Northern Exposure: Alaska, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, and Atmospheric Trust Litigation
Matthew Rimmer (Ed.), Intellectual Property and Clean Energy: The Paris Agreement and Climate Justice, Singapore: Springer, 639-686.
Posted: 24 May 2018 Last revised: 2 Nov 2018
Date Written: May 12, 2018
This chapter considers the atmospheric trust litigation in the case of Nelson Kanuk v. State of Alaska over the climate inaction of the State of the Alaska. The dispute is a compelling case study in respect of constitutional law, the public trust doctrine, climate change, intergenerational justice, Indigenous rights, and Indigenous intellectual property. The new litigation between Esau Sinnok and the State of Alaska promises to further refine and clarify issues in respect of climate change, human rights, and Indigenous interests. Such climate litigation highlights larger international legal issues in respect of Indigenous peoples and climate change. There has been debate over Indigenous rights and climate change during the discussions in respect of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007, the Anchorage Declaration 2009, the Paris Agreement 2015, and the Bonn climate talks in 2017. In the future, no doubt Indigenous communities will seek to engage in climate litigation against governments and corporations in order to seek redress for climate injustice, as well as loss and damage.
Update: 30 October 2018. At first instance, in Sinnok. v State of Alaska, Miller J of the Superior Court for the State of Alaska has passed an order, granting the state's motion to dismiss the climate litigation. Case No. 3AN-17-09910 CI.
Keywords: Alaska, Constitutional Law, Public Trust, Climate Change, Intergenerational Justice, Indigenous rights, Indigenous intellectual property, climate litigation, climate justice
JEL Classification: K00, K31, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation