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’
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.
- 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.
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.