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Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law
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Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law

Price: $176.00
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Published 23 Feb 2012 (OUP UK)
ISBN: 9780199587087. Hard Cover, 344 pages.

Jane McAdam 

  • Full legal analysis of the position in international law of the growing number of people displaced by climate change
  • In-depth international law analysis of the phenomenon of 'climate change refugees'
  • Interdisciplinary approach to this complex issue Draws on field work in Bangladesh, India, and the Pacific island States of Kiribati and Tuvalu 
Displacement caused by climate change is an area of growing concern. With current rises in sea levels and changes to the global climate, it is an issue of fundamental importance to the future of many parts of the world. 

This book critically examines whether States have obligations to protect people displaced by climate change under international refugee law, international human rights law, and the international law on statelessness. Drawing on field work undertaken in Bangladesh, India, and the Pacific island States of Kiribati and Tuvalu, it evaluates whether the phenomenon of 'climate change-induced displacement' is an empirically sound category for academic inquiry. It does so by examining the reasons why people move (or choose not to move); the extent to which climate change, as opposed to underlying socio-economic factors, provides a trigger for such movement; and whether traditional international responses, such as the conclusion of new treaties and the creation of new institutions, are appropriate solutions in this context. In this way, the book queries whether flight from habitat destruction should be viewed as another facet of traditional international protection or as a new challenge requiring more creative legal and policy responses. 

Readership: Scholars and students of international refugee law, international human rights law, forced migration studies, and international environmental law, with a particular focus on climate change; practitioners, NGOs, and government legal advisers working in these areas. 

About the Author

Jane McAdam, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Australia Jane McAdam is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, Australia. She is the Director of Research in the School of Law and the Director of the International Refugee and Migration Law project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law. She is also a Research Associate at the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre, and was the Director of its International Summer School in Forced Migration in 2008.Associate Professor McAdam is the Associate Rapporteur of the Convention Refugee Status and Subsidiary Protection Working Party for the International Association of Refugee Law Judges; an adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the legal aspects of climate-related displacement; and has been a consultant to the Australian and British governments on migration and displacement issues, about which she has written extensively.

Table of Contents


1: Conceptualizing Climate Change-Related Movement 

2: The Relevance of International Refugee Law 

3: Climate Change-Related Movement and International Human Rights Law: The Role of Complementary Protection 

4: State Practice on Protection from Disasters and Related Harms 

5: 'Disappearing States', Statelessness, and Relocation 

6: Moving with Dignity: Responding to Climate Change-Related Mobility in Bangladesh 

7: 'Protection' or 'Migration'? The 'Climate Refugee' Treaty Debate 

8: Institutional Governance 

9: Overarching Normative Principles 


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