Climate migration: what the research shows is very different from the alarmist headlines

David Durand-Delacre, University of Cambridge; Carol Farbotko, University of the Sunshine Coast; Christiane Fröhlich, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, and Ingrid Boas, Wageningen University

Predictions of mass climate migration make for attention-grabbing headlines. For more than two decades, commentators have predicted “waves” and “rising tides” of people forced to move by climate change. Recently, a think-tank report warned the climate crisis could displace 1.2 billion people by 2050. Some commentators now even argue that, as the New York Times noted in a recent headline “The Great Climate Migration Has Begun”, and that the climate refugees we’ve been warned about are, in fact, already here.

These alarming statements are often well-intentioned. Their aim is to raise awareness of the plight of people vulnerable to climate change and motivate humanitarian action on their behalf. But such headlines aren’t always accurate – and rarely achieve their intended effect.

Our main concern is that alarming headlines about mass climate migrations risk leading to more walls, not fewer. Indeed, many on the right and far right are now setting aside their climate denialism and linking climate action to ideas of territory and ethnic purity. In this context of growing climate nationalism, even the most well-intentioned narratives risk feeding fear-based stories of invasion when they present climate migration as unprecedented and massive, urgent and destabilising.

The risk is only made worse when headlines point to racialised populations from the global south as on their way to the European Union, the US or Australia: places already in the grips of moral panics about migration.

We do not deny that climate change influences migration. We cannot ignore the damage done to communities around the world by rising sea levels, worsening droughts and catastrophic forest fires. These raise new and serious challenges we must contend with. Yet the above narratives are misleading and damaging, when the concept of human mobility requires a deeper and more nuanced approach. It’s important we take these harsh realities seriously but avoid being too alarmist or seeing everything as being determined by the climate.

In general, we are concerned by the inaccurate portrayal of migration. People have always moved under the combined influences of changing environments, economies and sociopolitical dynamics. Climate migration is neither new nor extraordinary. It is not even that different from other forms of migration – climate migrants still tend to move to places they know or have connections to through their social networks.

These are key aspects of the idea of “climate mobilities”, which we developed in a Nature Climate Change commentary with 31 co-authors including anthropologists, geographers and political scientists. We point to how mobility in the context of climate change is highly diverse – what the vast body of empirical research on the subject has shown is far different from the image of mass movements of people moving abroad.

Instead, we see highly varied and fragmented climate-related journeys. For instance, climate mobility can take the form of short-term, short-distance movements, rural-to-urban migration, or voluntary immobility. Contrary to the alarmist rhetoric of mass international migration, most movements do not involve crossing a border. For instance a million Somalians were internally displaced by a drought in 2016-17 – this dwarfs the numbers involved in any international climate migration.

Two women and their babies walk across a dry desert.
The 2016 drought also displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Ethiopia – but again, almost all stayed within the country. UNICEF Ethiopia, CC BY-NC-SA

Fully understanding climate mobilities requires a broader evidence base than is typically used. Many problematic narratives rely mainly on quantitative modelling, reading peoples’ experiences only through that lens. More research collaboration with the social sciences and humanities would improve our understanding, as these disciplines can provide a sensitivity to context that models alone will never achieve.

Affected people are telling their own stories

As we turn to a more diverse set of perspectives, affected people must themselves be included. They are already telling their own stories, in their own words. It’s crucial that we listen, especially when they contradict our research findings and personal intuitions. Listening to Pacific Islanders, for example, tells us that easy tales of “sinking islands” aren’t the whole story. Activists throughout the region have distilled their message of themselves as powerful actors in the fight for climate justice (and against climate migration) in the catchcry: “We are not drowning, we are fighting”.

Protesters hold up signs
‘We are not drowning, we are fighting’ Carol Farbotko, Author provided

Halfway across the world, interviews with young farmers in Senegal living in precarious situations found that, while climate change does threaten their livelihoods, it is not their key concern, and they do not see migration as a problem. They want stronger local government, more local economic opportunities and the choice to migrate regardless of cause, if it can mean a better life for them and their families.

Finally, research and reporting on climate migration needs to better consider destination areas. Policymakers throughout the global north are notoriously incapable and reluctant to take the complex realities of migration into account, to the point of sometimes disregarding the research they fund. Instead they justify anti-immigration policies such as the UK’s “hostile environment” by presenting the interests and desires of “native” populations as competing with those of new arrivals.

These narratives of inevitable economic and cultural conflict need to be challenged. For this, we can draw on a large body of work that shows migrants aren’t all rich and successful, or poor and excluded, and that successful projects take these differences into account, listen to migrants themselves and promote open dialogue with established populations.

Building an open, diverse, and accepting society in times of crisis and change is a difficult task. We should take care not to make it harder by promoting fear-based stories of climate migration.

David Durand-Delacre, PhD Candidate in Geography, University of Cambridge; Carol Farbotko, Human Geographer, University of the Sunshine Coast; Christiane Fröhlich, Research Fellow, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, and Ingrid Boas, Associate Professor, Wageningen University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Bob boder
October 9, 2020 6:35 am

Climate migration, like says Germans pouring into Europe after the Roman warming period or Mongol armies spread out across a continent from areas that typically are sparsely populated?

mark from the midwest
Reply to  Bob boder
October 9, 2020 7:22 am

Most of the history of the world invovles people moving from one place to another in response to short-term issues.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  mark from the midwest
October 9, 2020 10:38 am


Talk to a historian sometime about why people migrated to the Great Plains. It wasn’t to move to a land of milk and honey.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 9, 2020 2:24 pm

Yes, to people of European descent, original American colonists, west of the Mississippi as forests dwindled away they were terrified by the wide open spaces

Javert Chip
Reply to  Bob boder
October 9, 2020 10:57 am

Florida gets a pant-load of climate refugees every year. We call ’em “snow birds”.

Some of them are even moving here; we hope the ditch the blue-state bullshit.

October 9, 2020 6:39 am

Why aren’t we supporting the efforts being made to adapt to climate conditions through stabilization of agriculture?

Rhamis Kent: Permaculture in Somalia (IPC10 Presentation – Video)

Listen to the commentary on the destabilizing effect of colonization, global aid agencies, the World Bank, the IMF in compounding the harsh climate in Somalia.

Curious George
Reply to  Sommer
October 9, 2020 8:17 am

Why don’t we try it in Armenia and Azerbaijan?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Sommer
October 9, 2020 1:06 pm

Religious wars.

Reply to  Sommer
October 12, 2020 6:11 am

Take a look at this letter about the unacceptable situation in Sweden with people from Somalia.

Ron Long
October 9, 2020 6:50 am

What a bunch of nonsense. Why do “climate refugees” always migrate to countries with both strong economies and liberal policies? Handout? Here’s the acid test: open northern Canada to Homesteading. If you emigrate there and start farming and improve the land you gain title to the land after two years. Remember, the American west was settled largely by these homesteaders. Sooners? People rushing into Oklahoma (Oklahoma is OK) to homestead (some enterprising homesteaders crossed the line too soon, hence the nickname). Who would emigrate to northern Canada? A few hippie pot farmers maybe? Nobody. End of the discussion about climate refugees.

Joe Campbell
Reply to  Ron Long
October 9, 2020 7:28 am

Ron Long: “What a bunch of nonsense”. Thanks!…

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Ron Long
October 9, 2020 7:28 am

Hi Ron, a bit of interesting history re economic migrants – homesteaders -to Canada (My father was born on a homestead at the turn of the 19th-20th C. in western Manitoba). The last free land parceled out in the US was in the Panhandle of Texas and there was a very large turnout for the limited land available. The Canadian government, aware of this, sent a land agent down to the Panhandle to set up shop, inviting those who failed to get land in Texas to come up to the Canadian west from Saskatchewan to B.C. This giveaway and subsequent interest from the news resulted in more than a million Americans settling in W Canada.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 9, 2020 10:49 am

Gary Pearse

US population in 1900 was 76 million.

Got a cite to support the claim that 1M (1.3%) of those Americans moved to W Canada due to the giveaway?

Reply to  Javert Chip
October 9, 2020 11:37 am

possibly he is talking about the time span from 1900-1915 , Yukon Gold rush was in full swing and enticed many immigrants, not free land. nearly 1/2 of the new arrivals came from United Kingdom

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Javert Chip
October 9, 2020 2:26 pm

3 of my 4 grandparents were Americans from northern USA states.
Still see the odd Christmas card from Kentucky too
Got to go see those people someday

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Javert Chip
October 9, 2020 4:06 pm

Hi Javert, I saw this in an article a very long time ago (I’m son of a homesteader who moved to the city in the 1920s) and it was also part of family lore- that’s the only way I came to know about the Texas land giveaway. However, I will see what I can dig up for you. The million or so didnt all come from the Texas set-up but the publicity of this attracted many to follow. How can I get anything I find to you? It may take a day or more. Gary

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Javert Chip
October 9, 2020 5:19 pm

Javert: this is what I have so far:

In which:

“This system covered 200 million acres and is the world’s largest survey grid laid down in a single integrated system. It led to the creation of more than 1.25 million homesteads.”

An average family was probably more than 5 people (my great grandfather arrived with wife and seven children!) so more than 5 million people arrived from somewhere! The three prairie provinces are each about the size of Texas and some land was also homesteaded in the interior of British Columbia.

I hope this helps validate order of magnitude. By the way the land was given away up until 1930. Also many European homesteaders gave up their land after one winter and these were re-cycled back to new ones. There weren’t many (any?) from the US that gave up and left. You can freeze your butt off in The Dakotas, Wisconsin. Minnesota, Nebraska and Montana as easy as you can in the Canadian Prairies.

Thomas Burk
Reply to  Ron Long
October 9, 2020 7:29 am

I am intrigued by Canada and the history of its exploration. There is more beauty in Canada than almost anywhere. But the Canadian north has to be some of the most miserable, bleak landscape anywhere. Read Adam Shoalts’ book “Beyond the Trees” about his trek across it. Wherever it is not hopelessly barren, it is filled with endless swamps and infested with hoards of mosquitoes and clouds of black flies. It actually sounds worse than Siberia, and that is saying something.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Thomas Burk
October 9, 2020 8:47 am

Thomas -“One swallow does not a summer make”. I’ve worked in northern Canada from Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador (this double-barreled name is the official name of the province) to the Yukon (now a province). To me it is one of the most beautiful stretches of land anywhere.

I’ve been in the far north of Norway and Sweden, too and thought the same.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 9, 2020 8:58 am

Yukon is not a province.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 9, 2020 9:22 am

Not sure where you get that Gary, but I don’t believe it’s accurate that Yukon is now a province.

Thomas Burk
Reply to  Rich Davis
October 9, 2020 10:40 am

Thanks Rich and Gary. Absolutely the Yukon is amazing (and is apparently controlled more by the federal government than its own people — to Rich’s point). I was talking about the northern Canadian Shield and the northern Mackenzie river valley specifically. I’d like to learn more about Labrador and northern Quebec province. I gather it is almost as harsh a place as the northern Canadian Shield.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Rich Davis
October 9, 2020 10:52 am

Yukon is a territory, not a province.

Provinces have more control over their internal affairs.

Mick Walker
Reply to  Thomas Burk
October 9, 2020 9:04 am

What Canada desperately needs is some serious climate change!
Do their politicians realise this?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Mick Walker
October 9, 2020 2:28 pm

No, we stupid.

Our politicians seem to believe we are better off in an ice age

“Too stupid to live”
Canadian politician operating principle

Reply to  Ron Long
October 9, 2020 8:48 am

During the 1930s the Peace River country of northern Alberta at least had water. link As such, it did receive climate refugees.

If the climate does warm up, there is plenty of unsettled land below the tree line. With a little work much of it could be farmed.

I am reminded of the fact that people tried farming in the early twentieth century in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. There are few traces of those early settlers and the land has mostly become ranches. In that light, I wonder how ranchers would do on a somewhat warmer Canadian Shield. Right now it’s a little dodgy for the Wood Buffalo (bison) but that could change.

Reply to  Ron Long
October 9, 2020 9:08 am

Because by chance the developed countries are in the northern temperate zones. No more, no less.

Reply to  griff
October 9, 2020 9:53 am

… by chance …

No. People adapted to living in a relatively harsh environment. That gave rise to the kind of cultures that led to development.

Reply to  griff
October 9, 2020 10:47 am

Is that the Friday Funny?

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
October 9, 2020 12:47 pm

NOPE…because people didn’t want to colonize Antarctica
And prior to the end of the LIA, those same temperate zones were still quite cold
The developed countries were settled to get away from over controlling governance from afar and became developed LONG after the end of the LIA.

Reply to  griff
October 9, 2020 1:11 pm

yes griff .. those countries were “developed” before anyone moved there… right ??

You say some pretty dumb things, and they just keep getting dumber.

When are you moving to Siberia , griff.? or is it too warm for you there.

Reply to  griff
October 11, 2020 4:51 am

Where did the chance come in, those countries fought wars for the land they control .. same as we will fight leftards like you Griff.

Reply to  Ron Long
October 10, 2020 12:23 am

It has got nothing to do with climate or anything else. It is population replacement. Whitey must go and Brownie must replace him. All plain and open presented in Critical Race Theory based on the Frankfurter Schule’s Cultural Marxism. Read and be afraid
Do not be fooled, this is a declaration to end all things “White” including of course lives. Antifa and BLM are currently practicing this theory. Things will get worse so be prepared.
If you think that institutions like police, army, national guard, or the justice system will deal with these terrorists, you are sadly mistaken. Since the 1960’s the long march through the institutions has made sure that the poison of Cultural Marxism is everywhere and you are effectively surrounded. Only you can protect yourself

Steve Richards
October 9, 2020 6:51 am

“Our main concern is that alarming headlines about mass climate migrations risk leading to more walls, not fewer.”

Fewer walls are better! Ordinary people may disagree with this statement.

I would expect that those living in drought prone areas of Africa would appreciate a canal system that shifted vast quantities of water from wet areas to drier areas. That would be a game changer from the perspective of jobs and food.

And what climate crisis are they referring to?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Steve Richards
October 9, 2020 8:36 am

“And what climate crisis are they referring to?”

The political one. There is no other kind.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 9, 2020 11:06 am

Jeff, thanks. It is great to read the truth in a few words.

Bob boder
Reply to  Steve Richards
October 9, 2020 8:49 am

Game changer? It would leads to more population growth and more suffering. Until freedom and individual liberty are the norm no amount assistance or any other aid will help, it will just lead to larger population and more need.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bob boder
October 9, 2020 9:20 am

Africans also need to shed their extreme superstition. It’s certainly not helping them make rational decisions.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Steve Richards
October 9, 2020 9:02 am

Africa regularly faces droughts and floods. When the waters can be stored in large dams this enables irrigation of the driest areas and hugely mitigates the problem of droughts.

The Western Cape dams are presently over 100%. This water supply helps explain why it is such a successful fruit growing area. The biggest, the Theewaterskloof Dam, which supplies 53% was built over 40 years ago by the apartheid government.

The three main dams supplying Port Elizabeth were completed in 1946, 1969 and 1982. The city is, however, in dire straights. The main dam is at 8%. The pipeline to the most consistent supply is damaged. Leaks in the system lead to a considerable loss. The dams were constructed at the initiative of white “colonists.” The present black municipal council is characterized by incompetence, maladministration and corruption. In 2010 the city built a very costly stadium for the soccer World Cup. This would have been far better spent on providing a new water source and to cover important maintenance.

For Africa, climate change is not the problem – the people are and especially the leaders they choose.

navy bob
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 9, 2020 10:00 am

The word is “straits” as in those of Gibraltar and Malacca – or the band.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  navy bob
October 9, 2020 5:54 pm

Thanks. Silly mistake.

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 9, 2020 7:06 am

The Conversation is having a lovely time dribbling over people who run into a few years of bad weather.

Read the history, like for example (Wikiperia):
“… In the 19th and early 20th centuries, about 1.3 million Swedes left Sweden for the United States of America. …”

Many Europeans moved to the US due to hard times.
The Swedes had additional religious reasons to move. The church was more dominant than the government is today. The church’s indoctrinational behavior and snobbery from the elite made so many move to the US Mid West, which was known to have religious freedom and good agricultural possibilities.

Is this different from today?
People fleeing from war, bad economy and religious fanatics choose countries with reported better economy and in many sad cases to countries allowing fanatic religious practices.
Climate change (weather over 30 years periods) is slow and inconceivable to the human body. People are moving due to immediate issues like weather, economy, war or bad governments.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 9, 2020 7:48 am

Yes, sea level rise causing climate migration is a joke except maybe for islanders. If the sea level rises on the continents, exactly who is going to need to migrate? How many millions live on the sea shores? Think elites and their sea side mansions.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jim Gorman
October 9, 2020 8:40 am

I live on an island. I’ve looked at old aerial photos and compared them to Google Earth images. You can clearly see the high water marks are no different today than from 60 years ago. This island (Whidbey) has some VERY low-lying sections. If sea levels were rising at the purported rates, this would be more like three islands instead of one.

My observational evidence calls BS.

Perkins David
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 9, 2020 6:44 pm

In northern latitudes, there is still glacial rebound. I think in Norway, the sea level may be dropping

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 9, 2020 8:00 am

My impression is that people who cannot get their work published in journals of substance turn to The Conversation to publish their studies.

The areas many Africans are moving from could offer them far better futures if they were prepared work hard, enforce law and order, choose wise and competent leaders, focus on individual responsibility rather than entitlement and limit government control over their lives. But this is unlikely to happen.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 9, 2020 9:05 am

typo: prepared to work hard

October 9, 2020 7:22 am

And to think that in the US, Central America and (warmer) parts of Europe so many climate refugees, most speaking English, that are ignored. They’ve been so obvious for decades and a lot began in the early 19th century.

Yet not one fits the narrative and never will. They are for the most part a little more wealthy than average, are retired or can take the time, and include lots of New Yorkers heading to Florida for the winter, then many moving there at the end of their lives. And this started in the early 19th century and put Miami on the map, along with Cuba until the middle of the 20th century.

Then in the west, especially after the invention of that egregious internal combustion engine, creating the people we know as “snow birds” who are mainly from Canada, heading to the southern parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California and northern Mexico. They are joined with our own “refugees”–people of the rust belt and northern climes of the US, including Washington, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

For Alaskans in the winter, a few hours flight brings them a world away to the south and the beaches of the Hawaiian Islands, long away from the darkness and cold.

If those warmer climates are too crowded or not warm enough, there’s a bunch more flying even further south to Belize and Costa Rica from both the US and Canada.

For wealthy Brits and the partying-class it’s the Balearic Islands of Spain: Majorca, Minorca & Ibeza, and that’s even in summer.

I’m sure there are hundreds of examples. But none will ever be news and no UN commission formed on their behalf nor studies. In face, the UN would most likely wish they were all stopped, stripped of their wealth and then put in their care with another problem needing their largess, expertise to solve the problem, then control.

These “refugees” involve the non-impoverished using technology, long-distance and temporary displacement, especially using the endangered fossil fuels to solve their own problems, traveling long distances, escaping from the cold, and in the U.S. & Canada, using lots of large, gas-guzzling pickups pulling massive, luxury travel trailers or motor homes, or flying long distances, not walking or using alternative transit. They are generally white, not people of color, the downtrodden. And not one trying to escape the ravages of a fractional increase of temperature as predicted by dozens and dozen of inaccurate, data-challenged models predicting doom and gloom the opposite of a harsh winter’s reality.

Most travel with documents, passports and visas, some limiting their visits, with most just long enough to avoid the freezing or miserable conditions affecting their permanent homes before the time expires and spring once returns to their home lands and they all happily return north.

These long-term refugees of the climate are not the colorful natives, fodder for the colorful, tear-jerking squalor of the glossy pages of National Geographic, Newsweek and The Atlantic, nor the impoverished refugee camps cherry-picked and portrayed by the minute as a result of globe-trotting, jet-setting junket reporters from an alphabet of networks with anchors on the evening programs of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or dozens like them spewing the latest narrative of the moment for a few more points of ratings from an ever dwindling audience.

The real climate refuges think on their own and solve their own problems. They have the wealth to act and not run from the warmth or need the help of Big G or self-service NGOS, but escape the bad climates of northern climates of their own free will and enjoy the freedom their wealth allows them and enjoy their lives while they are still able.

George Daddis
October 9, 2020 7:22 am

“….many on the right and far right are now setting aside their climate denialism and linking climate action to ideas of territory and ethnic purity.”

The authors are showing their Progressive bias by confounding rational concern for mass violations of established immigration laws with the legal movement of people and cultures across boundaries.

It is the Left who have suddenly decided immigration laws are “Racist”.
People in government (Left and Right) have ALWAYS been concerned about “territory”.

It is true that Conservatives (the Right) tend to be more skeptical of alarmist claims, but I never associated what the Left calls the “Far Right” with any interest at all in the “Climate” issue .

To frame concern about Climate Alarmism and Illegal Immigration as alternative choices is a ridiculous argument.

Gunga Din
Reply to  George Daddis
October 9, 2020 3:26 pm

“CAGW” has always been “Pitifu … er … Political Science”, a lever and excuse to sell the idea that Man NEEDS to be controlled to “Save the Planet”. (Cue George Carlin and/or The Green New Deal)

Harry Davidson
October 9, 2020 7:36 am

Anyone who is not worried about the rising tide of Muslim migration is a fool. Even my Pakistani neighbour, now sadly dead, was worried about it. If you trouble to talk to them in a frank and open way, you will find that young Muslim men generally have a very aggressive attitude to Western culture and are quite clear in their view that it should be replaced. That is why we are seeing women being attacked in France for wearing skirts, that is why if you walk the street in parts of Birmingham you will get jostled.

Millenials say that Muslim men will “come round to our ways”. Why? Because they are better? I think they are, but they don’t, in fact they think that “our ways” offend God and should be stopped.

Nick Schroeder
October 9, 2020 7:39 am

“These alarming statements are often well-intentioned.”

No they are not.

Not when they marginalize, demonize and censor their critics.

tsk tsk
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
October 9, 2020 10:48 am

*ding* Winner

They have used up their Benefit of the Doubt Budget.

Christine Hudson
October 9, 2020 7:42 am

Why should only some people people demand a right to migrate for a better life for them and their families.
If it is a right for some, it is a right for all. In the interests of fairness, because we British are very fair, we should decant the whole of the third world in to our country. Such a move would prevent minorities from feeling under-represented and their values, customs and heritage would be celebrated by virtue of their numbers. This is the absurd. There have to be curbs on migration. Grow up!

Reply to  Christine Hudson
October 9, 2020 9:02 am

The political left’s idea of what’s fair is the maximum harm to all that they can get away with in order to benefit the few.

Consider progressive tax rates which are intrinsically unfair, yet the Democratic platform and the Bernie/Biden manifesto wants to make then ‘fairer’ by further raising the top rates.

Gunga Din
Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 9, 2020 3:44 pm

Ever wonder where “Trust Funds” and “Foundations” came from?

Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 10, 2020 12:09 am

The left thinks that if you put a rotten apple in a basket of good ones, the rotten will turn good as well. We all know what really happens.

Tropical Lutefisk
October 9, 2020 7:44 am

Florida, the state supposedly so vulnerable to climate change, is experiencing a mass influx of refugees. These refugees are from NY and NJ. Seems the excessive taxes and illogical lockdown rules are the reasons for this migration. They must not know about hurricanes, rising tides and increasing heat waves.

FYI Still waiting for my home that is two miles from the coast and about 10 – 12 feet above sea level to become ocean front property. Been waiting almost 20 years and yet I’m no closer. 🙁

Peter W
Reply to  Tropical Lutefisk
October 9, 2020 8:50 am

My wife and I are climate refugees. We moved to Florida from New Hampshire back in 2015, where we lived for many years, in order to get away from that terrible global warming up north.

(Note: I am well aware of the Milankovitch cycles, among other things.)

October 9, 2020 8:02 am

The only legitimate climate related migration is by those like me who are climate policy refugees.

October 9, 2020 8:13 am

Political climate. For example, social justice-mongering (e.g. coups, anthropogenic conflicts, trail of tears) was a first-order forcing of climate refugees during the last administration’s Greater Middle East wars.

Gary Pearse
October 9, 2020 8:17 am

Nice to see the walking-back of hype in all things climate developing into a solid trend these past months. It seems to date from Schellenberger’s defection and apology for the gross exaggeration and fear mongering by climate zealots. The follow-up of the wrecking ball “Planet of the Humans” by the unlikely personage of Michael Moore, who shamed and struck dumb Gore and McKibben and single handedly shut down climateer support for the biomass burning idiocy as a renewable, was a paradigm shifter.

Much of the anti-white ugliness remains though, ingrained by the handiwork of a purposeful, designer-brained ‘education’ coup which began some three generations ago.

“UK’s “hostile environment” by presenting the interests and desires of “native” populations as competing with those of new arrivals.”

The “natives” are guilty of creation of the notorious Age of Reason, the Industrial Revolutions and related racist acts and must atone and restitute.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 9, 2020 1:38 pm

“Much of the anti-white ugliness remains though”

If you look at a BLM “gathering/thugfest” you will see that much of that anti-white ugliness comes from whites.

Gunga Din
Reply to  fred250
October 9, 2020 3:54 pm

BLM (Inc) was never about “Race” (An artificial concept to divide Humanity into groups).
It was founded by two people who, early on, described themselves as “trained Marxist”.
“Race” was just another lever.

Pat from kerbob
October 9, 2020 8:24 am

This article and all the comments miss the real issue.

Green colonialism, preventing Africans from getting out of poverty by trying to prevent the introduction of cheap reliable energy, maintain subsistence farming, prevent use of malaria pesticides, all of these are why people are leaving Africa in waves

Due to climate change POLICY, not climate change itself.

Who could blame them from wanting out?
And who can blame them from accepting Belt and Road infrastructure money from China when we deny them what they really need?

We are causing these migrations, but not with stupid CO2 emissions

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
October 9, 2020 8:48 am

Green colonialism!

Right on. The whole climate change issue is a scam run by the neo-colonial ‘Globalist’ financial elites.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
October 9, 2020 9:44 am

Green Colonialism is well put.

Further, if people really were climate refugees, they would move a few hundred kilometer away from Equator every 50 years or so.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 9, 2020 2:18 pm

Same thing here in canada in fact.

Native groups trying to join in prosperity by supporting resource extraction, refining, pipelines etc

Blocked by the same sorts that try to keep Africans in poverty and for the same reasons

Eco or Green colonialism is exactly what it is, westerners still trying to tell them what is best for them

Has to stop

On the outer Barcoo
October 9, 2020 8:28 am

The oppressed masses are queuing up to enter the halcyon paradises of Cuba, Venezuela, China and North Korea? Who knew?

Ron Long
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
October 9, 2020 1:09 pm


October 9, 2020 9:00 am

Article: Building an open, diverse, and accepting society in times of crisis and change is a difficult task.

That is the goal not climate refugees. Refugees for the money and business cheap labor.

October 9, 2020 9:06 am

Very few people are moving because of climates — they may move because of flooding or drought, which are weather. They move, in those cases, within their own country or region. Political unrest and uncertainty are also major drivers of migration.

The vast majority of migration is based on desires to improve familial situation — moving to a country with more opportunities for a better life for themselves and especially their children and moving away from wars, revolutions, and run-away crime (as is seen in some Central American countries).

Thus, the question of allowing immigration is ethics and value based. It has nothing whatever to do with attitudes about climate change.

It is far better to help people improve their lives where they live now, in their own countries, by doing whatever it takes to raise the standard of living in their own society.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Kip Hansen
October 9, 2020 10:13 am

Also, many happens to move to other countries due to love and marriage.

Yesterday I met a pair who were on vacation in Sweden. He was from Germany, she was from Australia and they now live in Germany. Sure the lady would count as climate refugee in The Conversation to feed the fear for the sake of de-industrialization and herding the controlled sheeple (my friends and I).

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Kip Hansen
October 9, 2020 10:46 am


Reply to  Kip Hansen
October 9, 2020 4:19 pm

“It is far better to help people improve their lives where they live now, in their own countries, by doing whatever it takes to raise the standard of living in their own society.”

I agree.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
October 10, 2020 9:38 am

Nope. In Europe it is Islamic invasion. Nothing to do with climate or whatever. Only well-fed men of fighting age, carrying the latest Iphone and trough the Islamic banking system endowed with enough cash to start their own little criminal drugs enterprise. Take over the big cities first, which is done in most European countries save for some in the east, then takover the rest.
This is not a conspiracy theory or anything like that it is out there in plain daylight. It is called jihad


There is only one solution and we all know what that is.

Gordon A. Dressler
October 9, 2020 9:12 am

Just a few basic questions for the “studied” authors of the above article:

1) Of the total number of people that migrate annually between countries, what percentage give climate change™ as the number one reason for such migration? I’m betting the real answer is less than 1%.

2) Of those migrants claiming climate change™ as their primary motivation, what is their top area of concern? Is it of a rise of 0.14 °C (0.25 °F) in temperature over the last 10 years, or a rise of 30 mm (1.2 inches) in sea level over the last 10 years, or because of something else, such as too much rain or too little rain?

3) And finally, but most importantly, of those migrants knowledgeable enough to claim climate change™ as their primary motivation, why are they at the same time apparently ignorant that the ENTIRE PLANET is suffering from climate change and its related effects (you know, global warming, increasing drought, increasing flooding, increasing crop failures, increasing storm intensity and frequency, increasing sea level rise, increasing disease, increasing pestilence, etc., etc.), at least as fronted by the IPCC and other prominent CAGW alarmists? Where you gonna go to escape climate change™ . . . or do you truly have something else driving your migration that is different than what you claim, like maybe just a chance at a better quality of life?

Or are these all things that you “studied” authors never thought to ask yourselves in preparing the above fluff piece on the topic of “climate migration”???

Jeff Alberts
October 9, 2020 9:22 am

“Halfway across the world, interviews with young farmers in Senegal living in precarious situations found that, while climate change does threaten their livelihoods, it is not their key concern, and they do not see migration as a problem.”

I’d be willing to bet they wouldn’t even notice any so-called climate change, unless they were told it was threatening them.

Jeff Alberts
October 9, 2020 9:27 am

“In general, we are concerned by the inaccurate portrayal of migration.”

You should be much more concerned about the inaccurate portrayal of climate.

October 9, 2020 9:38 am

Immigration is normal. Immigration reform is evidence of excessive and progressive problems. Emigration reform is a moral/ethical imperative to mitigate collateral damage at both ends of the bridge and throughout.

Reply to  n.n
October 10, 2020 10:01 am

Karl Popper expressed what may be the remote but necessary limitation on free expression. He referred to it as the ultimate paradox of tolerance.
“Unlimited tolerance,” he wrote , “must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant and [we] are not prepared to defend … against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. … As long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise.”
And here is his critical limit: “But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.” (Karl Popper, introduction, “The open society and its enemies.”)

Stop the invasion now!

October 9, 2020 10:48 am

‘We are not drowning, we are fighting’

Ha, that’s because despite sea level rise islands are stable or growing in surface.
Duvat, V. K. (2019). A global assessment of atoll island planform changes over the past decades. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 10(1), e557.
Look at Figure 3: “Importantly, none of the islands larger than 10 ha underwent a reduction in size”

They will be able to fight for a veeeryyy long time. For as long as there’s money to be made.

John Doran
October 9, 2020 11:30 am

There is no climate crisis. It’s pure hype, pure PR, pure nonsense.
ditto climate migrations, pure hype, PR, nonsense.
Quantify: numbers, locations, dates.
They can’t: all they present is waffle.

I think of mass migrations, I think of the Irish pushed into America via the Brit Empire caused potato
These Irish were often transported as indentured servants, a euphemism for time-limited slavery.

Book: Merchants Of Despair, by PhD nuclear engineer Robert Zubrin.

October 9, 2020 11:39 am

possibly he is talking about the time span from 1900-1915 , Yukon Gold rush was in full swing and enticed many immigrants, not free land. nearly 1/2 of the new arrivals came from United Kingdom

October 9, 2020 11:48 am

Really, anyone who is concerned about illegal immigration is secretly worried about ethnic purity.

Has anyone ever met a progressive who was capable of arguing honesty?
I haven’t.

Dave Fair
Reply to  MarkW
October 9, 2020 1:24 pm

Yep, the U.S. is protecting its ethnic purity.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dave Fair
October 9, 2020 2:40 pm

America has a lot of ethnic purity to protect since America is made up of every race and ethnicity on the planet.

America isn’t a race, it is an idea; a dream. Any race or ethnicity can and do have this dream, and in America that dream can come true no matter who or what you are. At least, that’s the idea, and has proven true on many an occasion.

God Bless America.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 9, 2020 4:21 pm

I haven’t heard the phrase “Melting Pot” used in quite a while.
Come for “the dream”, goal of a Government that lives up to the ideals in The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights. (Don’t come for the “free” stuff!)
Come legally. Become a citizen.
Becoming part of “The Melting Pot” doesn’t mean that you lose your roots. You’ve planted new ones.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gunga Din
October 10, 2020 5:26 am

“Becoming part of “The Melting Pot” doesn’t mean that you lose your roots. You’ve planted new ones.”

That’s right. Well put.

October 9, 2020 1:43 pm

Looking at those Pacific Islanders in the picture above , fossil fuel free” banners etc

They appear to be in Sydney or Melbourne (anyone recognise the building?)

I wonder how they got there… by canoe?

October 9, 2020 2:31 pm

I hope they included the Californian climate “migrants” Everyone forgets the poor Californians.

October 9, 2020 2:49 pm

Having a war or religious persecution will beat ;Climate Change; any time in promoting a mass movement of people. Financial reward will also get them moving faster than ‘Climate Change”.

Gary Pearse
October 9, 2020 5:36 pm

I thought they had become a province. I stand corrected. I knew it wasnt a province when I worked there over 50yrs ago, of course. It does have its own government.

Robert MacLellan
October 9, 2020 6:52 pm

A question… if there are climate refugees from these areas why are their populations increasing instead of decreasing? Looking at you Somalia among others.

October 10, 2020 12:35 am

IIRC the population of Ethiopia has doubled since 1984.

October 10, 2020 6:28 am

Indeed, thanks.

Common sense reading history and current events shows major problems with violence.

Inter-tribe warfare in Africa, and Islamic Totalitarian violence such as in Somalia as well as inherently against females, drive people away. (Read Hirsi Ali’s story for example,

And of course the war in Syria, with Russian meddling, has driven large numbers of desperate people north.

I read that there has never been a famine in a country with a relatively free press. But we know the suppression of speech in societies people escape from, and the activists here like the EDPA and David Sleazuki.

Anti-immigration trash omit the question arising from Julian Simon’s question “What kind of society would be better off without more of the ultimate resource?”, and ignore the value of our societies based on respect for individuals and rule of law.

October 10, 2020 6:46 am

A quick scan revealed no mention of the recent mass migrations from Venezuela and the earlier mogrations from Cuba.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Rhb2
October 10, 2020 8:51 am

Those are “political climate” migrations

October 10, 2020 7:52 am

If I’m going to migrate, it’s not going to be because of “climate change”. It’s going to be because of oppressive policies of the state or local govt that reduces my level of freedom and opportunities to better myself.

Andy Pattullo
October 10, 2020 7:59 am

I’ve seen climate migration with my own eyes. Florida is packed full of migrants from (oddly) cooler northern climes who were draw to the heat. So many people moved there the land is now sinking and many who didn’t expect it can look forward to beach-front property in a few millenia.

October 10, 2020 9:08 am

Climate alarmists are so myopic with vision of decades to maybe a century. They are able to quickly pivot from global cooling to global warming and clamor about potential disasters with no grasp of benefits in change.

Will there be some migration due to climate change in the future? Sure!!, all we have to do is look back a short 20k years and see that climate warming enabled migration, with many benefits. Just ask the migrants to NYC whether they would like living under a mile of ice.

20k years ago is just a blink in geologic or even Homo biologic time. What was global climate like back then? Cold, thick ice covering much of Canada, US, Europe, and Asia – much like living in Antarctica or Greenland today. What was sea level like then? Lower by more than 100 meters with many land bridges: Alaska to Asia, Australia to Indonesia, UK to Europe. Heck, the Maldives was HUGE with land almost to India.

Climate changed and mankind survived with much migration into regions that were previously covered with glaciers. Thank goodness our ancestors were smart enough to walk up shore during sea level rise instead of drowning!

I have great confidence climate will change (with or without CO2 fluctuations) and that humans will adapt. Catastrophic Alarmists, take a chill pill, and enjoy life a little.

October 10, 2020 4:10 pm

The hard-left The Conversation is totally in the tank for climate alarmism. A year ago they announced that the only opinions they would permit to be expressed in article comments are those in support of climate hysteria. They wrote, “the editorial team in Australia is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.”

Even before that, The Conversation long had two moderation policies: the official written one (“their Community Standards,” which are basically Quora’s BNBR + “Be Constructive”), and the actual one (“Be Leftist”). No matter how nice, respectful & constructive you were, and no matter how thoroughly you documented your claims, suspicion of casting doubt on the climate emergency was grounds for deleting your comments at The Conversation. But no matter how vicious ad hominem attacks are, they’re acceptable if they are directed toward someone skeptical of the climate crisis.

Although they’ve made their anti-scientific bias official, I’m still waiting for them to change their name to “The One-Sided Conversation.” Or, in keeping with the modern trend toward shortening names…

“Kentucky Fried Chicken” ⇒ “KFC”
“The Huffington Post” ⇒ “HuffPost” or “HuffPo”
“Federal Express” ⇒ “FedEx”
“America Online” ⇒ “AOL”

…I have a suggestion for them:

“The One-Sided Conversation”“The Con”

As for “climate migration,” obviously it cannot be due to sea-level, because manmade climate change has not caused significant changes in sea-level trends. But climate-driven migration is real, in Africa. Here’s an article about it:

NewScientist – Africans go back to the land as plants reclaim the desert

You can find more references here:

October 10, 2020 6:42 pm

Who writes this drivel?

October 10, 2020 9:13 pm

I grew up in Southern California and was living in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs when I learned how to ski in my early forties. I fell in love with the sport and over the years I made quite a few trips to Lake Tahoe in winter to escape the desert heat and ski at the Tahoe resorts. Upon retiring I relocated to Colorado and now live in a home with no air conditioner and easy access to some of the best skiing in North America. I am a climate refugee.

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