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 8: REDD+ and indigenous peoples in Brazil

Andrew Long


The Brazilian Amazon encompasses one-third of the world’s remaining forest and is home to hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples who depend on the forest for much or all of their basic sustenance, as well as their culture. The Amazon also stands as an exceptionally important element of developing an effective global response to climate change. The forest, as a whole, holds approximately 9 to 14 billion tons of carbon and, thus, halting its destruction is a globally significant mitigation priority. At the same time, Amazon ecosystems and the peoples who depend on them face a substantial risk of severe impacts from climate change, presenting a clear focal point for forest and indigenous peoples’ adaptation efforts. It is in this context that Brazil, including its indigenous population, is engaging the emerging REDD+ mechanism that seeks to provide payments for reducing carbon emissions through the avoidance of deforestation. Brazil is fast becoming a world leader in developing national and subnational REDD+ frameworks. The implications of this development for indigenous peoples are highly controversial and reveal not only the risks and potential benefits of REDD+, but also the need for cultural sensitivity and fine-grained contextual understanding of the indigenous peoples who live in the regions that may be affected.

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