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Sarah Krakoff

Abstract Indigenous peoples throughout the world, notwithstanding their wide variety, share characteristics that have particular salience in the context of climate change. Indigenous peoples’ cultural, spiritual, and economic practices are tied to landscape and place in ways that are distinct from other sectors of society. The effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, prolonged periods of drought and disturbances to seasonal weather patterns, therefore have singular consequences for indigenous peoples. In addition, the processes of colonization and dispossession, resulting in many cases in extreme poverty as well as political disempowerment, have made indigenous peoples more vulnerable to severe weather events and other disaster scenarios. Finally, indigenous peoples on the whole have contributed very little to global greenhouse gas emissions, thus sharpening the concern that climate change has disproportionate impacts on indigenous peoples. This chapter will survey the disproportionate effects of climate change on indigenous peoples, and describe the various legal frameworks that are relevant to mitigation, adaptation and compensation strategies for indigenous peoples in the United States and throughout the world.
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Sarah Krakoff and Jon-Daniel Lavallee