Interplays Between Demographic and Climatic ChangesMay 20, 2010 By Wilson Center StaffImpacts of Population Change on Vulnerability and the Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change and Variability: A Typology Based on Lessons from ‘a Hard Country,’” appearing in the journal Population and Environment, is a study of societal resilience by Robert McLeman from the University of Ottawa. Beginning with a literature review of the connections between population growth and greenhouse gas emissions, McLeman then details how demographic changes can negatively affect resilience–the ability of societies to cope and adapt to climate changes. Based on empirical studies of small communities undergoing local climate and demographic changes in eastern Ontario, McLeman finds that simultaneous demographic and climatic change “increased stress on local social networks…critical to climate adaptation.”
“Climate Change and Population Migration in Brazil’s Northeast: Scenarios for 2025–2050,” also appearing in the journal Population and Environment, examines “demographic dynamics–particularly migration–driven by changes in the performance of the economy due to climate changes.” The region of study was chosen for its high levels of both population and poverty and its dry climate, “which will be severely impacted by growing temperatures.” The study concludes that predicted climate change impacts on agriculture are potential push migration factors and offers policy and planning recommendations to reduce migrant vulnerabilities.
Both articles are part of Population and Environment‘s special issue on “Climate Change: Understanding Anthropogenic Contributions and Responses.”