Climate Action Legal Research Team

Project: Research

Project Details

Description

We envisage a vibrant community of legal and other scholars at the cutting edge of climate action research, focused upon just outcomes for human and more-than-human current and future generations and the long-term sustainability of Earth’s life systems.

The international community through the United Nations has recognised climate action as one of the key Sustainable Development Goals. 198 nations, including Australia, have ratified the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is designed to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
The scientific evidence establishing the existence of anthropocentric global warming is irrefutable. Global temperatures are rising rapidly. The world is locked into at least 1.5 degrees of global warming: the aspirational upper limit of the 2015 Paris Agreement. At the current 1.1 degrees, we are already witnessing climate disasters in real time, with Australia in the frontline of extraordinary climate impacts such as extreme drought, fire and flooding. In the absence of transformational changes to the private and public sectors, scientists are predicting tipping cascades which will generate runaway climate change: a future and uninsurable Hothouse Earth. There are profound consequences for legal systems and law itself in all of this, and a significant role for law and legal systems to play in averting the worst consequences of climate change and managing unavoidable impacts and risks.
Governments, including Commonwealth and State governments in Australia, are implementing a raft of climate laws, but thus far there has been no appreciable diminution in global greenhouse gas emissions. In the absence of effective mitigation practices on the part of governments in Australia and world-wide, climate activists are utilising both legal and extra-legal strategies to compel governments to act. They are suing governments and the so-called Carbon Majors. They are defending their extra-legal conduct in criminal trials.
There is an urgent need for critical reflection on points of intersection between climate activism, law and legal systems, and on the adequacy of varying legal responses to the climate crisis. The proposed Legal Research Team will contribute to these vitally important discussions.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date13/03/2431/12/24

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