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How Will Climate Migration Reshape Our World?


Climate change is a threat multiplier, so people are also suffering conflict, or poverty, or prejudice, or discrimination, and climate change is adding to all of these threats and making people move. 

Gaia Vince

Floods, fires, drought and disasters are already displacing more people globally than conflict.

The climate emergency is destroying crops, homes and infrastructure and as the world heats over the coming decades whole cities may become unliveable, forcing populations to move in their tens of millions. How can we manage this unprecedented human movement to achieve productive, sustainable societies this century?

Proposals range from the already real to the politically radical – such as global free movement, caretaker states, repurposed cities, and migration authorities with real power. Will we choose to invest in productive, pragmatic plans for the coming climate and demographic changes, or find ourselves forced to improvise in an acute crisis?

Hear from award-winning science writer and the author of Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World Gaia Vince, for a keynote talk followed by a conversation with Guardian Australia’s immigration reporter Ben Doherty, and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law Jane McAdam, about how climate migration will reshape our world.

To access a transcript of this podcast please head here.

Presented by the UNSW Centre for ideas and supported by the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and Adelaide Writers’ Week.

Gaia Vince

Gaia Vince

Gaia Vince is a science writer and broadcaster exploring the interplay between human systems and the planetary environment. She is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Anthropocene Institute at UCL. Her first book, Adventures In The Anthropocene won the Royal Society Science Book of the Year Prize. Her latest book, Nomad Century: How To Survive The Climate Upheaval, explores global migration and planetary restoration in a radical call to arms.

Jane McAdam

Jane McAdam

Jane McAdam AO is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She publishes widely in international refugee law and forced migration, with a particular focus on climate change, disasters and displacement. In 2022, she led the drafting of the Pacific Regional Framework on Disaster Mobility, a world-first instrument that is being deliberated by Pacific governments. She is joint Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the leading journal in the field. She serves on a number of international committees, including the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea-Level Rise (as Co-Rapporteur until 2018); the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement; the Technical Advisory Group for the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security Programme; and the Advisory Council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. In 2017, she received the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights for her work on refugees and forced migration. In 2021, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 'for distinguished service to international refugee law, particularly to climate change and the displacement of people'. 

Ben Doherty

Ben Doherty

Ben Doherty is immigration correspondent for The Guardian Australia, based in the Sydney newsroom. He was formerly the Bangkok-based Southeast Asia Correspondent for The Guardian, and South Asia Correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in New Delhi. He has reported from more than 20 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, and throughout the Asia-Pacific. Ben has twice been awarded a Walkley Award, Australia's highest journalism honour, most recently in 2013 for a six-month investigation into sweatshop labour conditions and worker deaths in the Bangladeshi garment industry. He has written extensively on, and has a particular interest in, the issues of child and forced labour in developing economies, and the movement of refugees and forced migrants. Ben was the Walkley Young Australian Print Journalist of the Year in 2008 and has been a finalist in the United Nations Media Peace awards, and Amnesty International Media Awards. Ben holds a Master of International Law and International Relations from UNSW Sydney and he completed his Masters at Oxford with a thesis titled, Open Ocean: the politics of protection for climate migrants in the Pacific. 

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