Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples
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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).
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Chapter 11: Climate change and tribal water rights: removing barriers to adaptation strategies

The Search for Legal Remedies

Judith V. Royster


The effects of climate change on water resources in the United States are well understood in general outline. Specific effects will vary by region of the country, but the identified impacts include lower precipitation and increased drought in the south; increased precipitation in the north, but in the form of less frequent, heavier rains; less snowpack and earlier snowmelt, leading to higher water levels and potential flooding earlier in the spring, and less water available in summer when water is most needed for irrigation and instream flows; increased evaporation; increased water temperatures; increased water pollution; and increased demand for water. Taken together, these effects of climate change will likely have ‘profound impacts on water resource availability’.

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