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In a recent BBC World Service broadcast, Tim Harford and Hannah Barnes investigate recent claims by politicians and environmentalists that environmental problems will create 200 million migrants.

In a speech to the centre-left IPPR think tank in London, Chris Bryant MP, Britain’s shadow immigration minister states that “So if we get climate change wrong, there is a very real danger we shall see levels of mass migration as yet unparalleled.”

These claims and others made by environmenalists are investigated in a BBC World Service segment: More or Less - Counting Climate Migrants.

In the segment, former IMI director Stephen Castles is quoted from a 2011 interview with Hannah Barnes in which he outlines his concerns about Norman Myers’ predictions for migration caused by environmental change.

Many migration experts believe these claims to be exaggerated, including current IMI co-director Hein de Haas, who argues that the idea that future changes in climate or environmental degradation will lead to massive outflows of migrants to the Western world are highly exaggerated.

In IMI Working Paper 70, the authors Michel Beine and IMI research officer Christopher Parsons examine environmental change as a potential determinant of international migration. The study finds no direct impact of climatic change on international migration across the entire sample of bilateral migration flows over period 1960-2000.

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