Edited by Benoît Mayer, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong and François Crépeau, Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Professor in Public International Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada
The recognition of “climate migrants” and “climate migration” in a draft text of the Paris climate change agreement was welcomed by human rights advocates Friday, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which said millions more people will be displaced by the effects of climate change if world leaders fail to curb global warming.
With some one billion people on the move around the world, we are confronted with tragedies brought about by migration. The effects of climate change, that force people to migrate either within countries or across borders, compound these tragedies.
Climate change is now adding new layers of complexity to the nexus between migration and the environment. Coastal populations are at particular risk as a global rise in temperature of between 1.1 and 3.1 degrees C would increase the mean sea level by 0.36 to 0.73 meters by 2100, adversely impacting low-lying areas with submergence, flooding, erosion, and saltwater intrusion, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). But even before such catastrophes strike, the 660 to 820 million people who depend on a fishing livelihood – more so subsistence-based traditional fis