Climate Dangers and Atoll Countries

TitleClimate Dangers and Atoll Countries
Publication TypeTyndall Working Paper
SeriesTyndall Centre Working Papers
Tyndall Consortium Institution


Secondary TitleTyndall Centre Working Paper 9
AuthorsBarnett, J., and W. N. Adger
Year of Publication2001

Climate change induced sea-level rise and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events puts the long-term ability of humans to inhabit atolls at risk, according to the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We argue that this risk constitutes a dangerous level of climatic change to atoll countries by potentially undermining their national sovereignty. We outline the novel challenges this presents to both climate change research and policy. For research, the challenge is to identify the critical thresholds of change beyond which atoll social-ecological systems may collapse. For the international policy process, centred on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the possible extinguishing of atoll-countries radically challenges international norms of justice, sovereignty, and human and national security.

wp9.pdf358.93 KB