NRDems Forum: Forum on Addressing the Climate Refugee Crisis

Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 Time: 05:11 PM

House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) held a forum on climate refugees, titled “Confronting a Rising Tide: The Climate Refugee Crisis,” on May 17, 2016. The New York Times and The Washington Post recently reported on villages that have completely disappeared as a result of rising sea levels, leaving entire communities displaced. 

By the end of this century, millions of Americans could become climate refugees. A study of U.S. counties vulnerable to sea level rise warns that if the coasts are not protected, more than 13 million Americans could become climate refugees by 2100. In Alaska alone, climate change flooding and shoreline erosion already affects more than 180 villages, 31 of which are in “imminent” danger of becoming uninhabitable. In order to alleviate the most extreme consequences of climate change, Federal, state, local and tribal governments must take immediate steps to mitigate climate change, introduce appropriate adaptation strategies, and limit the extent to which climate change exacerbates forced migration and displacement.  


  1. Colette Pichon Battle
    Director/Attorney, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
  2. Esau Sinnok
    Arctic Youth Ambassador, U.S Chairmanship of the Arctic Council
  3. Deme Naquin
    Tribal Nation Advisor and elder in the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw
  4. Junior Aini
    Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
  5. Jeff Payne
    Director of the Office for Coastal Management

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