Confronting Climate-Induced Displacement

This policy brief provides an overview of climate-induced displacement and highlights actions the U.S. government should take to 1) prevent further displacement and 2) protect those who are already displaced. The term “climate-induced displacement” describes the situation of people who are forced to leave their homes, lands, and sometimes countries, in whole or in part, because of the adverse impacts of climate change.

Climate-induced displacement currently affects millions of people and will continue to grow as climate change decreases opportunities for dignified livelihoods. The U.S. holds an important leadership role in addressing the effects of this climate shift. CRS urges the U.S. government to adopt a policy framework which does the following: 

  1. Scale up action to avert and minimize climate-induced displacement by investing in adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and development programs.
  2. Provide compassionate protections for people who are displaced by climate impacts.
  3. In global fora, advocate for the integration of climate and displacement considerations 
    within international and national frameworks and funding arrangements.

CRS is called to support the integral human development of vulnerable populations, including communities affected by climate-induced displacement. The U.S. government must create a strong enabling environment for this life-saving work by advancing policies that recognize the close relationship between climate change and global movement patterns.

Published April 2024