Intellectual Life Workshop: Maxine Burkett

Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Law Building (LAW), 3500
401 East Peltason Drive Irvine, CA 92697-8000

Maxine Burkett, Professor of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law
Climate change law and policy, torts, ocean and coastal law, and international law

The Governed and Ungoverned: Climate Change and the Law of Sea Level Rise

In this article, Burkett reviews the state of governance of sea level rise-induced migration. In the literature, human mobility in the context of climate change is comprised of three movement types—migration, displacement, and relocation—with varying degrees of formal governance. Burkett introduces the diversity of governance regimes along the displacement-migration-and relocation spectrum and highlights the challenges that the ’new abnormal’ of climate change presents. Displacement generally describes situations in which people are forced to leave their homes as a result of sudden shocks such as the flooding caused by storm surge now atop sea level rise. Depending on the jurisdiction, those displaced may avail themselves of the legal infrastructure that manages post-disaster recovery or temporary visas offered by foreign governments. On the other end of the spectrum, planned relocation describes a coordinated process to resettle a community in another permanent settlement. This kind of relocation, like managed retreat, has established and emerging governance paradigms that have been utilized in very limited instances in various countries and jurisdiction. Migration describes ostensibly voluntary movement resulting from extensive and generally slow-onset risk. While there is a patchwork of governance regimes for each of the climate-induced mobility scenarios, migration typically involves individual and perhaps household movement that is done independent of any formal planning and governing framework, and is contingent upon the general parameters governing mobility within and between countries. None of the existing regime are especially equipped to manage the novel circumstances sea level rise presents.
Lunch will be provided.

Intellectual Life Workshop Calendar

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Staff, Faculty


Intellectual Life Workshop


Centers, Intellectual Life
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