Climate Justice for Small Island Developing States

Rahima Ansar Musaliar
Phd Candidate – School of Law – University of Warwick – Coventry – UK


The small island developing states (SIDS) are threatened by inundation from rising sea levels due to anthropogenic climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on climate change fifth assessment report states that the human influence on the climate system is evident and the recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. This has wide- spread impact on ‘human and natural system’. In this context of greenhouse gas emissions and its consequences, how does the question of climate justice or injustice arise?
Climate justice is the awareness that human actions are also responsible for the social inequalities; human rights violations, and environmental degradations and being responsible for alleviating those inequalities.
The fact is that climate change affects people and states disproportionately. Small size, population density, limited resources, concentration of infrastructure and settlement at the coast, geographical isolation and limited financial and institutional capacities make SIDS among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. These states have contributed very little to the greenhouse gas emissions but they suffer disproportionately.
Their total combined annual carbon dioxide accounts for less than 1% of global of emissions. These factors entitle them for compensation for the loss and damage suffered as a result of climate change. The article discusses whether climate justice will be obtained for SIDS through the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) adopted under the 1992 United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change. The argument is: WIM risk management strategies is inadequate for the slow onset events like sea level rise faced by SIDS and, hence fails to deliver climate justice for SIDS.

Keywords: climate change, greenhouse gases, climate system, human actions,

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