The Role of Climate Change Litigation in Australia's Response to Global Warming
Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 90-105, 2007
18 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2007
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: Suggested Citation