[ARCHIVE] Climate solely forcing migration?

Originally published Nov 29, 2018

Toby Fitzpatrick

6/12/20211 min read

A few weeks ago I wrote a post that delved a little into theories of migration and mobility. It is clear that climate affects the decisions to migrate in myriad ways, but are there clear-cut cases where climate change is the sole factor in a person's decision to migrate?

A new report from the Lancet, published yesterday, warns of impacts to global health caused by temperature rises and droughts. The report, which is a collaboration of 27 institutions spanning every continent, informs that a burgeoning burden will be placed on Health Institutions worldwide as temperatures continues to rise in the future.

The report also apprises that there is a lower-bound estimate of thousands of current migrants who's sole cause for displacement is climate change. The report notes the complexities associated with quantifying the extent to which climate drives migration. But nonetheless, it considers the case studies of particular Pacific Small Island Developing States, coastal Alaskan villages, and Louisiana. These vulnerable environments are already experiencing forced climate migration proper.

The media narrative usually focuses on migration in developing countries, but climate change affects the United States too. As a country with so much power, influence and a high rate of anthropogenic climate change denial, it is important to highlight the cases where climate change is affecting the US directly. The next several blog posts will consider different case studies, where the U.S's climate policies are impacting its own citizens.