Scientific publication in Marine Biology - Environmental economics

Representative Key Risk - Migration (RKR-M). RKR-M includes forms of migration and (im)mobility that occur when there is a high degree of climate-related local decline in physical suitability and high risks to the agency of the migrants. The grey shading in the RKR-M quadrant reflects the potential for moderating suffering with appropriate interventions. Darker grey shades represent higher risks of increased suffering as there are fewer acceptable and/or more costly options for addressing the harms related with these forms of migration. This Figure is illustrative. The placement of any given form of mobility may shift based on context and conditions of movements. For example, high physical suitability challenges with low agency challenges could exist in developed country contexts such as low-lying areas in the Netherlands or high-value coastal development in the United States. © Gilmore et al. 2024 Historically rare climate hazard thresholds are becoming more common. Under the high-emissions scenario RCP8.5 by 2100, at most coastal locations, extreme sea level events deemed 1 in 100-year flood events are projected to increase in frequency to more than 10 times per year due to sea level rise alone. Projected number of days per year by 2100 exceeding a 33 °C wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) is also depicted. From (Horton et al., 2021) with permission. Present day global distribution of settlements of refugees and internally displaced persons and the annual mean surface air temperatures predicted for the period 2040–2059 in RCP8.5. Persons in these camps are generally highly restricted in their movements and thus are highly constrained in their capacity to reduce exposure. This lack of agency could thus result in severe risks to life and wellbeing due to forced immobility. Reproduced from (Birkmann et al., 2022) with permission.

Dr Nathalie Hilmi, head of the Environmental economics at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, has published a new paper with some IPCC colleagues about environmental migration.

While migration is often conceptualized as an adaptive response to climate hazards, migration can also present severe risks to people on the move. In this paper, we attempt to operationalize the Representative Key Risks (RKR) framework of the Sixth Assessment Report of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for human mobility. First, we provide a framework for understanding how mobility risks emerge by engaging with the concept of habitability. We argue that uninhabitability occurs where the physical environment loses suitability and where there is a loss of agency in local populations. The severity of the risk from the loss of habitability is then represented by the high potential for human suffering. When climate hazards affect physical suitability and agency, the forms of migration that occur undermine human wellbeing and the right to self-determination: forced displacement, community relocation/resettlement, and involuntary immobility. Second, we show how such forms of mobility are more or less likely along different Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). 

This paper asserts a central concern around human suffering to recentre scenario discourse on where, and how, adaptation, changes to development patterns, and government policies can reduce this suffering. Proactive governance at local, national, and international levels that attends to people’s adaptation and mobility needs can avert the more frequent emergence of severe risks related to mobility in a changing climate.​​​​​​​

Publication :
Gilmore E. A., Wrathall D., Adams H., Buhaug H., Castellanos E., Hilmi N., McLeman R., Singh C., Adelekan I. Defining severe risks related to mobility from climate change. Climate Risk Management, 44 (2024) 100601

For more information, please contact :
Dr Nathalie Hilmi