate change. “
The report also calls for the establishment of a group of staff in government agencies to coordinate US policy on climate migration.
Climate migration experts said the report could have gone further.
Teevrat Garg, professor of economics at the University of California at San Diego, specializing in climate migration, praised the administration’s attention to the issue. But he said the report could have addressed the deeper question of what the United States and other developed countries owe climate migrants.
“Much of the carbon emissions driving climate change come from rich countries, but the consequences are borne disproportionately by the poor,” said Dr Garg. As a result, rich countries have “an obligation to support climate refugees”.
Others were more critical. Kayly Ober, senior lawyer and program manager for the Climate Displacement Program at Refugees International, called the report disappointing – more a review of the challenges of climate migration than a set of prescriptions on how to address them.
“This is a huge missed opportunity,” Ms. Ober said. “I think the Biden administration hasn’t quite figured out what it wants to do. “