There is growing concern that climate change may encourage large numbers of people to migrate over long distances. Yet a review of evidence by the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty (Migration DRC) questions the assumption that this type of migration is a likely outcome of climate change, as existing research shows that there is no direct relationship between climate shifts and long-distance migration. For poor people, in particular, long-distance migration is likely to be difficult in the face of deteriorating environmental conditions. Climate change may provoke some migration but this will likely occur within existing migration channels - at least at the outset. Given uncertainties about the timescale and geographical distribution of climate change, however, further research is needed to better predict how climate change will affect migration in different parts of the world in future decades.
Sussex, UK, DRC on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, 4 pp.
Briefing Paper 12. Migration and Climate Change: How will Climate Shifts Affect Migration Trends?