By:  Ayman Babar

(Student 2020 , School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Habib University)

Dr. Alice Baillat is a specialist of the geopolitics of Climate Change, and currently also a research fellow at IRIS. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from Sciences Po Paris. She also holds a research master in International relations from Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne University. Her research mostly focuses on the migratory consequences of climate change, and international climate negotiations. She takes a closer look at the specific situation and needs of the most vulnerable developing countries and their negotiation strategies.

On the 7th of December 2018, at Habib University, Dr. Alice Baillat delivered a talk on a topic which is not talked amongst many: Climate Change and how it is driving human migration. The first half of the talk highlighted three main objectives: Climate-induced Migration: Who, What and how many? , What are the links between climate and Security and Climate conflict nexus: The Syrian Case.

Climate change is an inevitable and urgent global issue that has directly or indirectly impacted the lives of people everywhere around the world. According to several environmentalists including the speaker, we have entered into a new anthropocene epoch since the Industrial Revolution. Ever since machines have been invented, humans have started exploiting the planet for their own use resulting in the magnitude of climate change seen and felt today. The speaker highlighted a much-underestimated issue of migration, security, and conflict due to the climate change. Humans have been moving from one place to another due to several reasons, but climate change has added to the number of people moving from their places for living or origin to another. Though, it is quite difficult to quantify the number of people migrating from one place to another due to the climate change, it has been estimated that 200 million people will be displaced by 2050, according to the speaker.

The lecture also focused on different types of migration such as short distance migration, regional or international, planned or brutal and rushed, temporary or permanent, individual families or communities followed by the climatic factors leading to migration. The two main types of factors, slow onset processes which include desertification, resource scarcity, salinization, droughts, and sea levels rise, and second, the extreme climatic events such as floods, tropical storms, hurricanes, etc. The lecture focused on one of the toughest challenges faced during migration: the challenge of quantification. She mentioned that there are various obstacles which affect the data resulting in very little chances of accuracy.