Environment and Sustainability

The growing Environment and Sustainability list is at the heart of our remit to publish quality scholarship that addresses global social challenges.

This list covers a broad spectrum of issues and focuses on the social justice dimensions of environmental sustainability, including in: climate change; environmental politics; developing sustainable economies; transport and sustainability; and environmentalist thought and ideology.

The new Open Access Global Social Challenges Journal incorporates these themes to facilitate critical thinking across disciplines and fields.

Environment and Sustainability

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This concluding chapter summarizes the arguments discussed in the book before turning to the future, extrapolating what these arguments could mean for future work on the migration and climate change nexus. The moral, so to speak, of this story is that changing policy making on migration and climate change does not just imply coming up with new policy ideas, populating a new policy domain with mentions of migration and climate change, or being open to a sprinkling of new faces in policy arenas. Instead, it entails reconsidering how people understand and talk about migration and climate change and undertaking a process of self-reflection: what perspective do people have on the issue and why? This does not necessarily involve interrogating the reasons why people are moving, or the extent to which people connect changes in weather patterns to their decisions to move or their inability to do so. Rather, this involves a process of critical reflection of the motives, both explicit and implicit, of the policy juggernaut. This perspective is really important if the migration and climate change nexus is going to exist as anything but a dire warning of the realities of climate change, and if policy responses are going to be transformative rather than buttresses for the current global state of affairs.

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Assessing migration in the context of climate change, this book draws on empirical research to offer a unique analysis of policy-making in the field. This detailed account is a vital step in understanding the links between global discourses on human mobilities, climate change and specific policy responses. The idea that people are being forced to move because of climate change, and that in the future even more people will be forced to do so, has captured imaginations globally. The majority of these representations of lives touched by climate change are expressions of outrage that the actions of a few will affect the lives of so many, that climate change will have consequences so grave that people will be forced to leave their homes. The aim of this book is to examine the distinct policy debate surrounding the climate change and human mobility nexus, in particular the construction of these two related concepts as a distinct phenomenon that requires policy responses.

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Assessing migration in the context of climate change, this book draws on empirical research to offer a unique analysis of policy-making in the field. This detailed account is a vital step in understanding the links between global discourses on human mobilities, climate change and specific policy responses. The idea that people are being forced to move because of climate change, and that in the future even more people will be forced to do so, has captured imaginations globally. The majority of these representations of lives touched by climate change are expressions of outrage that the actions of a few will affect the lives of so many, that climate change will have consequences so grave that people will be forced to leave their homes. The aim of this book is to examine the distinct policy debate surrounding the climate change and human mobility nexus, in particular the construction of these two related concepts as a distinct phenomenon that requires policy responses.

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This chapter provides an overview and detailed analysis of the central episodes of policy making on migration and climate change between 2010 and 2015. The first of these episodes is the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that took place in Cancun in December of 2010. This episode marked the first inclusion of the issue of human mobility in the context of climate change in a text agreed at the global level. The now infamous paragraph 14(f) of the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the provision relating to human mobility, invites Parties to undertake ‘measures to enhance understanding, coordination and cooperation with regard to climate change induced displacement, migration and planned relocation, where appropriate, at national, regional and international levels’ and has been a defining feature of policy making that has followed. One of the first attempts to follow up on Cancun was when UNHCR made climate-change-induced displacement one of the topics to be investigated during the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which opportunely fell on July 28, 2011.

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This chapter presents a continuation of the overview and analysis of the second chapter. The story is picked up at the close of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris negotiations, which, in the form of the decision of 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), created a specific entity to work on the issue of migration and climate change and thus marked the beginning of a new era of policy making in this area. This analysis covers the time period from 2015 until the end of 2018, when this entity—the Task Force on Displacement—presented its recommendations. As is to be expected from a highly technical UNFCCC entity, the recommendations of the Task Force are highly technical, and include proposals for extending the Task Force; providing information on intended financial support; creating synergies with other areas of the work plan; and upporting developing countries in integrating displacement concerns into their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCC. Despite events from the UNFCCC both setting the scene for and closing the chapter, a marked difference from the first fifteen episodes detailed in the second chapter is that the UNFCCC is much less the focus of policy making, with other policy fora also becoming important and actors that are new to the area creating new spaces for discussion.

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This chapter looks at a silence that is surprising because it is well established in elite policy making of the United Nations and the international community broadly, backed up with legal documents, norms and accepted parlance, but which prior to and indeed during the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) remained on the margins of the policy-making discourse: human rights. Climate change and human rights are not unusual bedfellows, with academics drawing on the utility of human rights as an analytical approach to the societal effects of climate change, and the link also featuring frequently and prominently within UN fora. Against this background, it is notable that human rights does not have a more prominent position in the policy-making discourse on migration and climate change. For this analysis, it is important to stress that human rights is a relative silence in the policy-making discourse on the migration and climate change nexus. It is described as such because human rights do actually feature in the discourse and have been very much present in broader debates surrounding the nexus.

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This introductory chapter discusses the relationship between migration and climate change. The idea that people are being forced to move because of climate change, and that in the future even more people will be forced to do so, has captured imaginations globally. The majority of these representations of lives touched by climate change are expressions of outrage that the actions of a few will affect the lives of so many, that climate change will have consequences so grave that people will be forced to leave their homes. These contributions to the discourse, infused with sentiments of climate justice and undertones of a fear of people on the move, are the facets of the discourse most often visible to wider society. They have also led to impassioned calls for action to be taken at the global level, where these vibrant, raw and often emotional pleas are transformed into the dry, bureaucratic, technocratic world of international policy making. Set against this background, the aim of this book is to examine the distinct policy debate surrounding the climate change and human mobility nexus, in particular the construction of these two related concepts as a distinct phenomenon that requires policy responses.

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International Policy and Discourse

Assessing migration in the context of climate change, Nash draws on empirical research to offer a unique analysis of policy-making in the field. This detailed account is a vital step in understanding the links between global discourses on human mobilities, climate change and specific policy responses. An important contribution to several ongoing debates in academia and beyond.

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This chapter examines what language is used to label the phenomenon of the migration and climate change nexus, and the quirks and discontinuities of this language use. The nodal point of the phenomenon of the migration and climate change nexus is key to the discussions in this book, for without it the policy-making discourse on migration and climate change would not be possible. The construction of the phenomenon in such a way that it has become accepted as existing, valid, and fixed in some way has allowed for the discourse to be reproduced and for policy-making endeavours to be undertaken. However, there is still a great deal of contention surrounding what the phenomenon is, with it meaning different things to different people. The result is that there is no single clear term that is attached to this phenomenon, with a plethora of language sharing the same discursive space. Equally, the different terms carry different nuances of meaning, which are also shifting as the discourse develops, or depending on who employs the term. The chapter analyses three different discursive constructions that are all prominent in international policy making, before turning to four additional concepts that are also occupying the discursive space.

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This chapter explains that while much of the world was still preoccupied with scenes of people arriving at Europe’s external borders in 2015 and the search for solutions to the crisis of migration that these scenes were widely taken to represent, in a setting that could not contrast more with the rawness of life and refuge being depicted in the viral images beaming their way around the world, negotiators from around the globe gathered in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The bureaucratic, meticulous, and technical world of climate change negotiations was, however, being explicitly connected to these emotional images, amid warnings that climate change would be the ‘Syria refugee crisis times 100’. The prominence of the topic of the large-scale displacement of people thus reportedly added ‘an ominous, politically sensitive undercurrent in the talks and side events’ in Paris. In a COP that was already being seen as highly relevant for the policy community on migration and climate change due to the large coordinated advocacy effort leading up to it, events playing out beyond the walls of the conference arguably brought even more relevance to this policy juncture. The chapter then considers mentions of human mobility within the Cancun Adaptation Framework and the Doha decision.

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