Home » Migrations due to climate change: are we on time?

Migrations due to climate change: are we on time?

by drbyos

Gregorio Andersen

Climate change is one of the main threats to man in the 21st century.

It endangers the right to life, health, water, food, housing, development and self-determination. With the increase in global temperature, the number of deaths, injuries and displacements due to climatic disasters, heat waves, droughts, epidemics and malnutrition increases.

The panorama does not seem to stop in Argentina and natural disasters are accelerating. It is necessary, then, to reflect on social rights in the country and the application of public funds to mitigate the effects; understanding that the political, many times, is the dialectical development of moments of confrontation-agreement between social practices and organizational forms; and make visible the space of tension that is generated as a migrant and the condition of a foreigner in these issues due to the lack of recognition.

the mean on the rise

All climate change refers to variations in temperatures and weather patterns. These phenomena can be natural, due to variations in solar activity or large volcanic eruptions. But since the 19th century, human activities have been the main driver of this change, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas (ONU, 2022). The global average temperature is about to cross the limit established in the Paris Agreement: one and a half degrees above pre-industrial temperatures.

According to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate change caused by greenhouse gases (GHGs) has caused half of plant and animal species to move north; many are locally extinct and others completely.

As for humans, between 3,300 and 3,600 million – almost half of the world’s population – live in environments that are highly vulnerable to this type of phenomenon, either due to their geographical location, their poor socioeconomic situation or both reasons at the same time. If the temperature continues to rise, it is possible that, say authors such as Servigne and Stevens (2020), it will cause a collapse and the humanicide of millions of people.


All living beings interact with each other and also with the soil, water, atmosphere and solar radiation. These interactions constitute what in 1926 Vernadsky called the “biosphere” and in 1979 Lovelock renamed “Gaia”, a thin layer that surrounds the earth and is about 20 kilometers wide. In this living envelope, solar radiation, gases, water, minerals and living beings do not stop moving and interweaving. They all move to feed and reproduce.

They do it on round trips, following the annual cycle of the seasons, or only on one-way trips, when there are climatic and ecological changes that threaten their survival and force them to search for new ecosystems.

Capitalism has continued to rapidly degrade all the natural cycles of the biosphere, including the terrestrial climate. In recent decades, there have been migratory waves that have two characteristics: they do not go from Europe to the rest of the world, but from the most impoverished countries to the richest ones; but the receiving states do not make it easier for them to arrive, instead they close their borders and deny them a residence permit, which makes them illegal, irregular or undocumented migrants. So, it is good to ask how to integrate the other into the State founded on the delimitation of borders, the affirmation of membership and citizen equality? Just as Cicogna and Kerz (2016) do in their text

Citizenship and democracy

We need to understand contemporary migrations to be able to regulate them with justice criteria. For this, the global geopolitical scale, the historical duration and the ecological link with the biosphere must be considered. Plants, animals and humans migrate. The latter, due to violence, inequality and environmental degradation, migrate to other places where not only the problem of recognition as a citizen subject in the State is put at stake, but also their acceptance -real or not- and insertion according to their needs. the forms, modalities and procedures adopted by the political system.

Despite all these data and forecasts, environmental migrations are still not recognized by international legislation. The norms that establish social rights are only programmatic norms, which do not grant subjective rights nor are they justiciable and the States should think about the pending obligations with their citizens.

Many studies claim the protection of environmental migrants with a status similar to that of refugees, but governments do not take up the proposal. Perhaps it arises from a detailed analysis that demands the examination of three thematic dimensions: rights, interests and the recognition of new identities.

What can be done?

Climate change is the main cause of species extinctions and human migrations. For this reason, global social and environmental justice must be instituted that simultaneously protects peoples, species and ecosystems.

For this, it will be necessary to work on the recognition of the dialectical link of Kerz (2008) of significance for itself in such a way that it facilitates the understanding of this problem as the constructive quality of a political domain that is revealed in the agenda. In such a way that in the phenomenon of migration the right or condition for the full exercise of citizenship is recognized: that the perception of dishonor or indignation experienced by the actor (migrant) who sees his identity denied, diminished or insulted, finds adequate institutionalized instruments to prevent aggression.

It is necessary to understand this novelty that affects the world in order to regulate uncertainties with criteria of justice. For this, a global environmental social justice must be instituted that simultaneously protects peoples, future generations, species and ecosystems.

And Argentina must face the mitigation of global emissions, adapting the socioeconomic and ecosystem functioning to this new reality. We are on time?

Graduate in Social Communication (UNRN). PhD student in Political Science (UB)

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