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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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Deanne Bird, Robert McLeman, Guðrún Gísladóttir, Ilan Kelman, Marius Warg Næss and Guðrún Jóhannesdóttir