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Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal LawU.S. and International Perspectives$
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Randall S. Abate

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199368747

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199368747.001.0001

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Climate Change and the International Law of the Sea

Climate Change and the International Law of the Sea

Mapping the Legal Issues

(p.253) 12 Climate Change and the International Law of the Sea
Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law

Marcos A. Orellana

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the salient issues that arise in the interface between climate change and the international law of the sea. Sea-level rise resulting from climate change can cause the submersion of existing land territories, thereby raising complex issues of sovereignty and access to natural resources. Sea-level rise is also expected to change the existing boundaries of maritime zones, with concomitant political, economic, and security implications. The dumping of iron into the seas as a means of sequestering carbon similarly raises legal issues with respect to the application of specialized regimes dealing with dumping and the protection of the marine environment. The opening of navigation channels, such as the Northwest Passage, resulting from the melting of Arctic ice caps also poses legal questions. Finally, the applicability of the dispute settlement mechanism established in UNCLOS could also eventually attract claims relating to climate change.

Keywords:   UNCLOS, sea-level rise, sovereignty, shipping, dispute resolution

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