In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier

Asia Pacific Issues, No. 98, January 2011

8 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011

See all articles by Maxine Burkett

Maxine Burkett

University of Hawaii - William S. Richardson School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2011

Abstract

As the effects of climate change intensify, time is running out for millions living in Asia Pacific coastal and island communities. Many will be forced to leave their homes within the next half-century because of increased intensity and frequency of storms and floods, sea-level rise, and desertification. The low-lying small islands states of the Pacific are especially endangered; residents there may lose not only their homes, but their entire nations. Planning aimed at avoiding humanitarian disaster and political chaos should already have begun, but a stumbling block is international law, which is not prepared to address the cross-cutting impacts of climate and migration. Finding viable solutions will require new ways of thinking, pushing the law to a new frontier that calls for a reconsideration of existing legal boundaries.

Suggested Citation

Burkett, Maxine, In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier (January 1, 2011). Asia Pacific Issues, No. 98, January 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1754222

Maxine Burkett (Contact Author)

University of Hawaii - William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )

2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2350
United States

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