Allen, Emma Louise (2020) Climate change and disappearing island states: deterritorialisation, sovereignty and statehood in international law. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

At the present time, at least eight low-lying islands have been found to have disappeared as a result of climate change-induced rising sea levels and more seem likely to suffer the same fate in the future. Indeed, according to scientific estimates, it is predicted that as many as 32 entire island nations located in both the South Pacific and Indian Oceans stand to be submerged in the next 50 to 100 years. This dissertation explores the challenges under international law of climate change inundation. It also examines the potential responses to these challenges, specifically interpretations of international law that would enable the affected communities to preserve their maritime entitlements and statehood in spite of the rising tide.
The main argument advanced – the 'retention thesis' – is that dynamic interpretation of existing rules and principles offers various avenues for disappearing island states to protect their rights and legal status. The case is made that, in an era of climate change and disappearing islands, the state ought not to be viewed as an absolute, uniform and binary concept but rather in a more fluid manner, covering a range of different entities with varying degrees of sovereignty. While this does, to an extent, offend formal conceptions of sovereign equality and requires rethinking the organisation of the society of nations, it provides the best opportunity for the retention of a status and associated benefits and privileges that otherwise stand to be denied to the community of disappearing island states.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Contributors: Prost, Mario (Thesis advisor)
Davitti, Daria (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 09:31
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 09:31
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/8289

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