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 18: Islands in the stream: addressing climate change from a small island developing state perspective

The Search for Legal Remedies

Clement Yow Mulalap


Climate change, by definition, knows no earthly metes or boundaries. It is a phenomenon that afflicts all countries and all peoples, altering environmental habitats, raising energy costs and threatening the lives of everyone, particularly indigenous peoples in underdeveloped countries who typically contribute very little to the root causes of the phenomenon. Tragically, this global danger is not being confronted with a united global front. Developed countries (particularly the United States) and large developing countries (particularly the BASIC quartet – Brazil, South Africa, India and China) have largely succeeded in avoiding binding emissions reductions targets and shifting the burden of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) to less-developed countries. The result is a grave miscarriage of climate justice, a preserving of the economic status quo at the expense of peoples – typically indigenous peoples – who are the least responsible for the dire dangers they face.

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