This study is the first to comprehensively address the impacts of climate change on population trends. Existing studies on population and climate change focus either on the effects of population growth on climate change or on identification of populations at risks to climatic hazards. There is virtually no literature on the mechanisms and the extent to which climate change affects and will affect demographic outcomes. It is even not clear whether climate change may increase or decrease fertility, mortality and migration. Being the first study to comprehensively and systematically address this issue, this project is very timely given that climate change impacts have already been felt and are forecast to be much stronger in the future.
The project has four main objectives: 1) to study the way (direction and extent) in which climate change influences demographic outcomes; 2) to examine the differential impacts of climate change on subgroups of populations; 3) to identify the mechanisms through which climate change influences demographic outcomes; 4) to forecast future population dynamics under climate change.
The project will analyse fertility, mortality and migration separately, using a variety of methodologies and datasets. Results from these analyses will then be used to inform the population projections under future climate change scenarios. Our methodological approach is innovative. We will utilise and combine geo-referenced climate, demographic and socioeconomic data from different data sources (surveys and social media data) at the individual-, regional and country-level. Structural equation models are employed to identify the causal pathways and machine learning method is used to handle large-scale data.
Results will be particularly important for: 1) helping the scientific community in building more realistic scenarios about populations trends under the rapid pace of climate change; 2) informing the international debate over the social costs of climate change; and 3) providing a set of estimations useful to design better social and environmental policies.
POPCLIMA project funded by the European Research Council (Grant agreement number: 101002973).
Host institution: Department of Statistical Sciences, Unversity of Bologna, Italy