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 16: Climate change, legal governance and the Pacific Islands: an overview

Erika J. Techera


This chapter provides an introduction to some of the climate change related challenges facing the nations and peoples of the Pacific Island region. Subsequent chapters in this section will discuss the impacts and legal issues in specific Pacific Island nations in more detail. Before exploring the impacts of climate change on the Pacific Island nations, it is necessary to provide some background on the region and the people who live there. The Pacific Island region includes 22 countries and dependent territories. All of these states and territories are comprised of islands but they vary greatly in size and type. For example, there are approximately 200 high islands and 2,500 low islands and atolls. Although the total land area is small at about 90,000 km2, these islands cover a large expanse of ocean with Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) totalling over 27 million km2. The total population of the region is less than 10 million, with Papua New Guinea alone contributing over 6 million.

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