E.g., 02/26/2021
E.g., 02/26/2021

Climate Change

Climate Change

Climate change is a new driver of human migration that many people expect will dwarf all others in its impact. While the effects of climate change on migration have generated significant attention, some of the most commonly repeated predictions of the numbers of people who will be displaced are not informed by an understanding of migration dynamics. Displacement is almost always a result of a complex mix of factors; people adapt to changes and governments (and a few other powerful actors) can influence what kind of movements take place in response to environmental changes.

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The Divergent Trajectories of the Global Migration and Refugee Compacts: Implementation amid Crisis
Policy Briefs
December 2020
By  Lena Kainz, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Kathleen Newland
Policy Briefs
March 2014
By  Rabab Fatima, Anita Jawadurovna Wadud and Sabira Coelho
Policy Briefs
October 2013
By  Kathleen Newland
Download Policy Brief
Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Susan Martin
Policy Briefs
May 2013
By  Andrew Geddes and Will Somerville

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A man leans against the fence in the Dry Corridor of Honduras.

Climate change has had a devastating impact on many poor Central American farmers, which can contribute to food insecurity and may be prompting migration from the region's Dry Corridor. But the process is not straightforward. As this article explains, most poor farmers rely on a combination of buying, cultivating, and foraging for their food, which makes it difficult to predict how people will react to individual climate events.

Residents are affected by massive flooding in Thailand in 2011.

Migration can help build resilience against the encroaching effects of climate change. Instead of being passive victims of environmental degradation, individuals sometimes move to gain money, knowledge, and skills that can fortify their household of origin. Migrant workers from Thailand demonstrate how and under what conditions this process works.

A farmer in Tanzania tends to crops.

Climate-induced migration can lead to tensions and violence between host communities and new arrivals. This conflict can flare up at various levels, including among rural farmers and herders in relatively peaceful countries such as Tanzania.

A family in Pakistan walks through flooded streets

Climate change is affecting human movement now, causing internal displacement and international migration, and will do so in the future. But the impact is often indirect, and rarely is the process as straightforward as one might think. This article provides an overview of research on how climatic hazards drive and affect migration, reviewing which types of people might migrate and under what conditions.

Coastal communities in India are confronting the effects of sea-level rise, erosion, flooding, and cyclones. This article examines displacement and migration from Odisha, the Sundarbans delta, and Majuli island in the state of Assam, examining national and state responses and the principles that could inform the design of policies to address displacement due to climate-related hazards.

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cccm-ep7-farbotko
Expert Q&A, Audio
February 19, 2021

Among the earliest examples of the disruptions that climate change can bring, some low-lying island countries in the Pacific Ocean are facing serious threats from rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Over the long term, atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands might eventually need to relocate some or all of their populations.

cccm-ep6-mcleman
Expert Q&A, Audio
February 5, 2021

Climate change is already affecting how, whether, and where people migrate. But environmental change is likely to become more extreme in the coming decades, unless the world takes serious action now. How might changes made now impact what future migration looks like?

cccm-ep5-megan-carney
Expert Q&A, Audio
January 12, 2021

Reliable access to food—or lack thereof—can affect an individual’s decision to migrate. Climate change has the ability to exacerbate food insecurity, especially for farmers and others who live off the land, which can have repercussions for human mobility.

cccm-ep4-timo-schmidt
Expert Q&A, Audio
December 30, 2020

Billions of dollars are being spent on projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including those at risk of being displaced by environmental events. This episode features Timo Schmidt, from MPI Europe, in a discussion about the growing field of climate finance and its implications for migration management and displacement prevention.

Expert Q&A, Audio
December 16, 2020

Confronting environmental change, whole communities sometimes relocate from one area to another. This purposeful, coordinated movement, while currently rare, is referred to as managed retreat. In this episode Architesh Panda, from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, explains how this climate adaptation strategy works in India.

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Recent Activity

Expert Q&A, Audio
February 19, 2021

Among the earliest examples of the disruptions that climate change can bring, some low-lying island countries in the Pacific Ocean are facing serious threats from rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Over the long term, atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands might eventually need to relocate some or all of their populations. But not everyone wants to migrate, and governments have balanced supporting people who relocate with other ways of adapting to changing conditions.

Articles

Climate change has had a devastating impact on many poor Central American farmers, which can contribute to food insecurity and may be prompting migration from the region's Dry Corridor. But the process is not straightforward. As this article explains, most poor farmers rely on a combination of buying, cultivating, and foraging for their food, which makes it difficult to predict how people will react to individual climate events.

Expert Q&A, Audio
February 5, 2021

Climate change is already affecting how, whether, and where people migrate. But environmental change is likely to become more extreme in the coming decades, unless the world takes serious action now. How might changes made now impact what future migration looks like? This episode features a conversation with Robert McLeman, a geographer and environmental studies expert at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, about the possible scenarios that lie ahead for the relationship between climate change and migration, depending on how countries act in the next few decades.

Expert Q&A, Audio
January 12, 2021

Reliable access to food—or lack thereof—can affect an individual’s decision to migrate. Climate change has the ability to exacerbate food insecurity, especially for farmers and others who live off the land, which can have repercussions for human mobility. In this episode we talk with Megan Carney, an anthropologist and director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Regional Food Studies, to examine the role of food security in the connection between climate change and migration.

Expert Q&A, Audio
December 30, 2020

Billions of dollars are being spent on projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including those at risk of being displaced by environmental events. This episode features Timo Schmidt, from MPI Europe, in a discussion about the growing field of climate finance and its implications for migration management and displacement prevention.

Expert Q&A, Audio
December 16, 2020

Confronting environmental change, whole communities sometimes relocate from one area to another. This purposeful, coordinated movement, while currently rare, is referred to as managed retreat. In this episode Architesh Panda, from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, explains how this climate adaptation strategy works in India.

Reports
December 2020

Climate change is likely to increase the intensity of extreme-weather events already shaping human mobility and displacement. The nature, scale, and direction of future climate-related migration will depend on many factors. This report takes stock of the influence that different combinations of migration, development, and climate policies could have on migration in regions around the world for the 2020-2050 and 2050-2100 periods, using a first-of-its-kind systematic exercise.

Reports
December 2020

The link between climate change and migration is a complex one. Whether individuals move or stay in place can be voluntary or involuntary, a proactive strategy or last resort, and is part of a bigger story of global mobility and personal networks. This report examines this complicated relationship, highlights limitations of climate response measures to date, and presents an alternative, flexible approach based on the involvement of affected communities.

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