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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new analysis of migration influenced by climate change calls for changes to U.S. immigration policy that enable more targeted efforts to address the topic.

The big picture: Climate change is already driving migration through flooding, drought and other effects, with more expected in the future, according to a brief from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Why it matters: "[C]limate migrants have little recourse within existing international frameworks and systems, or domestic U.S. law, that otherwise govern migration and forced displacement," CSIS notes.

  • That stems partly from the "difficulty of attributing climate change to human mobility as a singular — or even predominate — causal factor."

What they're saying: The report recommends ways that U.S. immigration policy could better deal with climate migrants and strengthen international efforts.

  • One of the ideas is that the Congress should create a new version of the Temporary Protected Status program "specifically for people temporarily displaced by climate change-related disasters."
  • Another idea is a "climate migrant resettlement program" for people permanently displaced by "rising sea levels, human heat thresholds, and/or agricultural tipping points."
  • The multilateral recommendations include a new Western Hemisphere regional compact on cross-border displacement, as a way to start "expanding the international legal architecture" on the topic.

What we're watching: Whether Joe Biden, if he wins, might weigh these or similar ideas.

What we don't know: The number of climate migrants, a tricky thing to count or even define.

  • The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center estimates an average of over 21 million people annually left home over the last decade due to storms, floods, droughts and other events, the report notes.
  • But parsing out the role of climate change in the displacement is tough.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

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