The defining crisis of our time
: climate change and migration: a comprehensive approach on what to do about climate migrants

  • Filipa Alexandra Rodrigues de Almeida Saraiva (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Climate disasters, environmental degradation, and the adverse effects of climate change are causing the displacement of individuals submerged in unknown waters in the realms of protection, where there is a legal gap in what is or, in this case, is not provided for them. More than 200 million people are expected to be forcibly displaced by the climate by 2050. Through a comprehensive analysis of the international panorama, the interconnected global challenges and their current unpredictability, the existential threat to human life posed by climate change, and the complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon per se of climate-induced migration, this dissertation will develop how to approach the problem of climate migration under this critical conjuncture for humankind. At the heart of a profound transformation of the current global dynamic, marked by uncertainty and the prevalence of national interests to the detriment of collective wellbeing, lies the issue of climate change. Such a crisis, with impacts on all levels of society, transcends national borders and calls for action based on international cooperation, particularly in view of the perverse effect it will have on human mobility. The exponential increase in climate-induced migration, whether internal or external, can be contained if our actions and collective mitigation efforts are both rapid and effective, which has not occurred as we find ourselves at the critical limit of global temperature projections. From an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and long-term perspective, and based on the assumption that climate migration requires current legal frameworks related to the protection of migrants and/or refugees at a regional level to be adapted to this new reality, which does not comply with a one-size-fits-all approach. This dissertation aims to analyze not only the impact of climate change as a whole on migratory movements but also what possible and innovative ways of solving this problem are currently available to bridge the existing knowledge gaps and promote multilateral cooperation in shaping a sustainable future.
Date of Award11 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorAntónio Fontes Ramos (Supervisor) & Francisco Proença Garcia (Co-Supervisor)


  • Climate migration
  • Climate change
  • Displacement
  • Protection
  • International cooperation


  • Mestrado em Ciência Política e Relações Internacionais: Segurança e Defesa

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