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  3. Climate Change Law

Climate Change Law (LAWS70293)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70293
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Climate change is a pressing environmental, economic and social problem. Global warming is predicted to have wide-ranging impacts, and it presents enormous challenges for conventional models of law and socio-economic governance due to its pervasive character, long-term effects and the need for dynamic change in many of the fundamental areas of life. This subject examines the challenges for law in driving that change, from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its associated Paris Agreement, to international trade and litigation, to federal and state legislative responses, through to local effects including on Indigenous peoples. The lecturer is active in research and advice in climate change law and governance in the international and domestic law spheres.

Principal topics include:

  • The scientific basis for global warming and physical impacts of climate change
  • The international legal framework, including the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement and associated international instruments
  • Social and cultural impacts and legal responses, such as human rights protection
  • The schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
  • The role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in climate change governance, particularly with respect to renewable energy technologies and the disciplining of fossil fuel subsidies
  • The interaction of climate change regimes with other international law frameworks; eg World Heritage, refugee law and security
  • The federal legislative framework for climate change mitigation and adaptation, including direct action plans, market mechanisms and carbon trading
  • State-based legislative and regulatory responses to climate change
  • Climate change regulation and its impact on corporate entities
  • Bio-sequestration and carbon capture and storage
  • The nature of climate change litigation

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the scientific basis of global warming and its impacts in an ecological, social and economic context
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the international legal framework governing climate change issues and likely future trends, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement and associated international instruments
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding federal and state legislative responses to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including an emissions trading scheme, associated market measures, direct action and energy-related measures such as mandatory renewable energy targets
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the trade law implications of climate change governance
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse the various legislative and regulatory mitigation measures at federal and state level
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding domestic and international regimes focussing on or relating to climate change
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of climate change law.

Last updated: 13 September 2019