Climate change refugees

Matthew Lister*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Under the UNHCR definition of a refugee, set out in the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, people fleeing their homes because of natural disasters or other environmental problems do not qualify for refugee status and the protection that come from such status. In a recent paper, I defended the essentials of the UNHCR definition on the grounds that refugee status and protection is best reserved for people who can only be helped by granting them refuge in a safe state for an indefinite period of time, and argued that this does not include most people fleeing from natural disasters. This claim is most strongly challenged by the possibility of displacement from climate change. In this paper, I will explore to what degree the logic of the refugee convention, as set out in my earlier paper, can and should be extended to those fleeing the results of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-634
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate change refugees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this