"The Federal Court recently quashed a duty of care owed by the environment
minister to Australian children, to protect them from the harms of climate
The duty was attached to Australia’s federal environment law, the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. In reversing the decision
that had established the duty, the new judgment shone a spotlight on the EPBC
Act’s limitations. Or at least, it should have.
Much of the commentary around the judgment focused on lamenting the hands-off
position the court took in its unwillingness to delve into so-called political
Less attention was paid to a key take-home message: the EPBC Act gives the
minister power to approve coal projects, even if they’ll have adverse effects.
It doesn’t, in a general sense, protect the environment from these effects. It
doesn’t protect the public from consequent harm, even if deadly. And it
doesn’t, actually, tackle climate change at all.
Alarmed? You should be."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics