Climate Change and Human Migration: Towards a Global Governance System to Protect Climate Refugees

F. Biermann, I.J.C. Boas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Climate change will fundamentally affect the lives of millions of people who will be forced over the next decades to leave their villages and cities to seek refuge in other areas. Although the exact numbers of climate refugees are unknowable and vary from assessment to assessment depending on underlying methods, scenarios, time frames, and assumptions (as laid out below), the available literature indicates that the climate refugee crisis will surpass all known refugee crises in terms of the number of people affected. Many climate refugees may seek refuge in their own countries; others will need to cross borders to find a new home. Some local refugee crises, in particular in the richer countries in the North, may be prevented through adaptation measures such as reinforced coastal protection or changes in agricultural production and water supply management. Many poorer countries, however, are unlikely to be able to initiate sufficient adaptation programmes, and climate-induced migration might be the only option for many communities in the South. In these situations, climate refugees will need to rely on effective protection and support from the international community, regardless of whether climate migration is internal or transnational.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change, Human Security and Violent Conflict
EditorsJ. Scheffran, M. Brzoska, H.G. Brauch, P.M. Link, J. Schilling
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages868
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameHexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate Change and Human Migration: Towards a Global Governance System to Protect Climate Refugees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this