The Plight of “Environmental Refugees”

Yustia Rahma Priyantari(1*)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


Among many challenges faced by modern society, global warming and climate change have – if not the most – profound impact as it affects mankind as a whole. Farming communities around the world suffer dying corps and failed harvest due to unpredictable weathers, and cities report unprecedented temperature during summer. One of the most discussed is how the rising global temperature affects the ice caps in the North and South Pole. Compared to data from a hundred years ago, it is shown that the ice formation in the North Pole has decreased in mass and takes longer time to reform in the winter. Scientists predict that if the ice in Greenland melted, the sea level would rise up to seven meters, drowning many coastal cities and low-lying islands. Large States could afford to evacuate their citizens to the mainland, however such is luxury that small, archipelagic States do not possess. The paper seeks to examine whether the international community is prepared in terms of legal instrument should such event occur, and what protection can be granted to people who have lost their homes to the sea. 

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