Zusammenfassung: International legal norms for Island States loosing their territory due to sea-level rise:
One of the consequences of global warming is the continuing rise of the mean sea level. This not only threatens the economic stability in densely populated coastal regions of large states like the United States and China, but in particular poses a threat to the very existence of a number of small island developing states.
Even though fine grained legal rules for the extinction of states can be identified in international law, none of them is applicable in the case of an island state vanishing from the face of the earth.
When island states suffer from permanent and complete inundation of their homelands, the general rules governing the creation of states at the same time determine the loss of statehood, for there can be no state without a territory. Inextricably linked to the termination of statehood is the demise of national sovereignty.
However, this does not entail the remaining entity to vanish as a legal personality altogether, as the nationals living in exile would continue to represent people under international law. In exercising their right to self-determination, the people affected could become State-like members of the international community enjoying limited sovereign rights. The exact scope and substance of those rights, however, could only be shaped by state practice yet to be developed.