Climate change and human migration

2021-05-20

in Politics, Security, The environment

One of the certain consequences of climate change is that it will change the relative prospects and appeal of living in different areas, both in the short-term as acute incidents like wildfires and floods occur and long-term as agricultural productivity, water availability, and sea level shift.

This is a reason why climate justice activists see migrant rights as fundamentally linked to the fight against climate change. Theoretically, it could also be a motivation for conservatives who are skeptical about large-scale and uncontrolled migration to do more about limiting how badly we damage the climate.

The scale of movement driven by climate disasters is already substantial, exceeding the level of internal displacement caused by war according to the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

Even in rich countries, a large scale managed retreat from coastal areas may be forced by storms and rising seas — a development that hasn’t yet percolated into the thinking of citizens and politicians.

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