Media Advisory: Grijalva Forum on Addressing the Climate Refugee Crisis

Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will hold a forum on climate refugees, titled “Confronting a Rising Tide: The Climate Refugee Crisis,” on May 17 at 2 p.m. on Capitol Hill. 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. This forum will allow attendees to hear first-hand from people who are struggling with the impacts of climate change and in danger of becoming some of America’s first climate refugees.

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. 

Event Details

WHAT: House Natural Resources Committee Forum on Climate Refugees, titled “Confronting a Rising Tide: The Climate Refugee Crisis”

WHEN: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

WHERE: 340 Cannon House Office Building or tune-in for the livestream, http://bit.ly/1XuQGmb


  • Ranking Member Grijalva, House Natural Resources Committee (opening remarks)
  • Jeff Payne, Director of the Office for Coastal Management, NOAA (moderator)
  • Junior Aini, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (panelist)
  • Démé Naquin, Tribal Nation Advisor and elder in the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw (panelist)
  • Esau Sinnok, Arctic Youth Ambassador, U.S Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (panelist)
  • Colette Pichon Battle, Director/Attorney, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (panelist) 

Press Contact

Media Contact: Diane Padilla

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 226-3522