Chapter 13: Loss and damage, climate displacement and international law: addressing the protection gap
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There is increasing consensus that climate change will give rise to mass displacement of people. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change formally incorporated the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage as the 4th pillar of climate action. After years of inaction, the Executive Committee on Loss and Damage was requested to establish a task force to develop recommendations for integrated approaches to address displacement related to climate change. This chapter looks at climate displacement in the context of WIM on loss and damage and the task force on climate displacement. It briefly discusses the current legal vacuum governing climate displacement especially across international borders and evaluates some of the proposals that have been advanced to address this new category of refugees. It discusses the decisions of task force on displacement and its implications for the issue of climate displacement, including the inhabitants of small island states who are facing a bleak future. It briefly discusses the UN Human Rights Committee's decision in Teitiota v. New Zealand and its implications for climate refugees. Because the Global North bears a greater responsibility for causing climate change, this chapter argues that, relying on the common but differentiated responsibility principle (CBDR), and the frameworks relating to justice and dignity, the major emitters should bear a greater responsibility for climate refugees, especially, in relation to small island states and their inhabitants.

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