Climate Change Refugees in the Time of Sinking Islands

By Steffens, Jane | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May 2019 | Go to article overview

Climate Change Refugees in the Time of Sinking Islands


Steffens, Jane, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


TABLE OF CONTENTS  I.    INTRODUCTION                                           729 II.   BACKGROUND                                             731       A. The Relationship between Climate and Human       Migration Patterns                                     731          1. Understanding Causes of Climate Change             Migration                                        731             a. Sea Level Rise                                731             b. Water Availability                            732             c. Extreme Weather Events                        733          2. Non-Environmental Factors as an             Intersectional Concern                           734       B. Typology of Climate Migration                       736          1. Migration as a Form of Adaptation                736          2. Internally Displaced Peoples and             Cross-Border Displacement                        736          3. Voluntary and Forced Migrants, Both             Temporary and Permanent                          737       C. Case Study: Small Island Developing States          738       D. Governance of Climate Change Refugees and          Divisions within the Global Community               740          1. Human Rights Regime                              740             a. 1951 UN Geneva Convention                Relating to the Status of Refugees.           740             b. Office of the UN High                Commissioner for Human Rights...              741             c. Advisory Group on Climate Change                and Human Mobility                            742             d. UN High Commissioner for                Refugees                                      743          2. Environmental Regime                             743             a. Cancun Adaptation Framework,                2010                                          744             b. Warsaw Mechanism, 2013                        744             c. Paris Agreement                               745             d. Intergovernmental Panel on                Climate Change                                746          3. Other Notable Developments                       746             a. The Nansen Initiative                         746             b. International Organization for                Migration                                     748             c. New Zealand Proposal                          748 III.  ANALYSIS                                               749       A. Obstacles to A Meaningful Resolution                749          1. Violence as a Collateral Impact of Climate             Change Migration                                 749          2. Political Barriers                               751             a. Lack of Political Will                        751             b. Fear of Regression                            752             c. Asylum Applications                           753             3. Analyzing the Scope of the Problems           754       B. Challenges for International Law                    755          1. Reconciling Separate Legal Regimes               755          2. Problematizing the Use of Inconsistent             Terminology                                      757          3. Problems with Expanding the Current             Legal Framework of the Geneva             Convention                                       758          4. Problems with a Universal Treaty                 759          5. Problems with Soft Law Solutions                 760 IV.   PRIVATE CLIMATE-GOVERNANCE INITIATIVES                 761       A. The Changing Landscape Allows for Private          Governance Initiatives                              762       B. Examples of Current Private-Public Initiatives ...  763          1. Projects Preventing the Displacement of             Vulnerable People                                763          2. Projects Helping Displaced Peoples               764          3. Pressure from Shareholders, Investors,             and Employees                                    765       C. … 

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