As climate change is shifting the world in major dimension, we are led to ask ourselves the question of the protection of climate refugees.

On a global scale, nearly 250 million people could be forced to migrate by 2050, within their own country or to other countries on their continent, according to estimates by the International Office for Migration (IOM).

The cause is natural disasters linked to global warming: entire regions will probably be wiped off the map. According to the UN Human Rights Commission, Kiribati and its 100,000 inhabitants could become "landless" because of global warming, as could the Maldives, Tuvalu and Tokelau.

According to the World Bank, 100 million people are at risk of being driven into complete destitution by global warming alone.

Environmental migrants would not be "refugees" under current international law, as they cannot claim a fear of persecution because of their membership of a social group.

However, the Geneva Convention does not define persecution, or does not define it well, any more than the European directives or other international texts, so the notion is subject to variable interpretation and States have a wide margin of appreciation.

However, can we not consider that, due to the effect of environmental changes which are directly caused by man and whose causality with this phenomenon is obvious, the violation of the most elementary fundamental rights of the populations (right to housing, to food, to health, etc.) .
If the populations that are victims of climate regulation are indeed "social groups" in the sense of the Geneva Convention, it would be necessary, however, that the persecution be directed against individuals because they belong to a certain community, which is not the case.

Climate asylum would therefore not exist within the meaning of the Geneva Convention and the interpretation would not be sufficient to extend protection to environmental migrants.

The Kampala Convention on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, which entered into force in 2012, has, for example, an article on internal displacement related to climate change and natural disasters; it provides for the guarantee of respect for the rights of these refugees, including reception without discrimination, humanitarian assistance or the issuance of identity documents.

Switzerland and Norway have launched the Nansen initiative, which aims to define by 2015 a series of recommendations for the reception and protection of cross-border migrants, victims of an environmental disaster, whether sudden or gradual.

Two other countries, Sweden and Finland, have extended the Geneva Convention in their national legislation by granting a right of asylum to victims of natural disasters.

However, no other State is currently willing to revise the Geneva Convention or to define a new refugee status for climate refugees through a new international convention.

The environment has become a major challenge of our century and the situation of "climate migrants" cannot be avoided any longer. International governance mechanisms must therefore be devised. They will foreshadow the implementation of larger projects that will allow us to evolve towards a world that is better able to protect man and his environment.