Faculty of Law

The Plight of Climate Refugees: Rising Seas, Melting Ice, and Inadequate Legal Protections


Professor Abate to present seminar on the plight of climate refugees

Start Date

28th Nov 2016 12:00pm

End Date

28th Nov 2016 1:00pm


Faculty of Law Staff Room

RSVP / Contact Information

Please RSVP for catering purposes to Law.Secretary@utas.edu.au by 24th November.

Randall AbateThe Prime Minister of Tuvalu aptly described the threat of sea-level rise and the impending inundation of his island nation as a “slow and insidious form of terrorism against us.” From the Arctic to the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, Tuvalu is one of many vulnerable nations and communities that faces the threat of imminent relocation due to climate change impacts. These populations must confront either the threat of “internal displacement” (such as indigenous communities in Alaska that must relocate to another area within Alaska to remain safe) or the threat of “transboundary displacement” (such as Pacific Island nations that must relocate their citizens to another country to remain safe). Regardless of the type of displacement at issue, one reality is disturbingly clear: existing legal protections do not address the plight of climate refugees. This presentation analyzes how international environmental law, international human rights law, and U.S. domestic law fail to protect these vulnerable and marginalized populations and proposes possible solutions to protect climate refugees.

Randall S. Abate is a Professor of Law at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law, where he will serve as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs starting in January 2017. He has 22 years of full-time law teaching experience at six U.S. law schools. Professor Abate has published four books and 25 articles on environmental law topics, with a recent emphasis on climate change law.