Change of climate for Sydney Law School
With energy security becoming a vital priority in the area of climate change, the Sydney Law School is taking up the challenge with a new course.
Global Energy and Resources Law is an exciting addition to the faculty’s postgraduate program. It was made possible by seed funding from businessman and alumnus Kevin McCann (LLB ’64, BA ’61), matched by Macquarie Group Foundation.
The course offers perspectives on global energy security, international access to energy resources and the resolution of cross-jurisdictional energy access disputes. Also on the agenda: reform of the Australian energy market and the implications of climate change on energy resources.
“Australia’s position as a supplier of energy and natural resources calls for specialist skills in providing professional legal advice,” says Professor Gillian Triggs, Sydney Law School Dean and Challis Chair of International Law. “The new course allows Sydney to take a leadership role in promoting education, research and debate to benefit Australia’s security, environment and economy.”
As a former energy and resources lawyer and Chairman of Origin Energy, Kevin McCann is fully aware of the importance of energy security. “Resource and energy exports are likely to underpin the Australian economy for the foreseeable future,” he explains, “so it is important we have lawyers with specialisation in these fields. Research into legal and administrative regimes for energy and resources is needed by corporates, regulators and legislators to ensure development occurs efficiently and appropriately.”
Feedback from the first intake of students has been very positive. “The unit gave me an excellent overview of the finance and regulatory structure that drives our energy economy,” says graduate Amy Kean, managing director of Pinpoint Earth. “I particularly enjoyed learning about the complex interplay between the physical nature, political reality and regulatory frameworks of our energy markets. This knowledge is important if we are to meet the challenges of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy.”
On the evening before classes commenced, the inaugural Kevin McCann Global Energy and Resources Law Lecture was delivered by Dr Zwiggy Switkowski, then Chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. His topic was nuclear energy in the context of global energy security. It traced the growing importance of nuclear technology around the world, examined some of the concerns regarding its use, and contended that it cannot be excluded as an option if Australia is to meet its energy and climate change targets.
The support of Kevin McCann and the Macquarie Group Foundation is enabling the Sydney Law School to equip its students with the specialist knowledge needed to deliver sound advice on contemporary global energy and resource realities. With climate change looming large over the world, and moving to the forefront of Australian and global politics, this new course is destined to help shape our energy resources future.
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