14 September 2017 - 15 September 2017
New York, USA

Climate change across borders

IIASA researcher Alison Heslin will present latest research on global effects of climate change on population at the Gallatin Climate Change Initiative Conference.

Aerial view of Ipoly river between Hungary and Slovakia on flood © skapuka/shutterstock

Aerial view of Ipoly river between Hungary and Slovakia on flood © skapuka/shutterstock

When it comes to climate change, the work of scientists is conclusive: In the past half-century, that work has produced a widely accepted consensus that the planet is warming and that humans are responsible. Though scientists must continue to monitor the amount of warming and to track its effects, climate change is a complex problem whose unfolding will reach beyond such analysis. Recognizing this, scholars in fields other than the natural sciences have recently begun to mobilize their disciplinary expertise to respond to climate change.

The goal of this conference is for faculty and students, at Gallatin and NYU, to engage with this new work. The leading questions will be: How can we use that study to imagine the transformations and losses of climate change? How can we make concrete the challenges that humans will face in the next century? How can we grapple with the ethical issues presented by a problem whose most intense effects will be experienced by populations other than those most responsible for planetary warming? How can we inspire people in the present to create a different future, to slow warming, or to mitigate its effects?

Alison Heslin will give a presentation entitled "Climate Change Across Borders: Global Effects", research she contucted together with Rosalind Fredericks, Ritty Lukose,Jacob Remes,  Alejandro Velasco, and Jerome Whitington, on Friday, September 15, 9:30–11:00 am.

The conference is free open to the public. More information is available on the event website.


The potential land loss for island countries from sea level rise raises many concerns regarding how nation-states will continue to function politically and economically in the event of climate-induced relocation of their populations. While these political and economic consequences are of immediate importance, one must also consider the effect of migration on culture. This study adds to the discussion of climate change loss and damage by addressing non-economic losses, focusing on the impacts of relocation on cultural heritage. Drawing on interviews with migrants from the Marshall Islands to the United States, this study seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities of cultural preservation among the Marshallese diaspora. Marshallese accounts of life in the United States indicate many opportunities for cultural preservation, particularly for those living in communities with large Marshallese populations, while also presenting challenges based on social, economic, and geographic differences between the U.S. and the RMI. Understanding the means through which Marshallese migrants maintain cultural traditions and the challenges current migrants face can help us address potentially avoidable losses of cultural in the event of mass displacement.

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Last edited: 16 August 2017

IIASA Project

Forecasting Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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