The complex relationship between human mobility and global climate change remains contested. In this viewpoint, the themes of human mobility, adaptation and climate change are explored from a political ecology perspective. A framework of political ecology of human mobility in relation to climate change is applied to the context of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (MKD). The Vietnamese government, popular media and academic studies often present the MKD in dystopian ways in which there is sometimes no more place for poor and landless farmers as a direct result of climate change. In 2019 and 2020, the MKD faced one of its most severe droughts in recent history largely tied to upstream hydropower development. In this viewpoint article, we contend that future studies can no longer establish a direct and causal relationship between climate change and human mobility, especially in light of these recent events. The underlying drivers as well as the broader context, which are shaped by political economy, market structures and forces, power relations, government policy, geopolitics, and transboundary water issues deserve a more prominent role in the analysis of human mobility patterns in the MKD and beyond.
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