Bergen Summer Research School

Climate Change and Inequality of Mobility

Climate change has been recognized by the IPCC as likely to be one of the major drivers of migration. This course explores mainly the normatively relevant consequences and challenges this might introduce or exacerbate. It will mainly focus on the normative issues of migration ethics and climate justice.

Main content

Course leaders
Johannes Servan, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen.
Christine Straehle, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Hamburg, Germany.

Guest lecturers
Ayelet Shachar, Professor of Law, University of Toronto, Canada
Chris Armstrong, Professor of Political Theory, University of Southampton, UK
Kathinka Fossum Evertsen, PhD Candidate, Institute for Social Research, Norway
Jessica Schultz, Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway
David Miller, Professor of Political Theory, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK

The course will familiarize the students with the current state and new directions in theoretical and empirical approaches to immobility, migration or forced displacement understood as induced or exacerbated by climate change.

The course will take its point of departure in a set of questions that seek to address fundamental challenges that the phenomenon of climate change brings about to the already highly complex phenomenon of human mobility. For instance: How do we identify environmental migrants, or even the climate-induced displaced, from other migrants? If climate change is just one of several drivers, how do we make reasonable moral or legal claims on this ground? To enable and motivate the students to partake in discussions on these questions, international scholars will give lectures on topics within their field of expertise.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Be able to assess the scientific, political, and moral value of central concepts associated with mobility and climate change, such as “climate induced displacement”
  • Be able to distinguish clearly between normative and descriptive approaches to the issue of climate change and its impact on human mobility
  • Be familiar with the empirical research on the unevenly distributed consequences that ongoing climate changes have and will have on human mobility
  • Be familiar with central normative theoretical arguments that may justify moral claims of affected parties as individuals or as collectives.


Participation at the BSRS is credited under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Participants submitting an essay, in a form of a publishable manuscript of 10-20 pages, after the end of the summer school will receive 10 ECTS. Deadline for submission will be decided by your course leader.

It is also possible to participate without producing an essay. This will give you 4 ECTS. In order to receive credits, we expect full participation in the course-specific modules, plenary events and roundtables.

Course leaders

Johannes Servan is an assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen, Norway. His main research interest is in cosmopolitan issues such as rights of migrants and refugees, democratic involvement of affected parties across borders and climate justice. In his thesis he explored the Kantian notion of cosmopolitan rights as a distinct category of human rights, and in his last article he discussed the value of a cosmopolitan application of citizen’s assemblies to allow foreigners to participate in the deliberation on fair national climate policies.

Christine Straehle is a professor in practical philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Hamburg, Germany. Her research interest broadly includes ethics of migration, global justice, and bioethics, with a special emphasis on migration and justice in health. She is currently working on a new project on climate-induced migration.