Climate migration and security

Further to the blog below on greening the military, some may be interested in the work of Gregory White and Jon Barnett discussing the dangers of securitising climate change.

The work of both scholars highlights empirical research that dispels many truths  bound up with the climate change and security frame, including the image of immanent chaos from swathes of immigrants fleeing climate related disasters in the South.  White suggests that contrary to belief in the threat posed by environmental migrants, research indicates that during times of drought and other climate extremes people are less inclined to move, and when they do move, they are more likely to migrate to another region within their own country or a neighbouring country than move to another continent as commonly theorised.

To hear more on the subject, you can watch/listen to both scholars summarise their work:

Gregory White on environmental refugees: http://www.smith.edu/video/sis-greg-white

Jon Barnett on whether climate change should be addressed by the UN security council: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2012/01/eye-on-jon-barnett-should-climate.html

Jon Barnett on climate change and migration from the South Pacific: http://www.land-environment.unimelb.edu.au/deanslectures/barnett/

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About Hannah Hughes

I am a lecturer in the School of Law and Politics. My research interests stem from my concern with environmental degradation and include: Climate change; knowledge and power; global environmental politics; environmental security
This entry was posted in climate change, Migration, Population, Security, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Climate migration and security

  1. Env Pol RG says:

    Thank you for clarifying that Anne. I wasn’t trying to downplay the role that environmental degradation plays in either category. My point was that certain images of chaos have been created and perpetuated through the environmental security linkage. These serve a particular purpose and specific interests, and don’t help us to understand the issue or solve environmental degradation.

  2. Anne says:

    Hello and thank you for interesting article. So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmental refugees.

    Environmental migrants, therefore, are persons making a short-lived, cyclical, or longerterm change of residence, of a voluntary or forced character, due to specific environmental factors. Environmental refugees form a specific type of environmental migrant.

    Environmental refugees, therefore, are persons compelled to spontaneous, short-lived, cyclical, or longer-term changes of residence due to sudden or gradually worsening changes in environmental factors important to their living, which may be of either a short-term or an irreversible character.

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