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What we get wrong about migration and climate change

The chance to prevent climate-linked migration passed decades ago. But there are things governments could do to help

By Alex Randall  

(180203) -- ILI, Feb. 3, 2018 (Xinhua) -- A herder's shelter is seen in Akyaz Valley, Zhaosu County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Jan. 16, 2018. About 130 kilometers from the nearest town, Akyaz Valley is an important winter grazing place for herders in Zhaosu County, Xinjiang. Despite an altitude of 2,000 meters, the Akyaz Valley has a warmer climate than surrounding areas and abundant grass and water. It is sometimes referred to as "the valley of life." For centuries, herding has been an ancestral tradition for nomadic Kazakhs in Zhaosu. Migration begins in October, and more than 10,000 people drive 400,000 cattle and sheep to their winter homes, not leaving until May the next year. (Xinhua/Hu Huhu) (wyo)(zt)

Most of what you know about climate-linked migration is probably wrong. The media usually report on the connections that are most dramatic or tragic, skewing the picture.

This doesn’t mean that people won’t move because of the impacts of climate change. They absolutely will. For millions of people, migration is already how they are adapting to climate change. Droughts, hurricanes, floods and sea level rise are all forcing people to…

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