Climate Refugees – The science, the People, the Jurisdiction and the Future

Whilst climate change will impact regions and people differently, one of the major consequences is the flow of people who will leave their homes because of the changing environment and its impact on their livelihoods. In other words, they will become “climate refugees”.

According to the IPCC: ”the greatest single impact of climate change could be on human migration”, and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR states that ”Displacement linked to climate change is not a future hypothetical – it’s a current reality”. Although migration as a consequence of climate change is called to be the number one cause for people being forced to leave their homes 2050, efforts made by the international community have often been either weak or without sufficient political willingness to deal with “climate refugees”. As a result, the term “climate refugees” is neither recognised by international law, nor endorsed by the United Nations.

This report aims to highlight the juridical dilemmas and urge to define ”climate refugees” in juridical terms. It examines the triggers of climate migration and the international and European frameworks and policy responses, e.g. cross-border movements and the Paris Agreement. The report also tends to the human, societal, national and international consequences of climate driven migration.


Do you wish to know more about the publication, our work at Fores or the migration area, please contact

Therese Lindström
Head of Migration and Integration

Hedvig Heijne
Project leader

På svenska:

Kopplingen mellan framtidens migrationsmönster och klimatförändringar är starkare än många tror. Redan år 2050 beräknas klimatdriven migration leda till fler än 200 miljoner ”klimatflyktingar”, samtidigt råder det stor förvirring kring juridisk status – är de flyktingar eller migranter?

Hösten 2017 lanserade vi vår rapport Climate Refugees. Rapporten behandlar de juridiska dilemman som hör till ämnet, men också de konsekvenser som klimatdriven migration medför för människor, stater och flyktingmottagandet. Fores ställer frågan hur man från forskningens håll ser på klimatdriven migration och undersöker hur olika delar av samhället rustar för att hantera detta.

I media


Vill du veta mer om publikationen, Fores arbete på området, kontakta oss för en intervju eller boka in oss för en föreläsning? Kontakta

Therese Lindström
Programchef Migration och integration

Hedvig Heijne