Climate Migrants: Protecting Immigrants from Adverse Impacts of Climate Change

February 24, 2021 11:00 am — 12:30 pm
Webinar Only

An ELI Public Webinar

As climate change intensifies and extreme weather events wreak havoc on communities, human populations are becoming increasingly mobile despite minimal legal protections for climate migrants. By 2050, events linked to climate change – including extreme drought and agricultural losses, wildfires, sea-level rise and other flooding, and impacted economies – are expected to forcibly displace 50-200 million people worldwide.

A particular challenge migrants face is the varied laws and processes each nation has in regard to immigration. Without a global framework for environmental refugees, this challenge is likely to worsen. One approach gaining traction to combat these issues is bilateral agreements between the countries where people are expected to leave and the countries likely to receive them, which may ease the migration process and provide protections for climate migrants.

How can international laws and agreements be leveraged to alleviate the disproportionate risks and harms migrants face from climate change and natural disasters? What are the opportunities and obstacles for climate migration policies and agreements? What should the core considerations be in the design of climate migration bilateral agreements? Join ELI and expert panelists to explore these questions and the opportunities and challenges to increase protections for climate migrants.

Carl Bruch, Director, International Programs, and Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Maxine Burkett, Professor of Law, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii
Melisa Laelan, Chief Executive Officer, Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, Inc.
Shanna McClain, Ph.D., Global Partnerships Manager and Resilience Advisor, NASA Earth Sciences Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Michael Vastine, Director, Immigration Clinic and Professor of Law, St. Thomas University

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