Aussie Environment Minister Sussan Ley. By Smblock - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Aussie Children’s Climate Change Court Case Rejected

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Aussie Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has successfully argued she does not have a duty of care to protect young people from climate change.

Children’s climate change case overturned on appeal as Federal Court dismisses government’s ‘duty of care’

By national science, technology and environment reporter Michael Slezak 
and the Specialist Reporting Team’s Penny Timms

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has successfully argued she does not have a duty of care to protect young people from climate change when assessing fossil fuel projects.

Key points:

  • A group of eight children launched the class action in 2020
  • The initial judgement agreed the minister had a “duty of care” when assessing fossil fuel projects
  • Experts say an appeal is likely, but in the meantime, the latest ruling removes the duty of care

The ruling of the full bench of the Federal Court today overturned an earlier win by a group of eight children, who brought a class action on behalf of all Australian children that temporarily established the new common-law duty of care.

Experts say the children are likely to appeal against the decision in the High Court, but in the meantime, the ruling removes the duty of care that was established by Justice Mordecai Bromberg.

The class action, led by teenager Anj Sharma, argued that the environment minister had a duty of care to protect young people from climate change, and that this needed to be a consideration in the approval process for projects that would produce greenhouse gas.

In the initial judgement last May, Justice Bromberg agreed the minister had the duty of care to protect young people from climate change, that climate change would cause catastrophic and “startling” harm to young people, and that approving a new coal mine would increase the chance of that harm.

Read more:

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley seems to have the right enemies.

When told about coral dying from climate change in 2019, she hilariously visited the Great Barrier Reef in person, and demanded to see the dead coral. Funny enough all she found was healthy reef.

Update: The Guardian has published a video of the kids crying, because now they’ll have to gather genuine political support to achieve their goals, instead of using the courts to inflict green tyranny on Australian voters who mostly don’t want what they are offering.

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John Garrett
March 15, 2022 10:23 am

The decision is being appealed. The climate lunatics have a bottomless pile of $$$ from Vladimir Putin, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Al Gore, Tom Steyer, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation. Jeremy Grantham, Michael Bloomberg, the Park Foundation and the rest of the useful idiots.

Reply to  John Garrett
March 15, 2022 10:37 am

Your list of Putin’s fellow travelers is quite interesting.

jeffery p
Reply to  Tom
March 15, 2022 10:52 am

Fellow travelers? Not really. Putin has entirely different goals and motivations from the others.

Reply to  jeffery p
March 15, 2022 12:22 pm

Not really, they all want to destabilize the west and usher in a new socialist Utopia. Putin just wants to rule it. while the others want to manage its decline.

Reply to  OweninGA
March 15, 2022 12:41 pm


Joe Shaw
Reply to  Tom
March 15, 2022 4:02 pm

This is more a case of “useful idiots” than “fellow travelers” I think.

Reply to  John Garrett
March 15, 2022 10:59 am

… and China through indirect and competitive interests.

Reply to  n.n
March 15, 2022 12:13 pm

Direct investment, too. Money, debt, credit, even leverage, is fungible.

Reply to  John Garrett
March 15, 2022 11:39 am

This is a unanimous judgement of the Full Federal Court of Australia.
To appeal the judgement to the only court left, the High Court of Australia, Sharma and the children need Special Leave to Appeal and that requires a point of law to be determined by the High Court.
The discretion is with the High Court.
Given the unanimous decision, the odds of a successful appeal are long indeed.
In fact, the Counsel for the claimant children does not say they will appeal, only that they are considering the judgement and will review their options.
On the other hand, your views are interesting in dealing in the US with Juliana v.US.a case similar in some respects to Sharma.
That and other cases seeking “climate justice” never seem to die no matter how many Superior Court Judges such as Judge William Alsup in Cal.v.BP say it is a matter for the Congress and International Conventions and not the Judicial Branch.

Reply to  Herbert
March 15, 2022 12:37 pm

Yes. The Climate School children or ‘Gretas’ lost the original case as well over approval of a coal mine, just the judge added a rider that the Government owed a duty of care to them . Thats now swept away as expected.
The Minister who approved the mine is responsible to Parliament ( and the voters !) not to the Gretas.

Reply to  Herbert
March 15, 2022 1:25 pm


Craig from Oz
Reply to  Herbert
March 15, 2022 9:03 pm

Wait! – The Australian Legal System ISN’T topped by the ABC?!?!

Reply to  John Garrett
March 15, 2022 12:40 pm

Soros and China too

Peter K
Reply to  John Garrett
March 15, 2022 5:20 pm

The latest is that the “kids” have lost that appeal. I am sure that their teachers were the instigators and of course pressured by the Teachers Union. That’s how it works in Oz. I would have thought that the Judge would have asked for data evidence that shows the link between fossil fuel CO2 emissions and climate change, global warming etc. To nip it in the bud. Similar to the “Mann” case. Perhaps our judges here in Oz aren’t that smart.

jeffery p
March 15, 2022 10:51 am

I love it when courts follow the law. Love it!

Bruce Cobb
March 15, 2022 10:56 am

Upon hearing the news, the young people reacted as follows:

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 15, 2022 2:16 pm

Isn’t that Simon?

Brent Wilson
Reply to  Rory Forbes
March 16, 2022 9:40 am


March 15, 2022 11:01 am

Lawfare hasn’t been kind to the Greens but that doesn’t deter them because in many cases the goal is to slowly bleed the victims to death. Just getting to court is a win for them.

Reply to  markl
March 15, 2022 12:18 pm

Their dirty laundry is blowing in the wind, baking in the sun. So-called “green” is Green and toxic to the environment, throughout its life cycle.

Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 11:38 am

From the article: “In the initial judgement last May, Justice Bromberg agreed the minister had the duty of care to protect young people from climate change, that climate change would cause catastrophic and “startling” harm to young people, and that approving a new coal mine would increase the chance of that harm.”

This ruling is not based on any scientific facts. There is no evidence of human-caused climate change or evidence that CO2 will cause harm to anyone, and no evidence that approving a coal plant will cause any CO2-harm at all.

I would love to question this judge as to what brought him to his conclusions that climate change brought by CO2 is real and/or harmful.

I imagine we could have a lot of fun with the judge’s opinions here. And that’s all they are: Opinions. No facts or evidence involved. The judge is declaring something exists that is not in evidence. The judge has no basis for coming to this conclusion.

I would like to cross-examine the judge.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 12:10 pm

Mordy Bromberg has always been, and still is, a far left activist for all causes pursued by the likes of the Fabian Society.

He rules in favor of leftist causes rather than application of law, doesn’t care if his rulings get overturned.

Ron Long
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 1:52 pm

That’s the problem, the idea that humans have a thermostat control knob to change the climate, and the evil capitalists have decided to ratchet it up to max just to…what? Kill everyone, themselves included? This whole charade gets nuttier by the day. Good on Australia for some progress.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 17, 2022 6:42 pm

I would argue that, so long as the coal mine in question produced higher than average quality coal (as Australian hard coal mines tend to do), it would displace lower quality, higher emission coal from other sources, and is therefore good for the environment by Justice Bromberg’s standards.

And if it replaces burning wood and dung in India, it is even better.

March 15, 2022 11:57 am

Where’s the “duty of care” for exposing the kids to propaganda and exploiting them for nefarious reasons?

I seriously doubt these kids came up with this court action by themselves and someone should be charged for child abuse.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
March 16, 2022 4:51 am

I suspect the leader of these kids, Anj Sharma is the daughter of Dave Sharma. He’s a high profile sitting member of parliament. He’s also a lawyer, first class honours. His wife is also a lawyer. He is a strong supporter of renewables and net zero. These so called conservative politicians call themselves moderates, reality is they are so far left they belong in the Greens Party.

There’s a lot of money in his electorate, richest in Australia. Follow the money, renewables are a good money spinner for the wealthy. Of course I may be wrong about the relationship, but it’s not a common name. And you are right, these kids didn’t come up with this idea by themselves.

Reply to  Megs
March 16, 2022 8:49 am

reality is they are so far left they belong in the Greens Party

reality is they are so far left they belong in the Greens Communist Party

There was a typo in your response, fixed it for you.

Richard Page
Reply to  Megs
March 16, 2022 2:06 pm

Not sure about that one. It might be uncommon in Australia but it’s quite common in India which is where the activist Anjali Sharma was born.

Reply to  Richard Page
March 16, 2022 2:25 pm

Thanks Richard. She is not likely their child then, the MP was raised and educated in Australia. I stand by my views on him however, he is pretty much a leftist and knows nothing of the damage that renewables are causing globally in regard to humanitarian issues, the environment or the economy. Nor is it likely he would care. He has wealthy constituents who no doubt have invested in renewables, he’s looking out for them.

The child, and her friends are ignorant, and are being used. There will be alot of resentment when these kids find out the truth. They are little more than marketing tools for the promotion of renewables technology.

March 15, 2022 11:57 am

If Australia went net zero tomorrow, what difference would it make to the children’s future? No difference as regards climate.

Reply to  Charlie
March 15, 2022 1:24 pm

They would be more likely to be able to learn/speak a foreign language in the future. They would then likely be exposed to and have the ability to be immersed in other world culture.

But no difference as regards to climate.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Charlie
March 15, 2022 9:11 pm

If Australia went and STAYED at net zero?

Well, the number of kiddies dying in electrical accidents would probably drop significantly. As would time spent on Social Media. They would also become more in touch with nature, mainly because they would be eating most of it.

Youth unemployment would also sky rocket, esp among girls, once it is discovered that being a Twitch Thot requires a working computer network.

Then they would all starve while waiting for the prior generations to fix everything.

March 15, 2022 12:00 pm

So…. At some point isn’t somebody going to take a case to court and go through a full throated presentation of the climate argument? At court you should get a fair hearing.

Reply to  kybill
March 15, 2022 12:33 pm

Maybe, assuming the court rules that you have standing to present your argument and evidence.

March 15, 2022 12:10 pm

In the initial judgement last May, Justice Bromberg agreed the minister had the duty of care to protect young people from climate change, that climate change would cause catastrophic and “startling” harm to young people, and that approving a new coal mine would increase the chance of that harm.

For that to have been the actual ruling, the definition of “climate change” must have been judged true or stipulated as a process in court.

If it wasn’t, then the Australian court system is full of kangaroos. You can’t judge what isn’t known.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Doonman
March 15, 2022 6:00 pm

The UN IPCC does not claim climate change would cause catastrophic or “startling” harm to anybody, much less children. This judge seems to be using NGO and media hysteria in his decisionmaking. Anyway, the government has no obligation or duty of care; the courts cannot tell the legislature to legislate in any particular way. [I know, I know: There have been a few screwball rulings.]

March 15, 2022 1:16 pm

So, originally the kids sued because they wanted the start to be their parents essentially?

Richard Page
Reply to  leowaj
March 16, 2022 12:49 pm

Or rather the parents sued through the children hoping for a sympathy and/or cute smile vote. You really want to convince me the kids know what they’re doing in an adult courtroom?

March 15, 2022 2:27 pm

Children are better served by protecting them from real monsters. One example is the folly in forcing surgical mask wearing in school, or anywhere for that matter.

Reply to  Blackall
March 15, 2022 2:31 pm
Reply to  Blackall
March 15, 2022 4:34 pm

The crying children should have to wear masks.

Rory Forbes
March 15, 2022 2:32 pm

A misplaced reliance on ‘Duty of Care’ has been the basis for most of the wrong headed actions taken to prevent the spread of the Kung-flu. This is part of Marxist ideology which coincides with the attack on language, to overturn ideas and long held social norms. Inventing a duty of care, where none exists, places people at risk of losing their ‘presumption of innocence’. It must actually be established first before any action for negligence can be brought.

March 15, 2022 2:46 pm

Why single out climate change. Coal makes cars and cars kill lots of people. A lot quicker than clinate change apparently.

March 15, 2022 2:53 pm

approving a new coal mine would increase the chance of that harm.
By using the word “chance” the judge established that the harm may or may not occur. Climate change is therefore not a proven fact. If it was the judge would have said “will”.

Reply to  ferdberple
March 15, 2022 3:09 pm

Which is why the whole AGW proposition is basically CONJECTURE.

Not a scientific hypothesis or theory based upon actual observations as the scientific method requires, accompanied by a ‘null hypothesis’, and subject to replication.

March 15, 2022 5:15 pm

Here’s the judgement.

OMG! Usually, the judgements I have read are based on one thing that decides the case. Everything else is treated as moot. In this case, nothing was ignored. What a grind. Are Australian judges paid by the word?

I noticed a couple of things.

In common with American decisions, the Australian court held that some things are best left to the country’s elected representatives.

Then there was this:

However, in my view it serves to highlight the dangers of assessing fragmented liability issues decades before any cause of action accrues.

No matter what, Australia would be a tiny contributor to Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW), assuming you assume, as the court does, that it’s a real thing. As far as I can tell, the court holds that the minister may decide that the social and economic benefits of the project outweigh the possible tiny harms it may eventually cause.

If folks are eventually harmed by CAGW, they should sue those who most contributed to their misfortune. ie. they should sue China. (Yeah, well, where I come from, it’s usually the defendant with the deepest pockets who ends up paying almost no matter how small their contribution to the damage was. So, there’s that.)

I would really like someone like Rud to weigh in on this.

CD in Wisconsin
March 15, 2022 5:19 pm

“Aussie Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has successfully argued she does not have a duty of care to protect young people from climate change.”

As spring approaches on the calendar here in Wisconsin and temperatures rise, I continue to be fascinated by the notion that warming temperatures are some sort of a threat to human health. In about three or four months from now, daytime average highs will be far higher here than they are now and have been in the past 3-4 months. Believe it or not, this actually happens every year and I don’t recall ever getting ill from it.

The UAH satellite temperature data continue to show about +0.13 deg. C of warming per decade since the beginning of the record. I believe the U.N., the WHO and maybe the AMA may have issued medical studies that suggest threats to human health from such warming, but I give them the same credibility in my mind that I give to the idea that UFOs are spacecraft manned by aliens from other worlds.

Do these courts actually ask for any studies and underlying data to support such lawsuits?

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
March 15, 2022 6:10 pm

“Aussie Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has successfully argued she does not have a duty of care to protect young people from climate change.”

I like this lady. Smart. She’s a keeper. Wish we had her here in the US.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  BobM
March 15, 2022 7:52 pm

Yup. It is refreshing to actually see a govt minister or bureaucrat standing up to the climate alarmist narrative instead of pandering to it. There is too little of that.

March 15, 2022 7:31 pm

“Anj Sharma”

Western nations are being destroyed within from foreign born/first gen psychopaths.

Look at Canada’s leadership, look at the U.K., the U.S.? Illhan Omar? Sadiq Kahn? Jagmeet Singh?

I await the “you’re an -ist”. Just being real here.
Reply to  Ruleo
March 15, 2022 8:39 pm

Stating the truth is now racist. Dontcha know?

Reply to  Ruleo
March 16, 2022 4:24 am

Anj Sharma is one of the teenagers involved in the case. I can’t confirm it, but she is potentially the daughter of a high profile sitting member of parliament, Dave Sharma.

This MP is a lawyer who graduated with first class honours. His wife is also a lawyer, and a diplomat. His electorate is the second smallest in Australia, but the richest. The suburbs in his electorate are the most expensive real estate in Australia. Sharma was Ambassador to Israel for a time. He is part of the sitting conservative government, but most ‘quite Australians’ would consider him of the left. He is a strong supporter of net zero and the push for renewables. The Independent who is challenging him in the upcoming elections is running on the ‘climate change’ platform. He is bad enough, so you’d have to consider her a Green. Many Independents are backed by elite billionaires. Though Sharma himself is wealthy in his own right.

March 15, 2022 8:04 pm

Wait. This is over the approval of a coal mine? The main problem I see is that a coal mine doesn’t produce carbon dioxide. Those who burn the coal create the carbon dioxide.

Many industries use coal to manufacture certain products. Some of the popular industries which make use of coal are the cement industry, paper and aluminium industry, chemical and pharma industry amongst others. Coal provides numerous raw materials like benozle, coal tar, sulphate of ammonia, creosote, etc. to chemical industries. 

The chemicals produced from coal are used primarily to make other products. Some of them include aspirins, solvents, soap, dyes, plastics and fibres which include nylon and rayon.

Coal is also an essential ingredient in the production of specialist products such as activated carbons, carbon fibre and silicon metals.

Those uses for coal do not produce carbon dioxide. As long as there are legitimate uses for coal which could not be linked to a duty of care for children in any way, shape, or form, then the coal mines should not be sued. If the have a product that can be used in a perfectly harmless way, then there can be no requirement to environmentally assess the mine wrt carbon dioxide. Further, they are not responsible for those who choose to use their product in a way that some may deem unsafe. They are suing the wrong party. It’s tantamount to suing a pillow company because some people murder others by suffocating them with a pillows.

Reply to  Jtom
March 16, 2022 3:55 am

These fools are desperate to eliminate the ‘demon’ coal. They are totally ignorant of the life cycle and necessary raw materials that make up the technology of renewable energy. Without coal the manufacture of so called clean green energy would not be possible. There is more coal taken out of the ground (unnecessarily) as a direct result of the manufacture of this infrastructure. Someone needs to tell them that coal is an essential ‘ingredient’ in the manufacture of crystalline silicon solar panels, and not just for the billions of pylons.

March 15, 2022 10:19 pm

ABC reports a professor at Melbourne Law School saying: “This judgement really says, ‘Look, it’s not the role of the courts to make these decisions — it’s the role of our governments’, “But … part of the reason that people have taken these issues to the courts — why these kids were suing the government in the first place — was because of a lack of effective government policy.”

So ABC are promoting a teaching professor with a very twisted purpose of our courts. Here I was thinking that you should lobby politicians to change government policies. But ABC think “bullying” a politician is OK when you can’t get your way.

michael hart
March 15, 2022 11:36 pm

In sensible countries, children do not have standing to argue before a court. Their interests are represented by their legal guardians.

Vincent Causey
March 16, 2022 1:31 am

Do governments have a duty of care to provide reliable and affordable energy to their citizens, I wonder?

glenn holdcroft
March 16, 2022 4:26 am

Climate change as in coming out of the little ice age is far more dangerous to the world than Russia(Putin) vs Ukraine ,possibly Nato/USA or China(Xi)/Taiwan according to re-educated children and apparently Justice Bromberg .
Greta and co have a lot to answer for but they wouldn’t even understand the question .
No good asking John Kerry or any of the USA hierarchy .

Big Al
March 16, 2022 2:34 pm

Update for John. Putin just cut off Head of The Beast and BURNED down Tower of Babylon.

March 16, 2022 7:21 pm

I have to ask:

Are the children involved in the lawsuit practicing what they preach? Do they restrict their travel to walking, bicycling or horses? (There is a huge CO2 footprint in the manufacture of electric cars so they’re verboten too.) Do they refuse to use any electricity produced by burning fossil fuels?

The answers to those questions should be the first facts established at the opening of the court case. If they are found to not be practicing what they preach, that means they don’t really believe climate change is dangerous, they need no protection from it and the case should be thrown out of court forthwith and the plaintiffs required to pay all costs.

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