Environment, Climate Change and Depopulation in Serbia

Jelisaveta Petrović

This chapter brings forth some of the complex set of factors that affect the depopulation process in Serbia – its environmental and climate aspects. To what extent do the environment and climate affect fertility, mortality or migration as basic drivers of demographic change in  Serbia? The first part of the chapter analyses the links between climate change and demographic change, looks at different climate and socio-demographic scenarios, and seeks to understand the impact of climate change on demographic dynamics, as well as the space for government intervention. The second part of the chapter examines the link between air pollution and demographic processes. High air pollution rates are associated with increased mortality and morbidity, mainly from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The implementation of existing laws and measures could save a significant number of human lives and make significant savings. Climate change and environmental degradation should be understood as important factors of (future) depopulation in Serbia – either through direct impact on the quality of life, mortality, birth rate and migration, or indirectly, through economic decline and loss of important natural resources.