Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1931466
 
 

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Climate Change, Sovereignty and Statehood


Rosemary G. Rayfuse


University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Emily Crawford


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

September 21, 2011

INTERNATIONAL LAW IN THE ERA OF CLIMATE CHANGE, R. Rayfuse and S. Scott, eds., Edward Elgar, 2012
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/59

Abstract:     
Climate change presents a unique threat to the territorial integrity of states, indeed, to the very notion of statehood itself. Climate change will affect the physical territory of states in a number of ways, such as the loss of viable eco-systems due to desertification, increased soil salinity, flooding of coastal and low-lying regions or loss of reliable access to land due to increased severe weather events such as hurricanes. Coastal states, in particular those with low-lying coastal areas, will also be affected by permanent loss of land through shoreline erosion caused by extreme weather events and sea-level rise. Moreover, it has been recognised that by rendering some inhabited land incapable of sustaining human habitation, climate change will also result in the forced migration of some or all of a population from their lands. In particular, it has been suggested that by the end of this century a number of low-lying small island states such as Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives, may be rendered totally uninhabitable due to sea level rise. This begs the question as to the continued statehood of these entities. In light of these sometimes dire predictions, this chapter examines the challenges posed by climate change to the international law on statehood. It does so in the context of analysis of the legal construction of statehood, how the law regulates the dissolution of states, and whether the law is adequately positioned to deal with the threat to statehood and sovereignty posed by climate change.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

Keywords: international law, statehood, sovereignty, climate change, international personality, quasi-statehood

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32, K33

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Date posted: September 21, 2011 ; Last revised: December 3, 2013

Suggested Citation

Rayfuse, Rosemary G. and Crawford, Emily, Climate Change, Sovereignty and Statehood (September 21, 2011). INTERNATIONAL LAW IN THE ERA OF CLIMATE CHANGE, R. Rayfuse and S. Scott, eds., Edward Elgar, 2012; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/59. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1931466

Contact Information

Rosemary G. Rayfuse
University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )
Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia
Emily Crawford (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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