Natural environment  |  Publications  |  16.11.2011

Climate changes migration

An educational documentary about climate refugees and the disproportionate impact of climate change on poorer people was produced by MEP Ska Keller on behalf of the Greens in the European Parliament. The movie aims at giving information and triggering a debate about climate induced migration.

Climate change is particularly drastic for states like Bangladesh or the Netherlands where a great share of the land is located under sea level. But how do people in both countries deal with this threat, in the rich Netherlands and the developing country Bangladesh? The Netherlands built dikes, polders and barriers and are thus relatively well protected against the impacts of climate change. For many people in Bangladesh, often only one option is left - they set out for finding another livelihood elsewhere.  

International law does not provide us with a definition for persons that have to flee because of environmental degradation or climate change. Expressions like environmental refugees, environmental migrants and climate refugees are discussed but none of them is 100% correct. Does a person decide to move to the capital because he/she hopes for a better job or because the animals do not find feed stuff anymore due to draught? People often do not migrate because of one single reason - economic, social and political factors also play a role.

There is no exact prognosis about the number of expected climate refugees. Estimations range from 50 million to 200 million until 2050. There is little data but almost all experts agree: migration flows will increase due to climate change.


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