A climate change duty of care: Sharma v Minister for the Environment

The recent decision of Justice Bromberg in Sharma v Minister for the Environment [2021] FCA 560 found that a novel duty of care is owed by the Minister for the Environment to Australian children who might suffer potential “catastrophic harm” from the climate change implications of approving the extension to the Vickery coal mine in New South Wales. The decision is likely to have consequences for environmental impact assessment and approval of projects with a material emissions profile under the EPBC Act, as well as other similar regimes. The decision has been handed down in the context of a growing body of case law in Australia and overseas recognising the impact of climate change on government decision-making and private law duties. We expect further actions in Australia by plaintiffs seeking to expand these duties on both governments and private companies in analogous contexts. Read more

Australian Government splashes the cash in positive step towards cutting emissions

The Australian Government has committed over AUS$1.1 billion for hydrogen, CCS/CCUS and international technology partnerships. The funding comes from the 2021-2022 Federal budget and broadly consists of: AUS$275.5m for the development of four hydrogen hubs AUS$263.7m for the development of CCS/CCUS projects AUS$565.8m for international technology partnerships This week’s Federal Government’s commitment sees some AUS$1.1 … Read more

Navigating the energy transition to net zero – the course is set

For decades, pressure has been building on the energy sector to decarbonise. In 2020, we witnessed a paradigm shift in the sector. Offering investors a low carbon future Pressure to decarbonize has been driven by growing evidence and awareness of the link between burning hydrocarbons and climate change, and the prevalence of hydrocarbons in our … Read more

The Taxonomy Regulation: an overview

On 18 June 2020,  the European Parliament adopted the regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment[1] (the Taxonomy Regulation), a milestone in the EU’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance (the Action Plan). It has since been published in the Official Journal and entered into force on 12 July 2020. The EU-wide green taxonomy set out … Read more

Queensland case to focus on the human rights implications of climate change

A group of young Queenslanders is challenging the mining lease and environmental approval for the Waratah coal mine, part of the Galilee Coal Project. Although detailed grounds are not yet available, statements on behalf of the group indicate that the grounds will explicitly link climate change with human rights in a way that is novel … Read more

Adoption of Equator Principles 4

On 18 November 2019, the updated version of the Equator Principles (EP), EP4, was adopted by the Equator Principles Association. EP4 will apply to mandated transactions from 1 July 2020. Read more