10 May 2023, 12:20
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany should create ‘climate passport’ for refugees – expert council

Clean Energy Wire

Germany should introduce a ‘climate passport’ for people displaced by the effects of climate change, an independent government advisory panel has proposed in its annual report. The Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) said that Germany, as a high CO2 emitter and natural resource consumer, has a special responsibility to reduce its emissions and support countries disproportionally affected by climate change, and should be an international pioneer in helping climate refugees. They suggest the introduction of a ‘climate passport’, a ‘climate card’ and a ‘climate work visa’. The passport, which would offer permanent residency in the country, should be limited to people whose “entire territory” was lost due to the consequences of climate change, such as islands disappearing under sea level rise, the council suggested. The latter two offers should be available to people from countries that are significantly affected by the impacts of climate change but it would envision their return after the most serious consequences have been mitigated and adaptation measures implemented.

“Migration and refugee policy options should become an integral part of the climate policy agenda. Time is pressing,” SVR chair Hans Vorländer said. The measures should be “understood as building blocks of a larger overall strategy that encompasses all political levels,” the advisory panel wrote, as the consequences of climate change “require swift action at all political levels and in many policy fields.” The number of displaced people through extreme weather events and environmental changes could increase in the coming years. However, “the logic of international refugee law is difficult to reconcile with climate change-induced migration,” the report reads. Thus, in addition to fast reductions in CO2 emissions worldwide, external climate policy should include migration policy aspects and development policy including adaptation measures, the council recommended.

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