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Climate Change, Displacement, Mobility and Migration: The State of Evidence, Future Scenarios, Policy Options

In this Delmi research overview, Mathias Czaika and Rainer Münz present the state of the field relating to the complex impact of climate and environmental change on the drivers and outcomes of mobility, displacement, and international migration.
Climate Change, Displacement, Mobility and Migration The State of Evidence, Future Scenarios, Policy Options

By Mathias Czaika and Rainer Münz

Climate change calls for concerted political action and a host of other efforts, not only to reach the goals set out by the global community to limit global warming but also to mitigate the effects it has on human conditions. One of these effects will inevitably be the short- and long-term displacements of the inhabitants of communities in affected areas and regions. However, to assess the magnitude of these effects is a very complex task and ponders the question of the state of the art of research in this field.

As shown in this research overview, past predictions of future migration that have guided decision- and policymakers have typically been incorrect, inflated and drawn up catastrophic scenarios of mass migration. Since migration, mobility, immobility, and displacement are connected to and influenced by a complex set of drivers, reality is more multifaceted. That the drivers also vary depending on the country/regional context implies that they demand different responses. To better meet the imperative of limiting, mitigating, and adapting to climate change and its effects, it is important to further investigate these complex drivers and factors that influence migration, mobility, immobility, and displacement, as well as their potential future impacts.

As we strive to meet the challenges of future climate related migration and mobility, one thing can be said for sure: any environmental determinism that draws a direct, causal, and often linear link from past, current, or projected future climate developments, to predictions about the exact scale of future human mobility and international migration, risks being misleading for decision- and policymakers. They find this is one of many import takeaways from this report.