Will Climate Change Lead to More Migration?

This is episode four of our course Migration 101. In this course, we’ve teamed up with Hein de Haas, one of the field’s leading scholars, to tackle some of the most commonly asked questions related to migration. After watching his videos, you’ll have a fundamental understanding of the realities surrounding today’s debate on migrants and the refugee crisis. We recommend Migration 101 as a primer for other Migration Matters courses.

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PART 4/10 OF MIGRATION 101

Many fear that climate change will bring much of the world’s poor to the shores of Europe. As seas rise and resources become scarce, the wealthier and better-prepared states will be overrun, according to this narrative. But is this based in evidence? Not exactly, Hein says.

In this episode, Hein criticises the frequently made connection between climate change and increased levels of migration to developed countries.

Recommended Reading

Learn more from Hein on migration and climate change by reading Chapter 9 of The Age of Migration, one of the world’s leading textbooks on migration.*

Also recommended by Hein: A state-of-the-art resource looking at how changes in environmental conditions will affect patterns of human migration.

UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) answers some of the frequently asked questions related to climate change here.

Those already displaced by climate change have been so locally. See this piece on indigenous coastal communities in the U.S.

This report from the Migration Policy Institute explores the data behind real vs. exaggerated projections of climate-related migration.

In the news coverage of the Syrian conflict, drought caused by climate change is often linked to insecurity in the region. Two scholars dispute this association in an op-ed piece for The Guardian.

And here is a reminder that we should be very much concerned about climate change: This paper published in Science Advances suggests that the rate of global warming could be much faster than previously thought. Here, a summary of this paper.

*Excerpt from The Age of Migration, 5th Edition by Stephen Castles, Hein de Haas and Mark J. Miller. Reproduced with permission from Palgrave Macmillan. For full details of the book see here.

Hein de Haas

Hein is Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He was a founding member and director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford. He is a co-author of The Age of Migration, a leading textbook in the field of migration. You can find more information and free downloads of his publications on his website. He also maintains a blog – we recommend this entry titled “Human migration: myths, hysteria and facts“.

Sign up now for our newest course, A Migrant’s View, here. It’s a bit different than our other courses, focussing on both research about so-called “origin countries” (where migrants and refugees come from) and stories of arrival, waiting, and return. And don’t miss our next course on integration and diversity in Europe! Sign up here to receive the full series once it’s finished. 

What is Migration Matters?

Migration Matters was founded in January 2016 to address the public’s biggest conundrums and fears surrounding migration and the so-called refugee crisis.

Our free video-based courses break down commonly held preconceptions about migration and offer nuanced and solution-oriented perspectives from leading thinkers in the field: researchers, practitioners, as well as migrants and refugees themselves.

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