This article explores the role of international climate change adaptation law in promoting the use of genetically engineered crops as an adaptation strategy. The severity of climate change impacts and the realization that, by now, some adverse effects are inevitable, has intensified the urgency to devise effective adaptation strategies. Genetically engineered climate-resilient crops are presented as one possible means to adapt to the predicted adverse impacts of climate change on agriculture and crop yields. Despite increased attention on the research and development of climate-resilient crops, particularly by private sector seed corporations, there are many controversies surrounding this proposed adaptation strategy. The key contentions relate to apprehensions about genetically engineered crops more generally, the effectiveness of climate-resilient crops, and the involvement of the private sector in international climate change adaptation initiatives.
The main argument in this article is that the emerging field of international climate change adaptation law contributes to promoting genetically engineered climate-resilient crops as a possible means of adaptation. Moreover, international adaptation law creates an enabling environment for the active engagement of private sector corporations in devising adaptation strategies. Notwithstanding controversies over genetically engineered crops and the role of the private sector, there has been little consideration so far of the influence of the growing international legal regime on climate change on the types of adaptation strategies that are devised and promoted.