March 23rd (11:30 am – 1:00 pm)
Room 316, New Chancellor Day Hall, McGill Faculty of Law
Political narratives on climate or environmental migration have been deployed in support of policy arguments relating to humanitarian assistance, migration, climate change, or to promote national security or economic interests. But if climate change certainly has various impacts on human mobility, it does not appear to create distinct “climate migrants” or (in general) unprecedented migration scenarios. This presentation by Benoit Mayer on the Concept of “Climate Migration” explores these narratives and assesses their prospects. It argues that although such arguments will influence global governance, they will not necessarily achieve what advocates hope for. Throughout the discussion, it appears that the weaknesses of the concept of “climate migration” are likely to be utilized in favour of repressive policies against migration or for the defence of industrial nations against perceived threats from the Third World.
About the speaker
Benoit Mayer is Associate Professor at the International Law Institute and the Environmental Law Institute of Wuhan University, in China. His research focuses in particular on the relations between climate change and human mobility, and how they may induce changes in international governance. He holds a PhD in law from the National University of Singapore, a LL.M. from McGill University, a Master in political sciences from Sciences Po (Lyon), and a “Maîtrise” in public laws from the university Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is a research associate with the Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, and also a research fellow with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) and with the Earth System Governance project.
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