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A demographic perspective on environmental and climate change and population displacement

Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi, The University of Tehran
Ellen Percy Kraly, Colgate University

The number of forcibly displaced persons in the world surpassed 80 million in mid-2020. A significant number of refugees are environmental and climate-change driven who have been forced to leave their home, or their country, due to the effects of severe climate events, being forced to rebuild their lives in other places, despite the conditions to which they are subjected. The impact of climate change is divided into two distinct drivers of migration, climate processes and climate events. Non-climate drivers are also important. The impacts differ by the speed of change and the number of people it will affect. In brief, there is a complex relationship between environmental change and displacement, and the influence of non-climate drivers including demographic variables should not be underestimated. Thus, the climate impacts of forced movements should be analysed from a demographic perspective in order to mitigate the risks for the communities and populations at risks and with vulnerabilities. Demographers can serve in several areas including conceptual specification, analysis and measurement, data collection, predictions and modelling, policy and program design, as well as training and research for the understanding of climate impacts and risks of population displacement. These areas are briefly discussed in this paper.

Keywords: Refugees, Environmental studies, International migration, Migrant populations

See paper.

  Presented in Session 48. Migration, Space and Environment