, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 344-370
Date: 23 Mar 2010

Climate change and population migration in Brazil’s Northeast: scenarios for 2025–2050

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Abstract

This research contributes to an understanding of the relationship between climate change, economic impacts and migration. We model the long-term relationship (up to 45 years of projection) between demographic dynamics—particularly migration—driven by changes in the performance of the economy due to climate changes in the Northeast region of Brazil. The region is of particular relevance to the study of climate change impacts given its large human population (28% of Brazil’s population) and high levels of impoverishment, having an extensive semi-dry area which will be severely impacted by growing temperatures. Ultimately, the integrated model generates state- and municipal-level migration scenarios based on climate change impacts on the primary economic sectors and their articulations with other sectors. Results suggest that the predicted climate changes will impact severely the agriculture sector in the region, acting as a potential migration push factor to other regions in the country. Finally, we discuss how the increased vulnerability of some groups, particularly migrants, can be factored into Brazilian public policy and planning.