Research Handbook on Climate Change, Migration and the Law
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Research Handbook on Climate Change, Migration and the Law

Edited by Benoît Mayer and François Crépeau

This comprehensive Research Handbook provides an overview of the debates on how the law does, and could, relate to migration exacerbated by climate change. It contains conceptual chapters on the relationship between climate change, migration and the law, as well as doctrinal and prospective discussions regarding legal developments in different domestic contexts and in international governance.
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Chapter 2: Climate-related migration and its linkages to vulnerability, adaptation, and socioeconomic inequality: evidence from recent examples

Robert McLeman


This chapter reviews how relatively common climate-related phenomena such as floods, droughts, and extreme weather events influence migration and mobility patterns in vulnerable populations. Scientists expect that anthropogenic climate change will exacerbate existing environmental risks in many parts of the world and thereby increasing the frequency and scale of future environmental migration. Three recent examples of environmental migration – drought migration in the Sahel, flood-related migration in Bangladesh, and hurricane-related migration in Central America – are used to illustrate the complexity of interactions between climate and migration and the diversity of possible outcomes. Climate does not affect migration patterns in simple push-pull fashion; rather, migration outcomes are mediated by intervening economic, social, and political forces that affect the ability of exposed populations to adapt to climate-related threats to homes and livelihoods. With growing numbers of people living in areas highly exposed to the physical risks of climate change, there is growing urgency for policymakers, the legal community, and civil society to begin creating plans and establishing priorities for action.

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