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Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples

The Search for Legal Remedies

Edited by Randall S. Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk

Indigenous peoples occupy a unique niche within the climate justice movement, as many indigenous communities live subsistence lifestyles that are severely disrupted by the effects of climate change. Additionally, in many parts of the world, domestic law is applied differently to indigenous peoples than it is to their non-indigenous peers, further complicating the quest for legal remedies. The contributors to this book bring a range of expert legal perspectives to this complex discussion, offering both a comprehensive explanation of climate change-related problems faced by indigenous communities and a breakdown of various real world attempts to devise workable legal solutions. Regions covered include North and South America (Brazil, Canada, the US and the Arctic), the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Tuvalu and the Federated States of Micronesia), Australia and New Zealand, Asia (China and Nepal) and Africa (Kenya).

Chapter 19: The rising tide of international climate litigation: an illustrative hypothetical of Tuvalu v Australia

Keely Boom

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, human rights, law and development, politics and public policy, human rights


Many Pacific Islands are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Unless climate change is halted or reversed, a number of small island developing states (SIDS) in the Pacific could become uninhabitable. This threat has immense ramifications for the cultural, sovereign and physical integrity of Pacific Islanders, most of whom are indigenous peoples. This chapter examines the potential of international climate litigation through the use of an illustrative hypothetical in the South Pacific. This chapter aims to contribute to the growing literature on the possibilities and pitfalls of international climate litigation. It considers many, but not all, of the elements of an international case.

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