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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-79
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-79
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 07 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 07 Jan 2020

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

Climate change as a driver of future human migration

Min Chen1,2 and Ken Caldeira1 Min Chen and Ken Caldeira
  • 1Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science. 260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
  • 2Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 5825 University Research Court, Suite 3500, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Abstract. Human migration is both motivated and constrained by a multitude of socioeconomic and environmental factors, including climate-related factors. Climatic factors exert an influence on local and regional population density. Here, we examine implications for future motivation for humans to migrate by analyzing today’s relationships between climatic factors and population density, with all other factors held constant. Such all other factors held constant analyses are unlikely to make quantitatively accurate predictions but the order-of-magnitude and spatial pattern that come out of such an analysis can be useful for thinking about the influence of climate change on the possible scale and pattern of future incentives to migrate. Our results indicate that, within decades, climate change may provide to hundreds of millions of people additional incentive to migrate, largely from warm tropical and subtropical countries to cooler temperate countries, with India being the country with the greatest number of people with additional incentive to migrate. These climate-driven incentives would be among the broader constellation of incentives that influence migration decisions. Areas with the highest projected population growth rates tend to be areas that are likely to be most adversely affected by climate change.

Min Chen and Ken Caldeira
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Status: open (until 19 Feb 2020)
Status: open (until 19 Feb 2020)
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Min Chen and Ken Caldeira
Min Chen and Ken Caldeira
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Short summary
We examine implications for future motivation for humans to migrate by analyzing today’s relationships between climatic factors and population density, with all other factors held constant. Such analyses are unlikely to make accurate predictions but can still be useful for informing discussions about the broad range of incentives that might influence migration decisions. Areas with the highest projected population growth rates tend to be the areas most adversely affected by climate change.
We examine implications for future motivation for humans to migrate by analyzing today’s...
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