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Populations Islanders Face to Climate Change: The Migration To Anticipate

Christel Cournil

Université Paris XIII Nord


Vertigo, Vol. 10, No. 3, December 2010

Impacts of climate change on island countries have been made clear in the assessment reports of the IPCC. Though the first consequences will be environmental, with sea-level rise and the increase of extreme weather events, socio-economic consequences will quickly follow. In the next twenty years, due to sea-level rise and soil salinisation, the living conditions of islanders will quickly deteriorate. Small island states, gathered within the AOSIS, have voiced strong and clear concerns at the Copenhagen Conference, demanding that the goal for maximum temperature rise be set at 1.5°C instead of 2.0°C. In support of their revendications, small island states often mention the issue of 'climate refugees', who have become the faces of climate change in the last few years. Beyond its symbolic impact, the issue of 'climate refugees' raises several political challenges, which are especially salient in the context of small island states. The forecasted disappearing of some nations also raises legal questions about the protection of future refugees, but also about a new form of statelessness related to the legal and political continuity of a state, even though its territory might vanish.

Note: Downloadable document is in French.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: international law, small island states, Tuvalu, environmental migration, statelessness, Climate change, 'climate refugees', mico nation-state.

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Date posted: May 26, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Cournil, Christel, Populations Islanders Face to Climate Change: The Migration To Anticipate (2010). Vertigo, Vol. 10, No. 3, December 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1832363

Contact Information

Christel Cournil (Contact Author)
Université Paris XIII Nord ( email )
99 Avenue Jean Baptiste Clement
Villetaneuse, Seine Saint Denis 93430
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