Kelly Carson

Volume 72, Issue 4, 1279-1312

Roughly forty percent of the United States population lives in an area threatened to be underwater by 2100 due to climate change. There are little to no infrastructural and policy frameworks to handle this problem. This Note explores existing U.S. frameworks for disaster response—namely, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—as well as early-stage initiatives to relocate entire communities within the United States. It then examines domestic and international policies for handling internally displaced persons (IDPs), including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the U.S. Agency for International Development Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Policy and Implementation Guidelines, and the Kampala Convention. The Note then suggests specific applications of these policy frameworks to the issue of environmentally displaced persons (EDPs) in the United States, finding that a more proactive approach including codified liability for private actors, economic incentives for retreat, and a centralized agency to handle EDPs will provide the United States with a strong foundation to handle the unique challenges facing the growing number of EDPs within its borders.