What is a climate refugee?

“The immediate image that comes to mind of “climate refugees” is people of small tropical islands in the Pacific or of a low-lying delta like in Bangladesh, where inhabitants have been forced out of their homes by sea-level rise.

The broader phenomenon is usually taken to be people displaced from their homes by the impact of a changing climate – although the strict definition of a refugee in international law is more narrow including people displaced by war, violence or persecution, but not environmental changes.

With climate change occurring rapidly in the far north, where temperatures are warming faster than the global average, the typical picture of the climate refugee is set to become more diverse. Sea ice is in retreat, the permafrost is melting, bringing the effects of climate change in real time to residents of the remote villages of Alaska…”

Take a look at this ground-breaking series created by The Guardian on America’s first climate refugees, in the far north of Alaska.