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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Climate Change: Hurricane Maria May Be a Preview of Climate-Fueled Migration in America

Hurricane Maria May Be a Preview of Climate-Fueled Migration in America

Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico may offer a preview for Americans of one of the most jarring potential consequences of global warming: the movement of large numbers of people pushed out of their homes by the effects of climate change.

The storm, which destroyed houses, washed away roads and cut off power to the commonwealth’s 3.4 million residents, risks accelerating an exodus that’s already under way as people flee economic stagnation and rising taxes brought on by a fiscal and debt crisis.

On Tuesday, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello warned that without "unprecedented relief" from the U.S. government, "thousands if not millions" of residents could leave the island for the mainland. That would strain housing and job markets in the cities that received those people, as well as local government services.

In Puerto Rico, a further drop in population would make it harder to reverse its economic decline. The commonwealth declared bankruptcy in May and has stopped making payments on much of its more than $70 billion in debt. Fewer residents would mean less economic activity, further reducing tax revenue and leaving officials even less able to repay Puerto Rico’s loans.

Full story at

Source: Bloomberg

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