Will Climate Change Lead to More Migration?

Will Climate Change Lead to More Migration?


Many fear that climate change will bring much of the world’s poor to the shores of Europe. As seas rise and resources become scarce, the wealthier and better-prepared states will be overrun, according to this narrative. But is this based in evidence? Not exactly, says Hein de Haas, renowned migration expert and Professor of Sociology.

In this episode, Hein criticises the frequently made connection between climate change and increased levels of migration to developed countries. 

Recommended Reading & Additional Viewing

Learn more from Hein on migration and climate change by reading his 2020 blog post, ‘Climate refugees: The fabrication of a migration threat‘ as well as Chapter 9 of The Age of Migration, one of the world’s leading textbooks on migration.*

Watch Migration Matters’ 2020 video series on the complex relationship between migration and climate change: 12 bite-sized videos chock full of evidence and insight with 3 academic experts and 8 young climate activists

Also recommended by Hein: A state-of-the-art resource looking at how changes in environmental conditions will affect patterns of human migration.

UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) answers some of the frequently asked questions related to climate change here.

Those already displaced by climate change have been so locally. See this piece on indigenous coastal communities in the U.S.

This report from the Migration Policy Institute explores the data behind real vs. exaggerated projections of climate-related migration.

In the news coverage of the Syrian conflict, drought caused by climate change is often linked to insecurity in the region. Two scholars dispute this association in an op-ed piece for The Guardian.

And here is a reminder that we should be very much concerned about climate change: This paper published in Science Advances suggests that the rate of global warming could be much faster than previously thought. Here, a summary of this paper.

*Excerpt from The Age of Migration, 5th Edition by Stephen Castles, Hein de Haas and Mark J. Miller. Reproduced with permission from Palgrave Macmillan. For full details of the book see here.

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Hein de Hass

Hein de Haas

Hein is Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He was a founding member and director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford. He is a co-author of The Age of Migration, a leading textbook in the field of migration. You can find more information and free downloads of his publications on his website. He also maintains a blog – we recommend this entry titled “Human migration: myths, hysteria and facts” and this one on migration and climate change.