Colorado Firm Urges Community Leaders to Address Climate Migration Crisis

Local immigration attorney Kim Baker Medina speak about her work representing asylum seekers at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ.

Local sustainable engineering and planning firm Brendle Group released a 10-page white paper Wednesday, August 5 to provide business and community leaders specific guidance on how to address issues surrounding climate-included migration caused by rising sea levels, droughts and heatwaves.

UN agencies the World Bank and others predict that 200 million people will be displaced by climate change impacts in the year 2050. The white paper, titled “International Climate Migration: What Can U.S. Communities Do?” offers recommendations on local action for local government leaders engaged in climate action planning.

“The paper provides a valuable overview of a complex and sticky challenge that sub-national governments are already managing on their own with very little guidance or institutional support from the federal government,” said Anna Marandi at the National League of Cities.

Key messages in the white paper are as follows:

  • International climate migrants are already coming to the U.S., especially from Central America, where drought has decimated farming economies over the last five years.
  • In the U.S., creating policies to accommodate climate migrants would require a significant shift in immigration politics. However, a proactive stance by U.S. cities, towns and counties can reduce human suffering while presenting opportunities for economic recovery.
  • Local leaders can take actions now with an integrated approach to climate resiliency and refugee resettlement such as including climate migration as a topic in climate action planning; working with universities and nonprofits to survey recent migrants who departed their countries due to climate change; and building on existing “sister city” relationships to explore climate change impacts.

“Climate migration is a serious issue but is also an emerging field with room for hope and inspiration,” said Judy Dorsey, president of Brendle Group. “Many U.S. communities are already innovators in responding to climate change, disaster displacement, and refugee resettlement. Building on these strengths, any community can benefit from a forward-thinking, inclusive, and compassionate stance on global climate migration,” Judy said.

Download the white paper here.

About Brendle Group: Founded in 1996, Brendle Group is a Colorado-based engineering and planning firm that delivers meaningful energy, water and climate solutions; incorporates system resilience; and connects the natural and built environment. Visit

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