"Climate change will wreak havoc on small island developing states in the
Pacific and elsewhere. Some will be swamped by rising seas. These communities
also face more extreme weather, increasingly acidic oceans, coral bleaching and
harm to fisheries. Food supplies, human health and livelihoods are at risk. And
it’s clear other countries burning fossil fuels are largely to blame.
Yet island states are resourceful. They are not only adapting to change but
also seeking legal advice. The international community has certain legal
obligations under the law of the sea. These are rules and customs that divvy up
the oceans into maritime zones, while recognising certain freedoms and duties.
So island states are asking whether obligations to address climate change might
be contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This is
particularly important as marine issues have not received the attention they
deserve within international climate negotiations.
If states do have specific obligations to stop greenhouse gas pollution
damaging the marine environment, then legal consequences for breaching these
obligations could follow. It is possible small island states could one day be
compensated for the damage done."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics