Climate change and environmental migration : the danger of the status quo
Nosworthy, Andrew W.
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Climate change and the environmental migration phenomenon reside in a dangerous international legal protection gap – a status quo unwilling to change. Climate change and environmental migration are linked with multiple security threats, including those affecting national security, public security, communal security and human security, and impact the political and social order, culture, life and personal integrity. The current international legal framework of refugeehood and international human rights law is inadequate to respond to such threats because it is unable to grasp environmental conditions as primary motivators for migration, particularly in cases of slow-onset changes. Shortsightedly, the reasons for migration are more often linked with economic justifications, as the effects of the slow environmental changes are more difficult to distinguish. The purpose of this thesis is to map the under-researched threats associated with climate change and its linkages to environmental migration in cases of slow-onset changes, leading to permanent or semi-permanent external displacement. This connection between migration and climate change is established through the examination of three different cases, being the Pacific Islands and the rising ocean, the shrinking of Lake Chad, and the melting glaciers of the Himalayas. Additionally, the security threats associated with such events are identified and explored with the assertion that environmental migration and the related, but inadequately equipped, international framework exacerbate security threats. Finally, possible avenues from which to mitigate these problems are examined.