How helpful is the term ‘climate refugee’?

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Politicians warn the climate crisis will lead to more people migrating. But experts say this framing of the issue risks being misleading and dangerous

“You think migration is a challenge to Europe today because of extremism,” John Kerry told a conference in Alaska in 2015, “wait until you see what happens when there’s an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival.”

As warnings go, it seemed like the kind we’re used to hearing from politicians in the West. From indulging in inflammatory rhetoric to focusing on the need for ‘control’, alarmist claims about immigration are a regular fixture of political discourse in countries like the US and the UK.

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