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Workshop on Data and Methods for Modelling Migration

Associated with Climate Change

5-6 December 2016

Sciences Po, Paris, France

Organized by Alex de Sherbinin (CIESIN, Columbia University; and Population-Environment Research Network), François Gemenne (Politics of the Earth programme, Sciences Po), and Richard Seager (Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University), with funding from the Alliance Program.


This two-day workshop focused on modelling the potential migration associated with climate change at a variety of scales and using different data and methods.  When discussing so-called “climate refugees”, the most frequently asked question by decision-makers and the media relates to the numbers of people who are likely to migrate owing to climate change impacts. Thus far the academic community has largely been silent, and estimates have been developed by a number of non-governmental organizations and interest groups, most of which are back-of-the-envelope estimates. Unfortunately, despite their shaky foundations, these numbers are often widely cited. While the difficulties of developing useful future estimates are non-trivial, there are some promising emerging approaches for the research and modelling community to pursue. There are also lessons to be learned from the quantitative climate modelling and climate-conflict communities. Therefore, goal of this workshop was to bring together the community interested in data and modelling related to population migration associated with climate variability and change. This will allow for a thorough comparison of methodologies and the delineation of a clear research agenda that would lead to more robust predictions and scenarios of people displaced by climate change impacts. 


Presentations – Day 1

9:00-9:30              Welcome and introductions

9:30-10:00           Big Picture Questions (facilitated by Alex de Sherbinin and François Gemenne)

  • Introduction (PDF 3.1MB) (Alex de Sherbinin)
  • Why the need for global numbers?
  • How will scenario-based global projections be used?
  • What is the potential for “mis-use”?
  • To what extent is the quest for future numbers driven by policy demand, media interest, or by research interest?

10:00-11:15         Migration and Displacement Data Availability (chair: Richard Seager)

11:15-11:30         Break

11:30-12:30         Assessing Climate Impacts that May Generate Migration Flows (chair: Susana Adamo)

12:30-13:30         Lunch

13:30-15:30         CC Migration Modeling Methodologies (chair: Etienne Piguet)

15:30-15:45         Break

15:45-17:00        Wrap up and discussion





Alex de Sherbinin

CIESIN, Columbia University

Francois Gemenne

Sciences Po

Richard Seager

Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

Guy Abel

Asian Demographic Research Institute, Shanghai University

Susana Adamo

CIESIN, Columbia University

Jonas Bergman

World Bank

Luka De Bruyckere

The Hugo Observatory, University of Liege

Reiko Hasegawa

Sciences Po / Hugo Observatory on Environmental Migration

Leiwen Jiang

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Bryan Jones

CUNY Institute for Demographic Research

Kaoru Kakinuma

Columbia University / Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Dominick Kniveton

University of Sussex

Marc Levy

CIESIN, Columbia University

Lucile Maertens

Sciences Po and CIESIN, Columbia post-doc

Marina Mastrorillo

Princeton University

Leonardo Milano

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)

Nuno Nunes

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Michael Oppenheimer

Princeton University

Etienne Piguet

University of Neufchatel

Kanta Kumari Rigaud

World Bank

Jacob Schewe

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Alessandro Sorchetti

University of Southampton

Judith Voss-Stemping

German Environment Agency

Yoshihide Wada

IIASA / Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

David Wrathall

Portland State University

Caroline Zickgraf

University of Liege

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