Between climate justice and mobility justice, is law capable of meeting the challenges ahead?Between climate justice and mobility justice, is law capable of meeting the challenges ahead?
Legal research on ‘climate migration’ relies on a shaky conceptualisation of the issue. From the perspective of migration law, it does not make sense to protect a category of migrants based on the reason why they moved in the first place: people decide to migrate for several interrelated reasons and have the same difficulties once on the road. From the perspective of environmental law, more consistency is needed. Some people face the same troubles as those among them who move without being able to do so, while those who indeed move would often prefer to stay. The issue must also be addressed upstream, by acting on the need to take the road. More than “how to protect climate migrants?”, our interest lies in answering the question “how to manage mobility in a context of environmental degradation?”.
This legal question alone will nevertheless be insufficient. The current legal framework leaves room for progressive interpretation and well-conceived proposals for new legal instruments exist, yet nothing concrete has emerged. We need to overcome these impasses by taking a closer look at reality. Anthropology is a powerful tool when it comes to confronting the law with its impact on the ground, which we will do on the basis of three case studies: metropolitan France, overseas France and Senegal. The conclusions will not, however, be limited to the geographical areas of these case studies, which will rather serve to highlight the difficulties in creating a law that is in line with the challenges that lie ahead.