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Population - Environment Interactions: European migration, population composition and climate change

Category: Journal Articles


Harper, S. (2013) ‘Population–Environment Interactions: European migration, population composition and climate change.’ Environmental and Resource Economics,55: 525-541.

The paper addresses the collision of two twenty-first Century transitions—the unprecedented change in the size, composition, density and distribution of the human population, and rapid change in the earth’s natural environment, in part a response to the above. It argues that it is important to consider these aspects of population change and environment together in order to understand the reality of any mitigation that may be made. Following a review of research which is beginning to address not only the environmental impact of population growth, but also of changes in density, distribution and composition, the paper turns to explore the interaction of population composition and density with environmental change through addressing interactions between migration, ageing populations and climate change. It considers a key population question facing the EU, that of the demographic deficit, and addresses how the mitigating role of migration will be affected by future climate change. It thus considers whether migration is a valid policy approach in the context of Europe’s demographic deficit and the impact of climate change on this relationship.