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Just and unjust solutions to climate change and human displacement

Name: Aaron Saad, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Title: Just and unjust solutions to climate change and human displacement

Abstract: Climate change has the potential to displace historically unprecedented numbers of people, particularly in the global south, where poor nations have a diminished capacity to reduce the need to migrate through adaptation and to respond to the displacement that does occur. As this issue gains more attention, a number of solutions and responses have been proposed. These include the expansion of international humanitarian law instruments; managed forms of migration and resettlement; and the adjustment of policy to embrace and harness migration for development goals. I will present a critical assessment of these solutions, which have been proposed without significant participation by vulnerable and affected communities. I will argue that these solutions displace responsibility for addressing climate change-induced migration away from the developed nations that are most responsible for it—and in some cases place it onto the migrants themselves. I conclude by contrasting these solutions with those that would be consistent with climate justice principles.