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The World Today presents: From Catastrophe to Cooperation? New Approaches to Climate Migration
12:00pm - 1:00pm ET
Virtual Event


The single greatest impact of climate change could be its disruption to how people live and work. 

Rising seas, extreme heat, drought, and other severe weather events could force people across the world to leave their homes and livelihoods behind in search of safety. In recent years, policymakers at all levels of governance have become increasingly aware of this urgent issue and begun to shape policy responses. Some progress has been made, but it may not be enough to make a meaningful difference.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018, which includes recognition of the need to address those moving or displaced due to climate impacts. Some countries and regions are already examining ways to include mobility in regional movement agreements and national plans for climate adaptation. Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development has explicitly included climate migrants in its Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, and many of the Pacific Islands have engaged in such planning. The White House recently announced plans to establish for establishing a new initiative and policy process on climate change and migration, which may provide opportunities for more U.S. engagement at home and abroad on this topic. However, the IPCC’s recent report provides evidence of the rapid, large-scale and possibly permanent changes in the world’s climate system which are already unfolding.

How can countries work together on the challenges of climate change and migration? How can global institutions respond effectively to a world that is increasingly on the move? What else urgently needs to be done? Join Perry World House experts Michelle Leighton, Koko Warner, and Michael Weisberg for a discussion on these issues and more.

Please note that this event is virtual only. Details of how to take part can be found in your order confirmation email.


Michelle Leighton is Chief of the Labour Migration Branch for the International Labour Organization, leading the global program on labor migration and mobility related to migrant workers and refugees. She is an expert in international law, human rights, climate displacement, and development, receiving her LL.M degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1987. She serves as an expert on the UNFCCC's Warsaw International Mechanism Task Force on displacement related to climate change. Leighton is a former member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Migration, was a United States Fulbright Scholar, and held the Munich Re Foundation Chair on Social Vulnerability at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security. She also served on the German Marshall Fund’s Trans-Atlantic Study Team on Climate and Migration. She directed the Center for Law and Global Justice Human Rights Program at the University of San Francisco Law School, and co-founded the Natural Heritage Institute in San Francisco leading programs on environment, migration, corporate social responsibility, and human and labor rights.

Koko Warner is an expert on climate change risks, impacts, and resilience at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat. She manages the Vulnerability subdivision, where she guides the global adaptation knowledge-to-action hub and the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. Warner is a lead author for the IPCC 5th and 6th Assessment Reports, including the Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Previously at UNFCCC, she supervised the loss and damage policy area. Before joining UNFCCC, Warner was founder and Executive Director of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative, and scientific director of environmental migration and social resilience at UN University in Bonn. The International Council of Science named Warner among the top 20 women in the climate change debate. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics.


Michael Weisberg is Senior Faculty Fellow and Director of Post-Graduate Programs at Perry World House, as well as Bess W. Heyman President's Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. An expert in philosophy of science, climate policy, and social ecology, he serves as Editor-in-Chief of Biology and Philosophy, advisor to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Nairobi Work Programme and the Republic of Maldives, and directs Penn’s campus-wide research in Galápagos. He is the author of Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World and Galápagos: Life in Motion, as well as a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 6th Assessment Report. Professor Weisberg received a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego in 1999, and continued graduate study in Philosophy and Evolutionary Biology at Stanford University, earning a 2003 Ph.D. in Philosophy.