"The federal court today unanimously decided Federal Environment Minister
Sussan Ley does not have a duty of care to protect young people from the harms
of climate change.
The ruling overturns a previous landmark win by eight high school students, who
sought to stop Ley approving a coal mine expansion in New South Wales. While
the judge did not prevent the mine expansion, he agreed the minister did indeed
have a duty of care to children in the face of the climate crisis.
Ley’s successful appeal is disappointing. As legal scholars, we believe the
judgment sets back the cause of climate litigation in Australia by two decades,
at a time when we urgently need climate action to accelerate.
So why was Ley successful? The federal court’s 282-page judgment offers myriad
reasons for why no duty should be imposed on the minister. But what emerges
most clearly is the court’s view that it’s not their place to set policies on
climate change. Instead, they say, it’s the job of our elected representatives
in the federal government."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics