Sustainability and the Law: Climate Change, Energy and Urban Issues
ACT ENVIRONMENTAL LAW HANDBOOK, A. Rawson, ed., Environmental Defender’s Office (ACT) Inc., 2009
15 Pages Posted: 22 May 2009 Last revised: 15 Sep 2014
Date Written: May 19, 2009
This chapter describes ACT laws which require action towards improved environmental sustainability. It examines provisions to reduce carbon emissions and energy use, improve energy, transport and water efficiency, and requirements to consider the environment in decision making.
The Chapter covers Planning and Development Act 2007 (ACT), Environment Protection Act 1997, Electricity (National Scheme) Act 1997, Utilities Act 2000, Weathering the Change: the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2007-2025, ACT Electricity (Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Act 2004, Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act 1986 (NSW), Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Act 2008, Solar access law, sustainability provisions in ACT Planning Law, Energy efficiency law including the Building Act 2004, Energy Star Ratings including Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, Building Sustainability Index (BASIX), energy efficiency performance ratings (EER) including EER and rental properties, Efficiency of Appliances. The Chapter also covers Planning law as it relates to urban water issues including Catchment protection, Water tanks, Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards (WELS).
The Chapter concludes by arguing that the ACT has a number of provisions scattered throughout the statute book which address the question of environmental sustainability, primarily through energy ratings, water efficiency measures and planning controls. However the extent to which these provisions might be said to provide a ‘best practice’ systematic and integrated framework for the attainment of improved levels of sustainability is certainly debateable. There is no overarching climate change response legislation, nor is there an overarching Sustainability Act which might require government decisions across portfolios to be made having regard to the principles of ESD.
Keywords: planning law, feed-in laws, feed-in tariffs, renewable energy law, solar access law, climate change law, baseline and credit, emissions trading, energy efficiency performance ratings, building codes, Energy efficiency law, nuclear law, electricity law, water sensitive urban design, ESD
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