Monday, June 27, 2011

Drought cause or not?

News reports indicate that "War and drought in Somalia are leading an unprecedented number of people to flee across the border into Kenya". Surely the issue is that war (and lack of governance) have undermined people's abilities to cope with drought? That is, the drought per se is not the cause of migration. Instead, it is people's lack of ability to deal with a drought--with the lack of ability being due to human factors only, with no climate-related connections.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nansen Principles

The Chairperson's summary and Nansen Principles are now available from the Nansen Conference website (a PDF file).

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Kivalina: A Climate Change Story" By Christine Shearer

Kivalina: A Climate Change Story
By Christine Shearer

In 2008, a small Alaska Native village named Kivalina sued fossil fuel companies for destabilizing their homeland and distorting the information on climate change: Kivalina v. ExxonMobil et al. Through muckraking, this book looks at the history of corporations and science, fossil fuels and power, leading up to the legal showdown and the village's fight for survival.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Climate Change, and Migration

A compilation of references published by CICERO on islands (especially SIDS) and climate change, with links to migration, is now available at (15 kb in PDF).

We hope that this will be a useful starting point for understanding the potential climate change and migration challenges facing SIDS with analogies for other islands, coastal areas, and landlocked locations.

Nansen Conference in Oslo

Speeches and abstracts from the Nansen Conference "Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century" in Oslo , 5-7 June, are now available. See and click on "Presentations and Abstracts" in the left-hand menu. The declaration of the Nansen Principles will be coming soon.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Precautionary Principle and Climate change Migration

The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. In some legal systems such as the law of the European Union, the application of the precautionary principle has been made a statutory requirement. There is a  considerable amount uncertainty associated with the science of climate change. This uncertainty multiplies when we try to understand the implications of climate change on migration. How important is scientific uncertainty, for any concrete action ? 

At the backdrop of an UN report warning 50m environmental refugees by end of decade, Achim Steiner, UN Under-secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP reflects in an article in the Guardian called Climate migration will not wait for scientific certainty on global warming. He says
"Although reviewing science is an integral part of knowledge generation, we should not allow the critique to paralyze emerging science on climate change from reaching society – especially when the lives and livelihoods of considerable numbers of people are at risk."