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Climate change, conflict and displacement: five key misconceptions

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Caitlin Sturridge, Kerrie Holloway

Hero image description: A refugee camp in Kenya Image credit:Motionarray

Media and policy attention often take an alarmist tone when it comes to displacement crises and the complex interplay of drivers: climate and environmental change, disasters, conflict and fragility. This has contributed to the popular narrative that climate change will lead to mass-scale displacement, which in turn will lead to increased conflict.

This prevailing narrative has given rise to a series of misconceptions about conflict, climate and displacement that continue to resurface and reverberate in an echo chamber of headlines, press releases and campaigns. Unchecked, narratives such as these influence the tone and direction of policy and programmes, with real-life repercussions for those affected by climate, conflict and displacement.

This paper calls for a series of climate change, conflict and displacement ‘reality checks’ to nuance the mainstream narrative and popular logic behind these misconceptions.