World Refugee Day: As Germany fails to meet climate targets, it also fails to protect climate refugees
Jun 20, 2018

World Refugee Day: As Germany fails to meet climate targets, it also fails to protect climate refugees

By EJF Staff

Germany has shockingly announced that it will fail to meet its own 2020 carbon targets, and will instead refocus on new 2030 targets. On World Refugee Day, EJF calls on all EU countries to remember that climate change is not only an environmental issue, but a human rights issue too.

Official estimates project that Europe's biggest economy will trim its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent or less by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. The next target, a decade later, calls for a 55 percent drop in emissions from 1990.

Climate change is a human rights issue just as it is an environmental one, and by failing to reduce emissions sufficiently, Germany is endangering many vulnerable people around the world.

This announcement by the government runs contrary to what the Environmental Justice Foundation was promised in September 2017. Ahead of the German election, EJF asked how the main political parties intended to tackle climate change, and how they would protect climate refugees. The ruling parties, the CDU and SPD promised effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

As global temperatures continue to hit levels not seen since records began, extreme weather events increasingly cause major disruption and the rising cost of inaction leaves the most vulnerable people on our planet worst affected.

In 2016, extreme weather and climate events displaced nearly 45 people every minute. All too often it is the poorest, marginalised and vulnerable people - like those EJF recently documented in coastal Bangladesh- who have contributed least to climate change, who are affected first and worst.

This highlights how urgent it is that EU countries take steps to mitigate against climate change and protect climate refugees.

By 2050, as many as one in every seven people in Bangladesh will have been forced to leave their homes because of climate change.

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to change the way we think about climate change. Climate change needs to be treated as a human rights issue. This means that failing to meet carbon targets is also a failure to protect the world’s most vulnerable.

The world’s largest economies must take responsibility for the extreme weather events that today are forcing people from their houses around the world.

EJF is calling for protection for climate refugees, along with highlighting the absolute priority of ending our carbon addiction. There must be an immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and shared international commitment under the Paris Agreement must be met to ensure that temperature rise is kept below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.