The charity Oxfam says climate change will breach the human rights of people living in small island states.
The non-governmental organisation says Pacific Island nations such as Tuvalu should be prepared to mount legal cases against the biggest polluting countries.
Oxfam's senior climate researcher, Kate Raworth says rich countries account for most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
She says they are therefore forcing up sea levels and depriving Pacific Islanders of the rights to life and property.
Ms Raworth says human rights law must evolve, to enable those affected by climate change to claim recompense for human rights violations.
She says climate change means that supplies of drinking water on low-lying atolls are getting more and more contaminated with salt.