Historically Australia has led the world in the development of robust environmental laws. And yet, while there have been some notable exceptions, in relation to climate change law, Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world.
In moving forward, any meaningful legal response to governing climate change has three fundamental and interrelated aspects. The first is to take the complex nature of climate change as an environmental problem seriously. Climate change is a classic ‘hot’ situation – it is polycentric, involves scientific predictions, and is a product of socio-political arrangements. Second, as a ‘hot’ situation, it requires the advancement of legal frameworks that respond to the complexity of climate change as a problem.
These frameworks are a form of ‘hot law’ and their development requires the expansion of legal imagination. Numerous examples of this can be seen across the world, including the legal creation of markets and the emergence of new types of legal obligations and rights.
These developments do not occur in isolation and also require integration into the wider legal order. Third, given all of this, there is a need to develop institutional and legal capacity along a range of different dimensions.
This event was held at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 30 October 2018.
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