1st Edition

Environmental Justice for Climate Refugees

By Francesca Rosignoli Copyright 2022
    146 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    146 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores who climate refugees are and how environmental justice might be used to overcome legal obstacles preventing them from being recognized at an international level.

    Francesca Rosignoli begins by exploring the conceptual and complex issues that surround the very existence of climate refugees and investigates the magnitude of the phenomenon in its current and future estimates. Reframing the debate using an environment justice perspective, she examines who has the responsibility of assisting climate refugees (state vs non-state actors), the various legal solutions available and the political scenarios that should be advanced in order to govern this issue in the long term. Overall, Environmental Justice for Climate Refugees presents a critical interrogation of how this specific strand of forced migration is currently categorized by existing legal, ethical and political definitions, and highlights the importance of applying a justice perspective to this issue.

    Exploring the phenomenon of climate refugees through a multi-disciplinary lens, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental migration and displacement, environmental politics and governance, and refugee studies.

    Table of contents

    1 ‘Climate refugees’: Towards the construction of a new subjectivity

    1.1 Introduction

    1.2 Methodology

    1.3 Historical knowledge of struggles

    1.3.1 The heterogeneity and multi-causality of climate-induced migration: empirical controversies

    1.3.2 History of the terminological disputes

    1.3.3 Competing for the future: The struggles of policymakers and the shift of nomenclature

    1.4. The insurrection of knowledges. Legal categories in motion

    1.5. Concluding remarks: Towards a decolonial environmental justice perspective

    2. The unresolved legal dispute over the recognition of ‘Climate Refugees’

    2.1 International Refugee Law. The history of the 1951 Refugee Convention

    2.2 Regional Refugee Instruments: OAU Convention and Cartagena Declaration

    2.3 Towards the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration and beyond

    2.4 Limits and possibilities of the Refugee Law Concepts

    2.5 Looking for alternatives: The role of International human rights law and International environmental law

    2.6 Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand. A legal tipping point? 

    3. Legal proposals and ongoing initiatives to fill the legal gap

    3.1 Three proposals for a new Universal Treaty

    3.2 Regional- and local-based proposals: regional responses, bilateral agreements, or enhanced domestic immigration laws? The case of Finland, Sweden, and Italy

    3.3 Beyond silos: connecting different international law regimes

    3.4 Just a matter of extension?

    3.5 Combining existing legal framework with new multilateral treaty and complementary measures

    3.6 Nansen Initiative

    3.7 Peninsula Principles

    3.8 Migration with dignity

    4. The justice dilemma. ‘Climate Refugees’ as a case of Environmental (in)Justice

    4.1 What (Decolonial) Environmental Justice is and Why it matters for ‘Climate Refugees’

    4.2 The Threefold Injustice of ‘Climate Refugees’: Coloniality of Power, Knowledge, and Being

    4.2.1 The Coloniality of Power

    4.2.2 The Coloniality of Knowledge

    4.2.3 The Coloniality of Being

    4.3 Decolonizing the refugeehood

    4.4 Concluding remarks

    5. Environmental justice for ‘Climate Refugees’: actors, instruments, and strategies

    5.1Why non-state actors can ‘solve’ the justice dilemma

    5.2 A toolkit for non-state actors: collective capabilities

    5.3 Limitations and ways forward

    5.4 Conclusion


    End matter





    Francesca Rosignoli is a Junior Global Horizons fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) in Uppsala, Sweden.

    "As anthropogenic climate change alters the environment and interacts with socioeconomic and political drivers, people in vulnerable contexts are fleeing. Despite climate migration is receiving increasing attention in legislative and policy spheres, knowledge and actions are still limited. In this sense, Rosignoli’s challenging book is necessary, especially for those wishing to broaden their understanding in key issues of this topic from a comprehensive environmental justice perspective."

    Beatriz Felipe Pérez, CICrA Justicia Ambiental, Spain