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Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold

This chapter describes the structural roles that law plays to facilitate adaptation to climate disasters, as well as the features of adaptive legal systems. Climate disasters highlight the need for legal systems to help human communities and environmental systems to adapt to climate change and climate disasters. However, adaptation won’t be possible unless legal systems themselves are adaptive. The chapter discusses four changes that would make legal systems more adaptive: greater flexibility; use of law for transformation; a revolutionary evolution in the law; and an intentional focus on justice, including climate justice, disaster justice, and most especially resilience justice.

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Jonathan Verschuuren

Climate change impacts on agriculture are diverse and potentially disastrous for global food security. This chapter analyzes the main issues law and policymakers at the international and the domestic level should focus on when developing a legal framework that is sufficiently equipped to deal with climate disasters affecting agriculture. Three stages are distinguished: disaster mitigation, in which focus should be on adoption and implementation of climate-smart practices and technologies; disaster response, mainly aimed at food supply; compensation and rebuilding, aimed at creating a more resilient agricultural sector that is better suited to deal with the next climate disaster.

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Teresa Parejo-Navajas and Michael B. Gerrard

This chapter examines the most important existing regulatory and policy measures to improve the resiliency and adaptive capacity of all types of residential and commercial buildings, both new and existing. It considers how buildings should be modified to cope with climate-related extreme events. Building codes and other legal requirements often lag seriously behind the need to revise them, and most builders do not go beyond what the codes require. Climate projections involve a wide uncertainty range, and protection against the worst case scenarios may be beyond the economic capacity of all but a few owners. Particular attention is paid to slums, and to provisional and post-disaster housing.

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M. Scott Donald

The effects of climate change are already being felt in financial markets. The role of the pension fund trustee is to mediate between its members’ interests and the opportunities and risks emerging in those markets. This chapter provides a nuanced and contextualised account of the legal and regulatory framework in which Australian pension funds, in particular, navigate this complex, contested, and uncertain environment.

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John D. Echeverria

The serious, predictable effects of climate change may generate significant change in U.S. property law. This chapter focuses on U.S. law, but hopefully offers useful insights for how climate change may affect property law in other countries. Some property law regimes are designed to accommodate change in the physical environment and therefore should actually help facilitate adaptation to modest climate change impacts. However, more dramatic climate change impacts will create pressure for major changes in existing legal regimes; the examples explored in this chapter include coastal boundary law, entitlements to the use of surface waters, and regulatory takings doctrine.

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Rosemary Lyster and Maxine Burkett

This chapter considers climate-induced migration and displacement following climate disasters. It focuses on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation; relocation and resettlement in the event of displacement; and financing, compensation, and risk transfer. It also highlights three major new initiatives which are likely to better protect the rights of climate-displaced persons, including: the new synergies between the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, and the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals; the 2016 Task Force on Displacement under Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage; and the proposed 2018 UN Global compact for safe and orderly and regular migration.

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Lisa Grow Sun

The traditional narrative of disaster crime suggests that as mechanisms of government and social control deteriorate human beings will also devolve into their worst selves. This disaster mythology — which mistakenly suggests that disasters commonly spur widespread looting and violence — has distorted disaster response by engendering a legal and policy structure that frames natural disaster response too much as a law enforcement, rather than a humanitarian, problem. While security concerns should not be ignored, decision-makers should be cognizant that such concerns may be overblown and should guard against overemphasizing security at the expense of prompt, effective, and humane disaster response.

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Christine Bakker

Recent developments, ranging from Brexit to states’ withdrawal from international agreements or the International Criminal Court, point to a renewed reliance on state sovereignty to justify unilateral action. This chapter examines how the principle of sovereignty has influenced the international response to climate change, including climate disasters as expressed in the 2015 Paris Agreement, and considers whether this principle itself needs to be reconsidered to better respond to current global challenges. It concludes that in order to balance the needs of sovereignty with the needs of human survival, “hybrid” solutions like the Paris Agreement, combining ambitious common goals with some flexibility for states regarding their achievement, are the best attainable — albeit not sufficient -— option at this time.

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Daniel A. Farber

Rather than being keyed to any one legal system, this chapter investigates the constitutional and administrative challenges of climate change at a more general level. It identifies problems that cut across legal systems and suggests some effective approaches to solving them. The chapter first discusses the constitutional problems involved in responding to the risks of climate disasters, including both structural issues such as federalism and potential violations of property rights and other individual rights. It then considers aspects of administrative law relevant to climate disasters, including the need to ensure government transparency and accountability as well as the significance of public participation.

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Jacqueline Peel

This chapter considers how international environmental law applies to the special situation of climate disaster. It examines efforts to adapt international environmental rules largely developed to respond to “manmade” disasters to hybrid climate disasters that involve both natural and human-sourced elements. It also discusses the scope for international environmental law tools and principles, such as precaution, EIA and participation, to be employed in climate disaster risk management. The final section explores challenges presented by efforts to forge better linkages between disaster management and environmental communities and institutions, with the aim of fostering more integrated approaches for dealing with climate disaster.