Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Jonas, A. 2022. Climate change adaptation, migration, and promising developments for Pacific Island States. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Advised by Emira Ibrahimpašić, Ph.D. and Julia Reilly, Ph.D.

Copyright Ashley Jonas 2022.


The people of the Pacific Islands face an existential crisis due to climate change, despite the fact that they are the least responsible for contributing to carbon emissions. The effects of climate change, namely sea-level rise, pose a verified threat to low-lying islands, infiltrating water supplies, crops, and infrastructure. As a result, there is a need for improved solutions for adapting to the impacts of climate change and for easier access to legal migration pathways when the consequences are insurmountable. Through comparative discourse analysis of scholarly sources, intergovernmental policies, and non-governmental organizations, the thesis finds that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are actively responding to climate change by adapting and migrating. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need for new and better solutions from intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and scholars. The passage of new laws and policies that would improve access to migration and adaptation for Pacific SIDS would also have implications for other island nations and developing states.