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CLIMATE REFUGEES SWARM INTO EUROPE

Humanitarian disaster threatens to overwhelm millions
Dateline: 2 August 2025

An emergency sitting of the UN Security Council has failed to find a solution to the refugee crisis engulfing Europe.

Millions of refugees from Africa and the Middle East have swarmed into the cooler northern latitudes of Europe in a desperate attempt to escape this year’s killer heat wave season. Public transport systems have been overwhelmed and have ground to a halt.

Hospitals have been inundated, with over 300,000 people suffering from tropical diseases and drug-resistant TB. Shops and supermarkets have been plundered by marauding gangs of hungry families. Spain, Italy and Southern France have unsuccessfully attempted to impose martial law.

NATO forces have set up refugee camps and foreign ministers have appealed to Russia, China and the USA for disaster relief.

“It’s absolute chaos out there,” said Jacques Lyon, a visibly rattled spokesperson for Médecins Sans Frontières. “We just can’t cope.”


ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be

1992: UNFCCC established
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty established under the aegis of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). This conference was called the Earth Summit and was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The objective of the treaty was “to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a low enough level to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

1997: Kyoto Protocol is negotiated
The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the UNFCCC treaty, which was negotiated during December of 1997 in the Japanese city of Kyoto. The Protocol requires that developed countries (listed in Annexure I of the agreement) adopt mandatory targets for the collective reduction of 5.2% of their greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2012 using the emissions in 1990 as a reference year.

2001: IPCC 3rd Climate Change Assessment Report>
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its 3rd Climate Change assessment report, which discusses the scientific basis of climate change, mitigation initiatives and potential impacts, adaption and vulnerabilities. One component of this extensive and comprehensive report indicates that “Global climate change is likely to bring changes in climate variability and extreme events.” Changes are expected in the geographic range and seasonality of various infectious diseases, increases in mortality and morbidity associated with heat waves, and effects on malnutrition and starvation in some regions as a result of redistribution of food and water resources.

2003: Heat waves kill thousands
Thousands of people are killed in Europe and India as heat waves send temperatures soaring.

2006: Senior Politicians and Business Leaders respond>
In September Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group commit US$ 3 billion to fight global warming. This includes all future proceeds from their transportation interests, which will be invested in renewable energy initiatives both within these transportation companies and further investments in new biofuel R&D production, distribution and other projects to tackle emissions related to global warming.

In the same month California governor Schwarzenegger signs legislation to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. “When I campaigned for governor three years ago, I said I wanted to make California No. 1 in the fight against global warming,” says Schwarzenegger.

In October the distinguished development economist and former chief economist of the World Bank, Sir Nicholas Stern releases his report on the potential economic impact of climate change. He claims that climate change represents the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen.

2018: 1st official climate refugee
Last year 16,000 illegal immigrants arrived on the Canary Islands using Africa’s back door, Nouadhibou in Mauritania, as their port of departure.

A special meeting of the Committee of Ministers for the supervision of the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights is held in August. The Committee of Ministers welcomes Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 6821 (2018) on protection and assistance for heat wave refugees seeking asylum. It has transmitted the recommendation to the governments of its member states. Azaris Ayi-Ansha becomes the first climate change refugee to be granted temporary asylum status in Europe.

2022: Record killer Heat wave strikes Northern Africa and Middle East>
85,000 people are estimated to have been killed in North Africa and the Middle East in what has been described as the worst heat wave in living memory. This year broke many records. It has been the hottest year on average globally since records began. The highest daytime temperature ever recorded was measured at 61.3°C in Libya. The longest extreme heat wave on record was reported from Ethiopia with temperatures above 45°C for 27 consecutive days. The World Health Organization is calling it a humanitarian disaster and has welcomed the spontaneous fund raising efforts of many countries around the world.

A record number of just over 100,000 climate change refugees have been given temporary asylum status in Europe. Officials are concerned that temporary accommodation facilities are taking strain and many refugees are failing to head back to Africa once their status expires at the end of the heat wave season.

2024: One Million Heat Wave Refugees
It is estimated that the number of heat wave refugees entering Europe this year has topped the one million mark. Court cases have been suspended in favor of a blanket exemption extended to everyone in order to cope with the unexpectedly large number of applicants following savage spells of extremely hot weather.

Links to related stories

Warning: Hazardous Thinking at Work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. © Public domain image.

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