The Search for Legal Remedies
Edited by Randall S. Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk
Chapter 5: Climate change and indigenous peoples: comparative models of sovereignty
Sovereignty has an integral relationship to the issue of climate change. The environmental laws and development policies of global nation-states have created the current crisis, and these sovereigns also have the capacity to mitigate the high level of greenhouse gas emissions or facilitate appropriate adaptation policies to deal with future climate events. Within the United States, federally recognized tribal governments possess sovereignty and the ability to develop laws governing their lands, resources and members according to their own norms. However, tribal sovereignty within the United States is, to some extent, limited by tribes’ status as ‘domestic, dependent nations’. In that sense, tribal environmental authority tracks the scope of sovereignty and self-determination that has emerged from federal Indian law and policy.
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