Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-zzcdp Total loading time: 0.256 Render date: 2021-11-29T09:58:24.294Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

7 - Mean Sea Level Rise and Its Implications for Migration and Migration Policy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

Robert A. McLeman
Affiliation:
Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario
Get access

Summary

Introduction

Sea levels are presently rising by approximately three millimeters per year as a result of anthropogenic climate change, with the thermal expansion of ocean water and melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice being key contributors. A few millimeters may not sound like much, but over the course of this century the cumulative effects will present significant challenges for populations living in low-lying coastal plains, deltas, and on small island states. In recent years the popular media has identified communities in Alaska, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu as the first climate change refugees, by virtue of having to relocate because of coastal erosion and encroachment of the sea. In the scholarly community there has been a recent surge in the number of publications on the question of what to do – legally and practically – about people displaced by rising sea levels. Such questions are difficult to answer for a number of reasons, not the least being that we have few direct precedents to draw on. A particularly difficult problem will be what to do if entire sovereign states become uninhabitable as a result of mean sea level rise.

In suggesting answers to these and other related questions, this chapter:

  • Reviews the physical processes that affect the relative locations of coastal settlements and the sea, and identifies current and projected rates of change

  • Describes the impacts of sea level change on coastal settlements

  • Provides rough estimates of the number of people exposed

  • Identifies options in adaptation, including migration

  • Explains the challenges faced in dealing with people who may become internally displaced within their own countries by rising sea levels

  • Considers the situation of citizens of states that may cease to be habitable

  • Analyzes international legal arrangements that may be somewhat applicable to the protection of displacees

  • Suggests pathways for action by a concerned international community

Type
Chapter
Information
Climate and Human Migration
Past Experiences, Future Challenges
, pp. 180 - 209
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×