Climate change is not a driving force behind migration today - but it could be in the future, residents in four European countries believe.

A survey of 4,000 residents of Britain, Germany, France and Norway found that most believe climate change is not a major reason for mass migration today - but about 40 percent think it will lead to an increase of migrants in the future, according to results released Wednesday.

The study, coordinated by Cardiff University in Britain, collaborated with institutions in Germany, France and Norway to examine perceptions of climate change in the four countries as they relate to science, public policy, renewable energy and migration.

This survey is one of the first looks at public beliefs about climate change as a potential catalyst for migration, said Nick Pidgeon, a Cardiff professor and the lead investigator.

While separating out the role of climate change among a range of drivers for migration is difficult, migrant flows in Europe in recent years have spurred growing conversation in news media on the issue, he said.

The problem is "it's almost impossible to show that, impossible to prove that" climate change is an important contributor to migration, Pidgeon said at a panel event to discuss the findings.

A majority of people surveyed in all four countries -- ranging from 54 percent in Germany to 70 percent in France -- disagreed that climate change is causing migration.

Slightly more people, however, tended to believe their country may see more climate-linked migration later, including 57 percent of respondents in Norway.

"That's not entirely out of line with the expert projections," Pidgeon said. Researchers "are saying at some time in the future there may be more migration across the world".

Source: March 8, 2017, The Times of India