The emergence of climate change displacements and the challenge of building an effective legal framework

Master's Thesis, 2018

55 Pages, Grade: 18/20




Title I: The climate change migrants

Title II-Climate change refugees and international law




Scientist urged on the fact that our planet might have more inhabitable parts due to the alarmingly fast climate change that causes critical environmental deterioration.

Consequently, it has already started impacting millions of lives across the globe.

It is not only a matter of environmental effects, but it also has enormous socio-economic and therefore legal impacts.

Among these consequences, is the climate change induced migration that leads to multiple issues.

Indeed, scholars and advocates for the fight against climate change agreed on the urge of setting a new scholarship on this issue that rapidly became one of the main environmental law concerns.

Overall, as human-made issues, the anticipating panacea, whether global or local to reduce the negative impacts of the climate change will also be a matter of global group effort. Indeed, it has to be able to develop a political and legal framework to protect those that are directly affected by the problem in order for them to be able to have their human rights safeguarded to be able to pursue a life as normal as it can be.

Forced climate change induced migration is not new. The tarnishing of the Earth resources and the environmental degradation has already caused displacements and/or conflict throughout history. Population movements are part of human history and mechanism of adaptation: indeed, since prehistoric times, significant human displacements have been caused by climate changes (glaciation for example). This is even one of the possible explanations for the disappearance of Neanderthals. Today, it is the human activity, by modifying the climatic balances, causes new migrations.

As Francois Crépeau, full Professor at the Faculty ofLawof McGill University said at one of his lectures:

"We are all migrants. Most of us do not live in the birthplace of our four grandparents; so we almost all have a migration experience within two generations ... Today we treat migration as if it were an anomaly, as if the norm were sedentary, as if, in a world that would meet everyone's needs, there should no longer be any migration. However, we must be aware that migration has always been and remains the norm, and sedentariness is, for most of us, transient, ephemeral ".

Being said, it does not solve the issue. Indeed, the current climate change displacements, and the potential following ones touches millions of people and is currently one of the most discussed effect of climate change and is alarmingly concerning governments and policy makers.

Climate change touches populations worldwide in different ways.

Indeed, disputes on scarce water sources can cause conflicts that cause migration on the same level as drought or coastal areas floods.

The displacement is therefore made, some legally, but for some, not all the conditions are met to allow them to be ‘refugees’ per se, as the national or international legal framework do no recognize them as such.

However, whether the populations migrate or decide to stay in their original barely habitable or inhabitable area, they are all confronted to major destitution of their basic human rights, such as health, adequate housing and property.

Discussions and analysis of international and internal human mobility is not sufficiently made and is not proportional to the scale of the problems this is going to cause.

Indeed, the world bank estimates to 143 millions the number of persons that will become climate change migrants by 20501 and most of them are from East Africa, Southern Asia and Latin America.

This shows that there has to be an implementation of a strong global project that has to prevent such a phenomenon to happen and also come with a back up plan in case this huge displacement was to happen.

But, according to some observers, climate change is not per se an established cause of migration, however there is a growing issue that is to put in place adequate response mechanisms to prevent the climate change induced migration and the conflicts that may arise from it.

This is why the investigation on the exact inter-linkage between climate change and forced migration is urgent in order to create consistent policies.

This work is aimed to identify the direct and indirect effect of climate change on populations mobility before analyzing the possible perspectives to those more directly affected by it. Indeed, climate change is responsible for a brand new category of asylum seekers that calls for specific recognition and management by the International Law.

A few questions would require answers: What is climate change? How is climate change impacting livelihood and human mobility? What are some perspectives of adaptability? How strong is the legal framework surrounding the issue and what needs to be done to improve it?

Title I: The climate change migrants

Chapter 1: The consequences of environmental change and its impact on human mobility

There is no general agreement on the current number of climate change induced displaced persons, as the phenomenon is spreading but most searchers agree on the fact that it is rapidly increasing, and the growing upcoming climate risks will only aggravate the phenomenon.

Plus, following the current context, the management of the climate change asylum seekers cannot be the same as the traditional refugees. As said above, during history, refugees were identified and treated according to the Refugee Convention. But, a contemporary approach is probably needed to solve take handle of the situation. Indeed, analyzing patterns of the climate change induced migration as well as the current trends would be necessary to state whether or not it requires a specific framework.

The present discussion adopts a specific focus on the various consequences of the climate change that cause migration.

Section 1: General migration theories

The majority of migration related texts since the 1950’s were based on classical macroeconomic and microeconomic theories. People who migrate are supposedly opportunity searchers that balance the financial benefits and costs of moving to the potential destination and make reasonable choices accordingly.

According to the New Economics of Labor Migration individuals that chose to migrate for economic reasons do not explain all migration decisions. Indeed, surveys showed that the decision to migrate is mostly a decision that is taken by a household, as a strategy to collect more incomes and therefore be less vulnerable to poverty and risks that arise from it2. For example, in some regions of West Africa, like Niger (known to be dry) for, parents send their teenagers and young adult children to the cities to work in order to have less persons to be fed, and benefit from this new source of income. Some of the young migrants move to the host city indefinitely, and compensate their absence by sending money back home. The New Economics of Labor Migration insists on the importance of rather larger households in terms of migration decision making before assessing that the migration is possibly liked to livelihood diversification just as much as economic opportunity-seeking.

In addition to the idea of sole benefit-cost analysis, this theory presents four elements that determine migration: elements in the region of origin, elements in the region of destination, “intervening” facilitators and obstacles, and personal factors.3

The Push factors, such as poverty, lack of opportunities, and migration networks are associated with the region of origin. Pull factors such as employment are linked to the region of destination. This framework suggests that individual characteristics of the people have an impact on decisions to migrate.

These characteristics include age, gender, and ethnicity. Indeed, younger people are more mobile and wealth as well as gender is also important factors to determine the willingness to migrate or not.

Populations are rarely able to move as and where they would like to. Indeed, geography (e.g.: watercourses, peaks), infrastructures (e.g.: fences), entry requirements, travel costs can restrict movements, particularly for international destinations or movement over long distances.

There are various obstacles to internal migration as well. Indeed, limited financial resources, fear of losing property rights as well as possible cultural constraints may hinder the need to move from a place to another.4

These factors are significant in the process of understanding climate change induced migration that can appear as being solely a risk management or adaptation mechanism.

Section 2: How climate change became a driver for migration

As expounded earlier, migration is caused by several factors, which varies over time and according to the individuals, or groups.

The climate change appears to be an added factor to the already complex decision to migrate.

This section will aim to study how climate change directly and indirectly impacts the decision to migrate The Foresight report of 2011 presents theories from studies made on displacements. It puts an accent on the fact that climate change became a non-insignificant trigger to migration, compared to the usual ones such as economic and political factors (inflation in food process, high exposure to armed conflicts risks etc.…).

According to the report, the climate changes affect macro, meso and micro levels of displacement choices.

The macro level factors are the ones that have direct impacts on incomes and welfare in general, therefore livelihoods. They regroup demographic, social and political factors. The meso-level factors regroup migrant-smuggling networks, employment agencies whereas the micro level factors are directly related to the potential migrants individual skills and beliefs.

Therefore, the decision to migrate is not only a circumstance choice but is also based on the beliefs, on the perception of exposure to climate change related risks, the prevision of the oncoming needs, once they migrate.

When climate change starts to have impacts on high variables such as the environment, and the economy, populations become more likely to move from one place to another. Climate change is highly impactful on the macro level, especially to the economy, therefore affects the other levels as well. It causes attraction or repulsion towards a region or zone, according to the quality of livelihood offered. Unfortunately, if the direct impacts of the climate change are the most visible, there are just as pernicious less visible effects.5

After defining the concept of environmental/climate change induced displacements and from the scheme of the figure 1, this segment will analyze the climate modifications that are expected to make more influence on the livelihoods, therefore the migration through 2050. The analysis will be made following the impact of selected disasters that are expected to cause more disaster. The light will also be shed on another side to the climate change repercussions: the conflicts that often arise from resources decline.

SS1: Global warming as potential migration cause on selected disasters

Global warming is a global phenomenon of climate transformation characterized by a general increase in average temperatures (especially related to human activities), which modifies the weather balances and ecosystems sustainably.

More precisely, when we talk about global warming, we are talking about the increase in temperatures linked to industrial activity and in particular to the greenhouse effect: we therefore sometimes speak of global warming known as "anthropogenic. It is therefore a form of global warming whose causes are not natural but economic and industrial.

Human activities, mainly through the massive use of fossil fuels and changes in land cover, lead to an increase in atmospheric concentrations of Greenhouse Gases, which tend to warm up the atmosphere.

This natural phenomenon of trapping by the atmosphere of the fraction of solar radiation re-emitted by the Earth, the greenhouse effect, is amplified by the excessive releases of major gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), protoxide nitrogen or nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3) and minor gases such as hexachlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). The concentrations of the three major gases "have increased significantly due to human activities since 1750"6.

To obtain comparisons, the researchers obtained by the analysis of multiple ice cores very precise limits on the "normal" levels observed over more than 800 000 years for CO2 and CH4.

The global temperature is expected to rise by between 0.3°C and 2.5°C by 2050 and between 0.3°C to 4.8°C, depending on future emissions.7

Studies8 showed that, with the rise of temperature, the atmospheric circulation patterns change and that has a huge impact. Indeed, the global warming causes more water vapor, which makes the hydrological cycle more intense and unpredictable. Indeed, some scientists expect the whether to be more changing than it is now, with risks of an increased number and intensity of typhoon, droughts, floods, hurricanes and heat waves9. This is expected to cause damages in both hemispheres.

The global warming also generates droughts, therefore desertification and land degradation, deforestation, which cause major changes.

The drought caused is already causing major impacts on the agriculture, as well as the capacity to find potable water. Then, the rising level of the oceans will immerse the coastal areas and islands.

1-Sea level rise and Floods

Several extreme environmental events can create climate change displaced persons. The first one and probably the most ostentatious is the migration induced by the rising of the sea level.

Unfortunately, coastal cities and islands are more vulnerable, as they will also have to plan for more intense and frequent tropical cyclones as well as the rise of the sea level.10

According to Anny Cazenave, an academician and researcher at the Laboratory for Space Geophysics and Oceanography Studies in Toulouse (France) , "we realize that the mean sea level does not rise at a constant speed, but that there is has been sharply accelerated in recent years due to the increased melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica. ".

Plus, according to the IPCC Working Ground Report II: ‘‘ Global warming will cause a thermal expansion of the upper layers of the ocean and this expansion, together with the expected melting and movement into the ocean of some land-based glaciers, is expected to accelerate the current sea- level rise trend’’.

However, small nation islands are not the only one threatened, as, countries with low-lying coasts are also vulnerable to the phenomenon.

Indeed, according to the European Environmental Agency, about 13 millions of Europeans (from coastal regions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Romania, Poland, and Denmark) could be highly impacted by a rise of 1 meter.

Then, it is to be noticed that the threat is more worrying in highly populated areas.

It is to be noted that, the same report expects a rise of 9 to 29 cm by 2050 and a rise of only 25 cm will force habitants of the Nile Delta (Egypt), as well as the Ganges (India) and the Yangtze (China) habitants to leave their habitats.

The coastal erosion also threatens major habitation poles like the Atlantic coast of the USA and the West Coast of Africa.

But, if a region is already being affected by the rise of the sea level, it is Oceania.

Indeed, islands nations such as the Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Fiji islands and other Pacific Ocean islands could become soon uninhabitable.

It’s ecosystems and coral reefs have already been impacted. Facing the ocean level rise, hundreds of thousands of people could be forced to migrate in the following decade. They are being threatened by littoral erosion and disappearence by the emerged waters.

In the face of rising sea levels, people resort to three generic forms of adaptation, not to mention the fourth and last, inaction, which is synonymous with irresponsibility: habitat protection (by dikes), the elevation of the habitat, migration (inland or to neighboring states).

As we can observe11, scientists are less but still alarmed by the situation of other coasts, such as China’s ones which are more likely to be inhabitable if the sea level doesn’t attain 1 meter. Indeed, even if not imminent, such a disaster, only in China could affect the habitats of a hundred million of people. China’s case is particular because it is experiencing a local rapid sea level rise that was precipitated by enormous amounts of ground water withdrawals, which of course combined to the tectonic factors and the global warming.

Without significant efforts to create coastal defenses, a similar sea level rise could be prejudicial to 9 million Japanese.

It also has financial impacts, as it is likely to cause major problems in the already relatively weak West African economy. Japan and China have several capital seaports that concentrate industries.

Unfortunately, the rise of the Sea level is expected.

Therefore, it is necessary to adapt by integrating adequate and skillful policies by governments and populations. The procedure of protection is slightly more expensive on islands than coastal cities of continental lands because on islands, the protection has to cover all sides.

For example, Malé (Capital city of the Maldives) is surrounded by jetties, but those were mostly funded and put in place with help from Japan.

The nation islands would also face huge impacts in their main sources of incomes that are tourism, agriculture and fishing. Indeed, these activities are mostly located on the coastal area and a submersion will mean first of all an economic crash before the loss of habitat. They will also be affected by disruption of the ecosystems, causing decline of marine flora and fauna, directly impacting the fishing and industry.

Then, as largely economically relying on tourism and its infrastructures, building dikes, and not sand beaches will inevitably lead to a drastic reduction of tourists. The international community is not ignoring the risks encoured by those that are vulnerable to such risks. This is why, during the Conference of the parties (COP) of 2004 in Buenos Aires (Argentina), the focus, instead of being centered on greenhouse gases emissions was also on the urge to find adaptation mechanisms to the alarming rise of the sea level. Accordingly, it showed a particular interest researches on effects and adaptation policies in national action plans as well as different sustainable development strategies. Thus, it becomes a question of global policy that follows the "mitigation - adaptation - sustainable development" pattern.

However, the displacements are not only a problem for coastal environments but also threaten the existence of communities living in lower valleys because of the melting of mountain glaciers. The current trend in the acceleration of the glacial lake flooding, especially in the Himalayan region has caused severe damages of housing and infrastructures, destruction of farms and forests12. This phenomenon is aggravated by the never seen rate of glaciers melting. Another recent example of flood damages is that of the torrential rainfall, that affected the Kerala region (India), causing a heavy toll of more than 300 deaths and 1 million displaced (as of August 2018)13. These types of situations necessity forced relocation as the only survival option.

Unfortunately, as nothing forecasts a shift in climate change, the number of potential victims can only increasing, leaving the world at the edge of a never seen before humanitarian global crisis. Of course, further studies have to be conducted in order to target all possible spots but it is undeniable that this phenomenon is going to affect human lifestyle from the food production to the Economy, habitat and infrastructures.

We will, in the following sections develop the legal aspects of the question of the migration occurring after a failure to find sustainable mechanisms of protection of the lands.

2- Augmentation of the urban heat effect

The deforestation for wood collection or urbanization purposes as well as other man made changes of the nature combined to the human activity generated heat generally rises the temperature more or less according to the place. The phenomenon is called the urban heat island effect. It is usually more observed in urban spots than the rural ones.

For example, in the USA, the effect was said to have created an average of 1.1°C for 30 rural towns, for 2.9°C for New York City14 which is a major city. In Shanghai (China), an intensity of 6.5°C has already been observed, but the effect has been significantly reduced with a large operation of planting 34 million trees in China since 1949.15

Unfortunately, the rapid growing of many megalopolises as Lagos (Nigeria), Mexico City (Mexico), Delhi (India) will definitely cause enormous impacts on the heat island effect if, once again no action s taken. Indeed, the effect, combined to the overall global warming will make the cities uninhabitable.

3- The desertification as a result of land degradation and deforestation

Because of man-made practices such as excessive grazing and agriculture, the erosion of the soil is accelerated, as well as desertification. The relation between the current global warming and desertification is not quite clearly made but is already making impact on the already vulnerable places of the planet.

As for deforestation, it dries the climate of the region and reduces the water retention capacity of the soil, which makes it unprotected against floods.

As of today, millions of people, mostly in Africa and Asia are suffering the famine caused by the drought that caused agricultural disasters. In Africa, the most touched countries are the ones neighboring the Sahara desert and unfortunately those countries are already high-risk zones for famines (e.g.: Niger faced famine in 2015 and 2017 that caused hundreds of deaths).

Unfortunately, if the global warming rat does not diminish or stop, this trend will be worsened and the already present famine will be permanent.

4- The decline of Water resources

Water resources are endangered because of the global warming in several places of the world. Indeed, changing rainfall schemes and evaporation augmentation are results of it.

Central and South America, as well as some parts of Southern central Asia are expected to experience significant decline in surface water resources.16 This may cause severe water unavailability in Central and southern Africa as well as in India and the Horn if Africa.

The main issue is that these are regions in which population grows exponentially, therefore more exposed to resource unavailability and possible conflicts arising.

Cape Town (South Africa) recently deferred its “day 0”, but the Water crisis is not over yet. Indeed, the City is suffering an extreme water crisis, and with a successful campaign of restrictions, avoided a catastrophe of complete taps running dry.

The city may be the 1st major city to face such a crisis, but chances are it may not be the last. "The situation in Cape Town is almost a foretaste of what is likely to come in cities worldwid e" said Jasper Knight, a geographer and climate expert at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.17

Indeed, regions and major cities such as California, Southern Europe and Southern America often experience droughts that are an Avant-garde that expresses that with increased population comes water scarce.

Accordingly, regions already facing droughts will become dryer and will be exposed to it more frequently and more intensely18. This is already happening in the African Horn and in Mexico, which are regions already known for their extremely dry lands.

In paradox, worldwide sea level arises in an average of 3 millimeters per year and increasing19 will be troublesome as it makes the settlements on low-lying lands hard, quasi-impossible. Indeed, those areas are subject to erosion, storm events. Therefore, it causes many issues in the case of a large urban settlement, especially in the small Island Developing States (SIDS), where there is no high land to move to.

SS2: Another social dimension of climate change: the conflicts

Some studies showed that environment changes have their own part to do in some conflicts. Most of the researches focused on the impact of climate change on to this point, however, have focusedon the links between global warming, water rarefication and conflicts.

Indeed, the world geopolitics patterns are changed and already vulnerable regions such as the African Horn are being destabilized.

The rapid global warming, the rising of the Sea level, the rainfall pattern changes, icecaps melting and extreme environmental catastrophes human society in front of complete new scenarios. Indeed, these events have major consequences on food and water security. They come to aggravate the already existing condition of fragility and security issues common in regions such as the Middle East, Horn of Africa, and the new political and economic battlefield that is the Arctic Ocean, free of ice20. It has a particular effect on the Horn of Africa region because of the pre existing exposure to structural fragility and natural disasters such as droughts.

The region has always been a center of economic, political and environmental issues that are aggravated by the global warming. The impact is felt through the growing number on conflicts between farmers and breeders that are often deadly. For example, a very long drought in 2011 in Somalia21 caused conflicts and major human displacements. These displacements caused issues themselves, as neighboring countries have to share their resources and can lead to conflicts there as well.

Climate migrations are part of the simplistic paradigm of the poor migrant from the South who tries to reach the rich countries of the North. It is above all a problem between the countries of the South. Bangladeshi scientists predict that 20 million of their fellow citizens will become climate refugees in 2030, unable to cultivate their flooded land. Migration has already begun: in 1995, half of Bhola Island (the largest island in Bangladesh) , was swallowed up by rising sea levels, tearing away 500,000 people from their homes. Neighboring India has already erected a border wall to limit the infiltration of illegal migrants.

The situation is extending to Western Africa, were desertification is taking major toll and affecting millions of lives.

“The Security Council recognizes the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes among other factors on the stability of West Africa and the Sahel region, including through drought, desertification, land degradation and food insecurity, and emphasizes the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies by governments and the United Nations relating to these factors.”

For example, conflicts that arise form the diminution of water are not solely caused by global warming but rather exacerbated by it. Indeed, these issues are only going to get worse if better governance is not made in these regions.

Foresight studies show that if not well managed, these conflicts can give birth too much bigger conflicts, influencing the socio-political environment of a whole region.

Studies showed that there is a non-negligible overlap between climate change affected areas in Africa and Piracy, due to the effects on the economy and these are likely to increase without any measure taken.

Moreover, as the acidification of the oceans causes fish migration, the area is particularly vulnerable to another type of conflicts: fishers move to foreign territories, which often causes the furry of the indigenes.

Changing the availability of water resources - scarcity, access issues - as a result of climate change has also enabled states and non-state actors to use water as a weapon. According to a recent study by Marcus King22 of George Washington University (USA), Somalia is particularly vulnerable to this combination of climate, conflict and militarization of aquatic resources (Epicenters of Climate and Security. Regional droughts experienced by Somalia in 2011 have been associated with climate change.

At this point, says Marcus King, the fundamentalist jihadist group ‘‘ Al-Shabaab changed its traditional guerrilla tactics and started to cut off liberated cities from their water sources so that they could demonstrate at least some kind of power and presence. Climate change, lack of food and continued conflict involving water weaponization took an enormous social toll. Limited access of humanitarian agencies exacerbated by al-Shabaab’s actions led to more than a quarter million deaths and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons.”

Section 3: Towards adaptation or mitigation

SS1: Impacts of global warming on human settlement

The Groundswell report by the World Bank on the environmental migration of 2018 is one of the first detailed studies on the likely effect of global warming on population’s migration related to climate change.

Indeed, studies are relatively difficult to achieve due to the apparition of other factors such as new work opportunities, demographic trends that can affect the desire to migrate to another place, independently from the natural disasters.

As enounced in the previous segments, the global warming affects directly and indirectly human settlement, understood as housing, its surroundings, and the social, medical and cultural infrastructures. The developing countries are more vulnerable to such environmental events because of the fragility of the infrastructures and the weak defense mechanisms.

The resettlement could be the most important short-term effect of global warming on population settlement. Indeed, the loss of habitat, economical, social and cultural resources caused by the climate change is today, a major cause of migration.

The displacements themselves lead to considerable new problems for the migrants and the local communities that are not always welcoming.

Indeed, diverse situations may arise from an added population, and be more exacerbated in developing countries:

- Health services, already of poor quality in certain areas are likely to be overcrowded and face incapacity;
- The overcrowd of sanitary facilities as well as the habitats that could lead to a high risk of quick new disease spread among both migrants and locals;
- The risk of rising criminality;

The migrations are already being observed in those spots: the Sahel countries are suffering a major progression of desertification, thus displacements.

In more developed countries, migration would be the last recourse to a policy of no response to new major environmental related to climate change that results in change of food supply or loss of habitat.

SS2-Perspectives to restrain climate change induced displacements

Before attaining the situation of forced migration, there are a few preventive steps that can have impacts on the extent of the phenomenon.

1-Greenhouse gases emissions reduction policies

The Paris Climate Agreement was concluded on December 12, 2015, following the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It came into effect on November 4, 2016, less than a year after its adoption. Important international cooperation is needed to attain the goal of the Paris Agreement’s goal of restraining the temperature to rise at less than 2°C by the end of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, the USA, one of the biggest polluters policy towards the issue is not an ally to the convention. Indeed, the USA announced their retirement form the convention on the 17th of June 2017, leaving it being the only country to stay outside the Agreement. It is unfortunate, as, the window of opportunity to cut greenhouse gases and reverse warming trends is closing quickly. Knowing that even if the goals of the Paris Agreement are met, Earth will still be prey to some internal climate change induced migration.

The fact that most of the world is preoccupied by the ecological, economical and even political effects of the fast growing climate change is a positive step forwards; as the international community is putting into place new strategies.

Indeed, from the energy sector to the agricultural one, new standards are being put in place: changes in agro-pastoral practices, air pollution control and even land utilization are being observed all around the globe.

The concern surrounding the reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions is mostly based on the ‘polluter pays’ doctrine. Indeed, it mostly consists of public policies that put in place taxes such as the carbon tax, taxes on gasoline and fossil fuels, higher taxes on high carbon fuels as opposed to natural gas for example.

The trend is increasing those taxes in order to create a shift in energy type and most of all, increase the market opportunities for renewable energies and energy conservation technologies.

Renewable energies, also called Renewables refer to a set of means of energy production from theoretically unlimited sources or resources, available without time limit or things to be reconstituted more quickly than they are consumed.23

They are sources of renewable and non-renewable energy on a human scale: coal, oil, natural gas ... On the contrary, renewable energies are produced from sources such as the sun's rays, or wind, which are theoretically unlimited on a human scale.

They are also referred to as "green energies" or "clean energies". The low environmental impact of their operations makes them a major element of the social responsibility strategies of companies in sustainable development.

Renewable energies are also sometimes criticized because, in addition to the CO2 emissions they can avoid, they are characterized by a number of more or less hidden or indirect environmental costs. Thus, wind turbines or solar panels depend on large amounts of finite resources to be built. This is particularly the case of some rare metals or materials, whose reserves are not infinite. The journalist Guillaume Pitron thus published in 2018 a book denouncing "The hidden face of the energy transition", investigating in particular the environmental impacts of the production of renewable energy infrastructure.

But, the energy transition still offers a better future to the environment.

The inevitable progression of renewable energy, favored by climate issues and the evolution of regulations, offers major and long-term opportunities in terms of job creation and new jobs (research, engineering, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, operation, etc.).

Such public policies will clearly impact the structure of energy investment.

For example, in France in 2017, renewable energies cover 18.4% of the electricity consumed. The leading source of renewable energy in France remains hydropower, which accounts for 10.1% of electricity consumed, followed by wind (5%), solar (2%) and biomass (1.5%).

According to the energy transition law passed in 2015, the country must increase the share of renewable energies to 23% of gross final energy consumption in 2020 and 32% of gross final energy consumption in 2030.


1 Groundswell report, ‘‘Preparing for Internal Climate Migration", march 19th, 2018 for the World Bank

2 Stark and Bloom 1985

3 Lee, 1966.

4 Waldinger, 2015

5 See figure 1 in Annex, part III (maps and graphics)

6 (IPCC, 02/2007)

7 IPCC Report Climate Change 2013,The Physical Science Basis

8 See figure 2 in Annex part III (maps and graphics)

9 Golitsyn, 1989; Hansen et al., 1989

10 Henderson-Sellers and Blong, 1989

11 See figure 3 in annex III (maps and graphics)

12 Kattelmann, 2003

13 CNN reports

14 Viterito, 1989

15 De La Croix, 1990

16 Schewe and others 2014

17 Day Zero deferred, but Cape Town's water crisis is far from over by David Mckenzie and Brent Swails, CNN

18 Trenberth and others 2014

19 IPCC 2013b

20 The Emerging Politics of the Arctic Ocean: Future Management of the Living Marine Resource s by the Fridtjdf Nansens Institute

21 American Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. 96

22 "Water Stress Instability and Violent Extremism in Nigeria" in Water, Security and U.S. Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2017)


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The emergence of climate change displacements and the challenge of building an effective legal framework
Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Climate change, Environemental refugees, Kyoto protocol
Quote paper
Rayana Nargoungou (Author), 2018, The emergence of climate change displacements and the challenge of building an effective legal framework, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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