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by Caitlin Werrell, Francesco Femia, and Troy Sternberg
In the 1990s, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserted that “climate migrants” would be one of the most dire consequences of climate change. This, at times contentious argument, centers on how climate change acts as a “threat multiplier,” exacerbating existing environmental and social factors that drive migration. (more…)
In recent years there has been considerable discussion on how climate change, acting as a threat multiplier, could increase migration both within and across borders. The debate, at times contentious, largely centers on how climate change impacts the environmental and social factors that drive migration. This is a critical issue. However, there has been comparatively far less discussion of what we’ll call “climate immobility” – or how populations affected by the impacts of climate change, in addition to other destabilizing factors, may not have the means to move to a less vulnerable location. The dire situation in south-central Somalia, for example, where the insurgent group al-Shabab has restricted the flow of aid and the movement of people suffering from drought and famine, suggests that involuntarily immobile populations may become some of the most vulnerable to climate impacts.