How best to deal with the problem of climate refugees?

Martyn Todd is a retired public servant. Worried about climate change since reading The Doomsday Book by Gordon Rattray Taylor in 1969.
Nearly every day in recent months, changing weather patterns have been on the news.  More named storms than ever before, floods galore and tornado damage in places where this has never happened before.  Nearly everybody accepts these events as the result of global warming.
Similarly, immigration to the United States and European countries is featured in the news nearly daily.  Tragic stories of lives lost in small boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea or the English Channel are regular features, as are stories of growing resistance from local residents to more refugees and immigrants being brought to their areas.  The rise of populist, anti-immigration political parties is a result of the need to welcome more and more displaced people and people seeking better lives.
There is no sign of either issue lessening in the foreseeable future, so global warming and immigration are probably the two issues that will have the greatest impact during the 21st century, if not on us, then on our children and grand children.  They are strongly linked.
As areas near the equator become uninhabitable for the poor (the rich can always afford air conditioning and desalination), people will move towards the north and south poles.  So far, this century, we have seen individuals and families migrate, in growing numbers as time goes on.  Thankfully,  we have not seen a mass movement of armed people such as the Visigoths or Genghis Khan, both driven from areas damaged by famine and migrating to conquer more fertile areas.  Such mass movements of armed people have happened many times in history and cannot be ruled out as a possibility in the future.  If the individual migrants that we see in growing numbers risking everything to leave their home countries ever become coordinated into large groups and become armed, it will be Europe and the United States who will most likely bear the brunt.
As the planet warms, the uninhabitable zones expand slowly towards the poles.  Towards the South Pole the area of available land diminishes and much of it in South America is very mountainous.  Towards the North Pole there are millions of acres of land that will become less harsh for human life in coming decades.  Most of these acres are in Canada and Russia, countries that are far from densely populated.
At last, The United Nations has succeeded in persuading all its member countries to accept that global warming is happening.  It also needs to persuade all its member countries that continued migration is an inevitable consequence of global warming that must be addressed collectively. But the UN is also uniquely placed to offer a strategic solution to this growing problem.
Imagine if:
– the UN put together a plan to build new cities in northern Canada and Russia – attractive, modern cities with all the social, economic and medical facilities that a fully functioning community needs.
– Canada and Russia were persuaded that taking in millions of migrants in a controlled way would strengthen their countries and put them on a par with the US and China.
– the wealthy countries of Europe and the Middle East, who are struggling with the growing immigration crises, were persuaded to fund these new northern cities, through the UN
– a controlled migration for all those needing or wanting to leave their homes was put in place, preventing so much death and hardship that is happening today with illegal migration.
The outcomes would include:
– a United Nations that has a major coordinating role in bringing about a better future for millions in un-inhabitable areas,
– lessening the risk to democracy in Europe and the US that is currently being damaged by populist anti-immigration politics,
– less suffering and death for millions of migrants and
– a managed settlement of northern territories that will become more and more habitable by the end of the century.
Where the United States was the destination in the 19th and 20th centuries for “..your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..”, the land within the Arctic Circle could be the destination in the 21st Century.
Editors note: I know the primary responses to the post will be to point out the West is in a proxy war with Russia, and people are trying to leave that country, not move to it. Also, there are historical reasons why these areas of the world have traditionally been uninhabitable. I ask you not to get hung up on these examples but to consider the broader point of how we deal with climate refugees. Brian

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