Climate change and migration: What we know about the connection and what options there are for action

Annual Report | October 2023

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity. The consequences of global warming are multi-layered. Climate change-induced alterations in the environment and extreme weather events exacerbate not only existing social, economic and political pressures, but also increase the pressure to migrate. Climate change-induced migration is on the rise.

In its fourteenth Annual Report, the SVR analyses how climate change is influencing global, regional and local migration patterns and the urgent need for governments and policy-makers to respond.

In terms of practical politics, the SVR recommends using the entire spectrum of migration policy instruments. This includes measures adopted from refugee policies such as granting humanitarian visas, temporary legal protection or the suspension of repatriations to affected countries and regions, along with approaches from the field of migration policy, such as regional agreements on the free movement of persons. Further, the SVR proposes three innovative instruments: a climate passport, a climate card and a climate work visa. In adopting these instruments, the German Federal Government could assume a pioneering role in international responses to climate change and migration. The measures recommended by the SVR must be understood as building blocks in a greater overarching strategy comprising all tiers of politics, the economy and society. Such a strategy requires coordinated action that transcends departmental boundaries.