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CLIMATE DANGERS AND ATOLL COUNTRIES JON BARNETT1 and W. NEIL ADGER2
 

Summary: CLIMATE DANGERS AND ATOLL COUNTRIES
JON BARNETT1 and W. NEIL ADGER2
1School of Anthropology, Geography, and Environmental Studies, University of Melbourne,
Victoria 3010, Australia
E-mail: jbarn@unimelb.edu.au
2Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and CSERGE, School of Environmental Sciences,
University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.
Abstract. Climate change-induced sea-level rise, sea-surface warming, and increased frequency
and intensity of extreme weather events puts the long-term ability of humans to inhabit atolls at
risk. 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. We explain how
thresholds may be behaviorally driven as well as ecologically driven through the role of expectations
in resource management. The challenge for the international policy process, centred on the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is to recognize the particular vulnerability
of atoll countries by operationalising international norms of justice, sovereignty, and human and
national security in the regime.
1. Introduction
The Small Island States chapter of the Third Assessment Report of the Inter-

  

Source: Adger, Neil - School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology