Changing Climate, Changing Migration
When Climate Change Comes to Refugee Settings

When Climate Change Comes to Refugee Settings

December 10, 2021

Environmental disasters can force people out of their homes and communities, complicating responses to ongoing humanitarian protection efforts. As a result, many humanitarian organizations have started paying attention to the impacts of climate change for multiple aspects of their refugee protection work. For this episode, we speak with Joan Rosenhauer, the executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, about how natural disasters and other environmental harms affect her organization’s work and its faith-based mission.

Climate Change and Environmental Migration: View from the IOM

Climate Change and Environmental Migration: View from the IOM

October 27, 2021

The UN migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in 2015 created a special division responsible for migration-related issues involving the environment and climate change. The division just got a new leader and is looking to embark on a new agenda. This episode of the podcast features a discussion with new division head Manuel Marques Pereira, who talks about his office’s role and priorities in dealing with migration shaped by climatic events. 

Impacts of Extreme Heat: Global Warming and Migration

Impacts of Extreme Heat: Global Warming and Migration

October 11, 2021

Global warming and extreme heat are behind many of the phenomena linked to climate change. Hotter weather also has an impact on migration and on migrants, particularly in destinations such as the Middle East and parts of the United States. In recent years, there has been more attention paid to cases of migrant workers dying from the heat. In this episode, we speak with Tord Kjellstrom, a physician and researcher who has closely studied the relationship between extreme heat and population health, about what extreme heat means for migrants.

Retreating from Climate Disaster in the United States

Retreating from Climate Disaster in the United States

September 30, 2021

In Western countries, a common narrative has developed that only poor or developing nations will have to confront human displacement caused by climate change. But communities in the United States and elsewhere have repeatedly moved because of environmental disasters such as flooding. This episode features a discussion on the U.S. government’s responses to internal displacement, with Kavi Chintam and Chris Jackson, co-authors of an Issues in Science and Technology article analyzing the approach to managed retreat.

No “Climate Refugees,” But Still a Role for the UN Refugee Agency

No “Climate Refugees,” But Still a Role for the UN Refugee Agency

April 19, 2021

Technically, people forced to move because of climate disasters are not considered “refugees.” But the UN refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, still takes climate issues into account, and since 2020 Andrew Harper has been its special advisor on climate action. We talked with Harper about his agency’s role in responding to climate issues, which regions of the world are most likely to be affected by climate impacts, and why climate is a “vulnerability multiplier” for refugees.

The Benefits of Climate Migration

The Benefits of Climate Migration

April 2, 2021

Popular discussions usually frame climate change-induced migration negatively, often as a strategy of last resort. But migrating abroad can also be an effective way to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. This episode discusses how migration can bring social, economic, and other benefits to migrants and their communities, in conversation with University of Vienna human geographer Harald Sterly.

Is Climate Change Driving Migration from Central America?

Is Climate Change Driving Migration from Central America?

March 26, 2021

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence. In this episode, we hear from geographer and climatologist Diego Pons, of Colorado State University, to dissect how changing climate, food insecurity, and migration intersect in this region.

Who Manages Climate Migration? Evolving Global Governance

Who Manages Climate Migration? Evolving Global Governance

March 2, 2021

Climate change and international migration both are global issues with aspects that countries try to manage through treaties, pacts, and other types of agreements. But most of the global governance frameworks that exist for climate-induced migration require only voluntary commitments by states. This episode features a discussion with political scientist Nick Micinski, author of the forthcoming books, UN Global Compacts: Governing Migrants and Refugees and Delegating Responsibility: International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union.

Migrate or Adapt? How Pacific Islanders Respond to Climate Change

Migrate or Adapt? How Pacific Islanders Respond to Climate Change

February 19, 2021

Among the earliest examples of the disruptions that climate change can bring, some low-lying island countries in the Pacific Ocean are facing serious threats from rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Over the long term, atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands might eventually need to relocate some or all of their populations. But not everyone wants to migrate, and governments have balanced supporting people who relocate with other ways of adapting to changing conditions. Carol Farbotko, of Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Tasmania, joins the podcast to discuss the policies and dynamics in place in this region.

The Many Possible Futures of Climate-Linked Migration

The Many Possible Futures of Climate-Linked Migration

February 5, 2021

Climate change is already affecting how, whether, and where people migrate. But environmental change is likely to become more extreme in the coming decades, unless the world takes serious action now. How might changes made now impact what future migration looks like? This episode features a conversation with Robert McLeman, a geographer and environmental studies expert at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, about the possible scenarios that lie ahead for the relationship between climate change and migration, depending on how countries act in the next few decades.