The dominating impact on our region is going to be environmental immigration from all the other parts of this hemisphere that will become uninhabitable. I believe we can expect tens or hundreds of millions of people swarming to either the Northwest or the Northeast escaping interminable droughts and floods. This will likely become unmanageable at some point.Now other people are beginning to think about this:
Last summer, University of Washington atmospheric science professor Cliff Mass asked: “Will the Pacific Northwest be a climate refuge under global warming?” Later headlines read: “Climate refugees are coming to the Pacific Northwest” and “What do you get if you map coming climate disasters? Hello, Pacific Northwest.” When a New York Times article pondered where to go to ride out climate change, one expert said: “The answer is the Pacific Northwest, and probably especially west of the Cascades.”
The population of the Puget Sound region is already growing, and some wonder about the future effects of climate change. A UW graduate student recently took an in-depth look at the issue, which would have implications for the region’s long-term water supplies, transportation and other infrastructure.
“This notion of climate refugees swarming into the Pacific Northwest has come up before, often mentioned in passing, but over the last year or two the questions around this issue have become more serious,” said Lara Whitely Binder, an outreach specialist with the UW Climate Impacts Group.
She and her colleagues requested the study to help inform these discussions by better understanding the factors that influence people’s decisions to move. The resulting research paper, posted online this week by the UW Climate Impacts Group, is the first to look at what we know about climate-related migration and whether it is likely to be an issue for Puget Sound.To add some perspective to this, the NRA has made sure that all these people coming here are going to have guns and ammunition. Many of the refugees will be from Latin America where they were used to having their lives organized by gangs. What we really need to worry about is that as these refugees surround our Pacific Northwest cities, they may bring warlords with them, ruling over groups of refugees, and competing for control.