Are Germany's Hate Crimes A Preview Of What Climate Change Could Bring?

Predictions of migrations due to climate change dwarf the Syrian refugee crisis.

BBC News reported that, on average, nearly 10 hate crimes were committed against migrants in Germany each day in 2016. The year brought 3,533 “attacks on migrants and asylum hostels,” in which 560 people were injured, including 43 children. These are preliminary numbers; given that crimes are typically underreported, actual numbers are probably higher. These statistics will no doubt add fuel to the political polarization sweeping across Europe, and further distract from other pressing matters of governance.

I see this as a preview of what will happen ― on a much larger scale ― if climate change is allowed to continue unchecked. Predictions of migrations due to climate change dwarf the Syrian refugee crisis. Hundreds of millions of people could be driven from their homes by rising seas, drought, food shortages, stronger storms, and military conflict over limited resources. Already, there is growing evidence of migration due to climate change, and senior military figures acknowledge highly probable links between climate change and the Arab Spring, the war in Syria, and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.

We humans simply don’t deal well with having to share our resources with perceived outsiders. In a sense, Germany may represent the perfect social experiment. No nation is better equipped to monitor and guard against hate crimes. In the wake of the atrocities committed during World War II, education and policies were put in place to highlight awareness of how minorities are treated. At the start of the recent influx of refugees, Germany’s economy was strong, it had negative population growth, its right-wing political groups were weaker than elsewhere in Europe, and the majority of people were in favor of opening borders. Even still, these hate crimes are committed.

Military leaders have long recognized that climate change is becoming a major factor in national security. Why can’t the Republicans?

These attacks are not a “Germany problem.” They are a human problem.

We need to be acting now to arrest climate change. Instead, Republican leaders deny climate change is happening, plan to cut back on related research, are attempting to stifle the research that is already happening, have promised to “cancel billions in contributions to U.N climate change programs”, are preparing to pull out of the Paris Agreement, and are making moves to gut or even terminate the EPA.

Military leaders have long recognized that climate change is becoming a major factor in national security. Why can’t the Republicans?

In 2018, we need to elect political leaders who acknowledge the issue and are willing to take the expensive measures necessary to advance the related science and address global warming by reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses. And every time the Republicans act against the objectives of understanding and mitigating global warming, we need to do all in our power to draw attention to their mistakes and erode their popularity. Otherwise, we’ll continue down our current short-sighted and compassionless path of closing our borders instead of going after the root cause.

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