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Refugees: Justice and Ethics Library Display 2020

Infographic on climate change depicting the hardest hit areas and the largest contributors to the pollution. See heading Description for more details.


Bianca Mantovani and Mostafa Donia


Infographic on climate change depicting the hardest hit areas and the largest contributors to the pollution.


According to Encyclopedia Britannica, climate change is the periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system. Although the Earth has always gone through natural climate cycles, climate change today is being exacerbated by the immense amount of carbon dioxide and other fossil fuels we are emitting into the atmosphere. Many people dismiss climate change as a problem for the future, however they fail to recognize that countries around the world are already feeling the effects of phenomena brought on by this problem such as, rising sea levels or extreme weather which lead to economic instability and lives lost. By 2050, the United Nations estimates about 200 million people will become climate refugees. The infographic gives the viewer a general visualization of countries at risk and countries at fault. It goes into further detail by focusing on three countries in each category and explaining specifics for each. The research is concluded with a chart depicting how many refugees countries should aid according to the Pottery Barn Rule.

The first section, the map, highlights twelve countries, six of the most affected countries right now and six of the countries causing climate change. To find out the six countries that are the most responsible for climate change we used CO2 emissions numbers from 2017. China is ranked as the highest emitter producing 9.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide followed by the US with 4.8 gigatonnes, India with 2.2 gigatonnes, Russia with 1.5 gigatonnes, Japan with 1.1 gigatonnes, and Germany with 0.7 gigatonnes. These countries have heavy industries which lead to more pollution. The six countries that have been most affected in different ways are Bangladesh, Somalia, Haiti, Maldives, Yemen and Kenya. The infographic highlights the top three countries more in depth to understand the unique situation in each country. First we looked at Bangladesh. Due to rising sea levels, by 2050, the country will lose about 11% of its land to rising sea levels, displacing about 15 million people. We also highlighted Somalia. About 60% of Somalia's GDP comes from agriculture. The country is currently under extreme drought leading to economic instability and starvation. Lastly we focused on Haiti, Rising temperatures and increased flooding from severe hurricanes will cause desertification in about 50% of Haiti.

The final portion of the infographic shows a pie chart pertaining to the question, how many refugees should liable countries take in. The percentages were calculated based on 2017 carbon emissions and the estimated number of 200 million climate change refugees by 2050. According to the data, China should take in 36.3% of the 200 million refugees, the U.S. should take 18.7%, India should take 8.6%, Russia should take 5.8%, Japan should take 4.3%, Germany should take 2.7% and the remaining 23.6% would be split up among other countries. The data was based off of the Pottery Barn Rule which is an ethical expression coined by Colin Powell in 2003. He used it in regards to the U.S. obligation to aid Iraq in reconstruction since they played a part in the war. The term is also referred to as, "You break it, you buy it." This chart follows the same concept. The countries who contributed the most to climate change in carbon emissions are obligated to take in more climate refugees and give more aid. The calculations were based off of the projected estimate of 200 million refugees by 2050.

Photo Credits

Abassi, Logan. Hurricane Matthew Makes Landfall in Haiti.
Habich, Andreas. Benxi Steel Industries.
Palmer, Neil. India Burning 48.
Raqu, Rafiqur. Bangladesh Battles in the Frontline against Climate Change.
Shaftel, Holly. Why Global Temperature Matters.
Vetterle, Ralf. Industry Pollution Smog.

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