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This subject will evaluate a range of policies and green technologies that have been adopted as part of the emerging global effort to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases associated with climate change. It will examine the legal, economic, and policy dimensions of efforts to promote the development and diffusion of green technologies, emphasising the role of market-based mechanisms and patent rights. The subject will focus on policy developments in the United States, Europe, and Australia, and will assess the merits of different policy instruments (eg, patents, renewable-energy portfolio standards, tax breaks, direct subsidies, prizes) as means of overcoming the barriers to development and deployment of green technologies. A series of technology-specific case studies will be discussed, with technologies including renewable sources of electricity, biofuels used in transportation, green building, and carbon capture and sequestration. The subject will utilise in-class exercises, including green technology pitches, a simulated trading regime and structured policy debates. Students should note that traditional regulation of fossil fuels and economic regulation in the electricity sector will not be covered.
Principal topics include:
- Green technology - barriers and opportunities
- Economics of positive and negative externalities
- Traditional environmental regulation and innovation
- Pitfalls and promise of policy portfolios built around pollution trading regimes
- Renewable energy policies
- Policy myths and realities of grey technologies.
Intended learning outcomes
This subject will give students specialised analytical and technical skills in the areas of energy, environmental, and intellectual property law. Students will learn to analyse subjects in these areas critically, as well as to reflect on and synthesise complex legal and technical information, problems, concepts, and theories. Skills developed will include researching and applying relevant theories and information, interpreting laws and policies, and presentation skills relevant to working in a variety of legal and policy settings. The subject is designed to enable students to apply the knowledge and skills they gain independently and to enhance their professional judgment and adaptability.
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Gain an advanced and integrated understanding of the economic principles of innovation policy and environmental externalities
- Develop a sophisticated knowledge of the policy instruments used in Australia and abroad to promote the development and deployment of new technologies (eg, intellectual property rights, tax incentives, subsidies), including recent developments in laws and policies
- Have an advanced understanding of specific clean technology laws and policies being implemented at the local, state, national, and international levels
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal and policy regimes
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as the relative effectiveness, practical viability, economic implications, and barriers to implementing policies to promote clean technologies
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to policies designed to promote clean technologies;
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding policies relevant to promoting clean technologies
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the fields of environmental law, innovation policy, and intellectual property law.
Last updated: 11 February 2021