The Role of Climate Change Litigation in Australia's Response to Global Warming

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 269

Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 90-105, 2007

18 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2007

See all articles by Jacqueline Peel

Jacqueline Peel

The University of Melbourne - Law School

Abstract

A series of recent cases, including the judgment of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court in Anvil Hill, signal the rise of climate change litigation in Australia. Climate change litigation involves legal action to seek redress for damage arising from activities said to be causing global climate change. The growth of climate change litigation has been particularly pronounced in the United States, due to perceived inaction by national political authorities to deal with issues of global warming. In Australia, frustration with the slow pace and fragmented nature of regulatory developments regarding climate change similarly appears to be encouraging environmental groups to turn to the courts as a possible saviour. This article argues that while there are positive indications in some climate change cases that the courts are prepared to embrace rigorous practices of EIA for assessing climate change impacts, climate change litigation is unlikely to be a panacea for delivering effective action on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, a strong national-level regulatory response is still required to generate the necessary behavioural change for deep cuts in emissions.

Keywords: climate change, Australia, global warming, litigation

JEL Classification: K41, K32

Suggested Citation

Peel, Jacqueline, The Role of Climate Change Litigation in Australia's Response to Global Warming. U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 269; Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 90-105, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1021647

Jacqueline Peel (Contact Author)

The University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+613 8344 1115 (Phone)
+613 9347 2394 (Fax)

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