Climate Migration and Moral Responsibility

Raphael J. Nawrotzki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Even though anthropogenic climate change is largely caused by industrialized nations, its burden is distributed unevenly with poor developing countries suffering the most. A common response to livelihood insecurities and destruction is migration. Using Peter Singer's 'historical principle', this paper argues that a morally just evaluation requires taking causality between climate change and migration under consideration. The historical principle is employed to emphasize shortcomings in commonly made philosophical arguments to oppose immigration. The article concludes that none of these arguments is able to override the moral responsibility of industrialized countries to compensate for harms that their actions have caused.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-87
Number of pages19
JournalEthics, Policy and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • causality
  • climate change
  • historical principle
  • immigration
  • justice
  • migrant
  • refugee


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