What Do We Know about Climate Change Impact on Population Dynamics?

Raya Muttarak , Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

The impact of climate change on human health, wellbeing and livelihoods is already being felt. With the increasing in frequency, intensity and severity of extreme weather events and anomalies under continued warming, this raises a question whether and to what extent climate change also affects demographic processes. There is some evidence showing that climatic conditions can have direct and indirect impacts on fertility, mortality and migration — the key demographic components underlying population dynamics — but the direction and magnitude of the effects are unclear. Without the knowledge on the potential impact of climate change on the three demographic processes, it becomes difficult to forecast future population trends and patterns under the changing climate. This paper aims to discuss mechanisms through which climate change may affect population dynamics and provides an overview of current empirical evidence. To my knowledge, existing global population projections have not yet accounted for the climate feedback on population dynamics. This paper thus will shed light on the potential climate impact and can inform assumptions and scenarios used for population projections.

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 Presented in Session P27. Development, Gender, and the Environment