Climate change has been a contentious issue since the late 1990s. In 1998, the government set up the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), the world’s first national government agency dedicated to reducing GHG emissions, and the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS). Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, but did not ratify it until 2007. Controversy over the introduction of federal legislation to limit GHG emissions became particularly acute from 2009, with the major parties (the Australian Labor Party or ALP, and the Liberal-National Party coalition) advocating different approaches.

In 2007, the LNP coalition government introduced the National Greenhouse Energy and Reporting (NGER) Act, which established a single national reporting framework for GHG emissions and energy use and production, in part to provide information to underpin a future emissions trading scheme (ETS). The Garnaut Climate Change Review (released 2008, updated 2011) indicated that an ETS could help to “decarbonise” the economy, and would not be inflationary if permit revenue were used to compensate households. Major political controversy surrounded the first attempt (by the ALP government) to introduce an ETS through the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill (CPRS), which was twice defeated in the Senate in 2009, giving rise to a trigger for a double dissolution election. In 2010, it was announced that the CPRS would be put on hold until 2012.

However, after a federal election in 2010, the new minority ALP government (which relied on the Greens to pass bills in the Senate) began anew to introduce climate change legislation. A new package of 18 bills to combat climate change, headed by the Clean Energy Act 2011, was passed by the House of Representatives and by a narrow majority in the Senate. The Clean Energy Legislative package created a carbon pricing mechanism that began in July 2012, with the price to be paid by the largest business emitters fixed for the first three years before moving to a floating price ETS.

Ongoing issues related to the carbon pricing mechanism included the potential effects on emissions-intensive industries, and the effects on household electricity and general consumption bills. As a result, the package included transitional assistance for “emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries” and substantial cuts to income tax, particularly for low-income earners, and increases to the pension and allowances in order to compensate for any price rises. Household transportation fuel consumption and emissions from agriculture and other land-based activities were exempt from the carbon price.

In 2012, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the European Commissioner for Climate Action announced their intention to connect the Australian ETS to the European Union ETS, through an interim one-way link from 1 July 2015 and a full two-way link from 2018. The intent to link with the EU ETS was formalised with the passage of the Clean Energy Amendment (International Emissions Trading and Other Measures) Bill 2012 and six related bills, which, in addition to amending Australia’s emissions unit registry to permit the use of European Union Allowances[1], introduced two main changes to the Australian scheme: first, removal of the price floor on carbon credits; second, the application of a new sub-limit to the use of eligible Kyoto credits. With a change of Prime Minister in July 2013, the ALP signalled its intention to bring forward by one year the move from a fixed price on carbon to a floating price ETS. Bills to implement this intent were never introduced to parliament due to a change of government, as the Tony Abbot-led coalition was elected in the general election of 2013. One of the major pre-election promises of the coalition was to revoke the carbon tax and in July 2014 the Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014 was passed by the Senate.[2]

In place of the Clean Energy Act and the carbon tax, the government has passed the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014, which implements the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The ERF is intended to contribute towards the government’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. This target is a bipartisan target i.e. supported by both the Australian Labor Party and the coalition government and represents the equivalent of a reduction of 19% against business-as-usual levels in 2020. Through the ERF the government will purchase low-cost abatement through reverse auctions. It consists of three parts: crediting emissions reductions that have been certified by the Clean Energy Regulator, and based on methods considered by an independent assurance body; purchasing credited reductions by the Regulator through auctions where the lowest bids are bought first and payment under the contract is tied to delivery of reductions; and safeguarding of public money spent on reductions by setting emissions baselines for large facilities. The safeguard mechanism will apply from July 2016 and is intended to protect taxpayer funds by ensuring that emissions reductions paid for are not displaced by a significant rise in emissions elsewhere in the economy.

Australian carbon credit units will be issued for emissions reductions estimated and verified in accordance with approved ERF methods. This will provide legal certainty about the ownership of emissions units and reduce the risk of double-counting and fraud. The Kyoto-compliant Australian National Registry of Emissions Units (ANREU) remains in place as the framework for rules around issuance, holding and transfer of emissions units.

Public consultation on ERF methods is ongoing, with 17 priority methods already released for comment. These include: destroying the methane component of coal mine waste gas by operating one or more methane destruction devices; treating eligible organic waste at an alternative waste treatment facility rather than disposing of it in landfill; and combusting methane from landfill gas using a flare, boiler, or internal combustion engine.

A bill to abolish the Climate Change Authority was rejected in the Senate in March 2014, but a second version of the bill, the Climate Change Authority (Abolition) Bill 2013 [No. 2], is currently before the Senate.[3] However, as part of the political agreement to pass the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014, the government has abandoned its pre-election pledge to scrap the Climate Change Authority. As such, the Climate Change Authority (Abolition) Bill 2013 [No. 2] is on hold. It also appears that the government will not further progress bills currently before Parliament to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2014) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) (the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014). ARENA was established in 2012 as an independent statutory authority to increase the supply of renewable energy and improve its competitiveness by funding development projects and research activities.

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are estimated as a nation, by state and by industry. The National Greenhouse Accounts, which track national emissions from 1990 onwards, are published quarterly to meet reporting commitments under the UNFCCC. The National Greenhouse Accounts are supported by company emissions measurement rules, legislated under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination. These reporting rules are reviewed annually.

The framework for the measurement, reporting and verification of emissions is the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS). NGERS sets out the rules for how emissions must be measured and reported. NGERS will underpin the ERF in that credits for abatement achieved will be based on the same rules for how emissions must be measured and reported and then audited. Credits will only be issued if they have been verified by an independent auditor.

The Clean Energy Regulator remains the government body responsible for implementing climate change mitigation laws. The Regulator will take on implementation of the ERF, in addition to ongoing implementation of other programs such as the Renewable Energy Target, legacy Carbon Farming Initiative projects, the NGERS and ANREU.

As a further part of recent changes to climate change policy, the Australian Climate Change Science Programme, which had been operating since 1989 and which provided fundamental climate system science to support decision-making, has been dissolved and merged with the National Environmental Research Programme into a new National Environmental Science Programme (NESP). The NESP will receive AUD25.5m (USD21.99 million) per annum and will require groups of research institutions to form research hubs and apply, via a competitive process, for funding on the following six topics: clean air and urban landscapes; earth systems; marine biodiversity; Northern Australia environmental resources; threatened species recovery; and tropical water quality. Climate change science will be addressed by the earth systems research hub.

The Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CCRSPI), operating since 2007 under a mandate from the Primary Industry Ministerial Council and Primary Industry Standing Committee, leads the national collaboration, co-ordination and communication of climate change research, development and extension activity for primary industries. Research programmes such as the Climate Change Research Programme and Carbon Farming Futures (CFF)Filling the Research Gap, Action on the Ground and Extension and Outreach programmes are led by the Department of Agriculture. The government has approved 200 grants worth AUD138.9m (USD119.8m) under these CFF programmes. These projects are supporting research, trials and extension of the ways farmers and land managers can reduce agricultural GHG emissions, increase storage of carbon in soil, and maintain productivity while adapting to a changing climate. Adaptation-related research is also carried out through the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, which was recently provided with grant funding of AUD9m (USD7.76m) over three years.

In addition to domestic efforts to tackle climate change, Australia is involved in many regional and global activities, providing opportunities to build stronger political relationships and influence other countries’ climate change policies, and for capacity building in developing countries. It is involved in setting up REDD+ projects and has an allocated budget towards supporting adaptation efforts in developing countries.

Sub-national level

Several states have climate legislation and emission reduction targets. South Australia set ambitious targets in its 2007 legislation – reducing emissions to 40% under 1990 levels by 2050; and production and consumption of at least 20% renewable energy by 2014. Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2010 came into effect in 2011. Following federal legislation, the Act was reviewed and “found no compelling case to maintain the (Victorian) target” when a national scheme was in place. State emission reduction targets (which are more ambitious than the federal targets) will be repealed from the state legislation; however, other elements of the legislation, including adaptation plans, will remain intact (and a Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Plan was published in response in 2013). New South Wales produced several plans, which include a commitment to be net carbon neutral by 2020, as well as other targets and measures with regards to energy consumption and supply and transportation. The Australian Capital Territory also introduced ambitious legislation including net carbon neutrality by 2060. It remains to be seen how the results of the 2013 general election and the subsequent shift in national policy, will affect sub-national activity.

Energy demand

The overarching framework for energy efficiency is the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency (NSEE), updated in 2010 and published by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). This strategy builds on the National Framework for Energy Efficiency, published in 2004, and which now exists as a sub-set of the NSEE.

However, in December 2014 the COAG Energy Council committed to develop a new policy framework for energy productivity to co-ordinate nationally across both energy efficiency and energy market reform.  This relates to a government proposal in the 2014 Energy Green Paper to consider a “National Energy Productivity Plan”. It is expected therefore this new framework will emerge and may replace the NSEE within 2015.

While the previous government outlined plans for a national Energy Savings Initiative (ESI), designed to tie in with carbon pricing measures under the Clean Energy Act, this has not been taken forward. A national ESI would have placed obligations on energy retailers to implement energy savings in households and businesses, and would have assisted consumers to save money through energy efficient technologies.

In the 2012‑2013 financial year, the government provided funding of AUD37.1m (USD31.2 million) over four years (between 2012‑2013 and 2015‑2016) to assist in establishing a nationally-consistent legislative framework to regulate the energy efficiency of equipment and appliances.  This addresses two policy objectives of improving energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions by consolidating seven state and territory legal frameworks into a single piece of Commonwealth legislation. The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (the GEMS Act) aims to promote the development and adoption of products that use less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gases. The main policy tools to achieve these objectives are mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards and Energy Rating Labels for appliances and equipment. The budget also included AUD2.8m (USD2.4m) in additional funding for a range of building energy efficiency activities, including maintenance and improvement of current building regulatory schemes.

An Energy Efficiency Opportunities programme was launched to encourage large energy-using businesses to improve their energy efficiency. Large corporations (either individually or as part of a corporate group) that used over 0.5 petajoules of energy per year were mandated to participate, with medium users able to participate voluntarily. However, due to the passing of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (Repeal) Bill 2014, the programme has ceased.

To drive energy efficiency in the commercial building sector specifically, in 2010 the government launched the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) programme. The CBD programme requires most sellers and lessors of large office spaces to provide energy efficiency information to prospective buyers and tenants. The government collects and publishes this information to make available clear and credible energy efficiency and greenhouse emissions data. The policy intends to result in a more informed commercial property market, with a focus on energy efficient buildings and reduced emissions. The programme is underpinned by the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 and sub-ordinate legislation.

Energy supply

Australia has had legislation in place to incentivise increased renewable energy generation since 2000 (the Renewable Energy [Electricity] Act 2000), with a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) commencing in 2001. From 2009, the MRET was expanded to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Scheme, designed to ensure that 20% of the nation’s electricity supply will be generated from renewable sources by 2020. As of 2011-12, around 9.5% of electricity generation comes from renewable sources. Hydroelectricity, bagasse (a by-product of sugarcane), wood and wood waste together account for 85% of renewable energy production. Wind and solar are rapidly growing sectors and in 2011-12 made up 25% and 6% of generation respectively.

In 2010 the Parliament passed legislation to split the RET into a Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), effective from 2011. The two schemes recognise differences between large-scale operations (such as renewable energy projects, and energy suppliers) and small-scale renewable energy systems (such as house­holds, small businesses and communities). Under the amended legislation, liable entities (normally electricity retailers) are required to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) from renewable energy providers. This is intended to provide a financial incentive for investment in renewable energy systems. LRET and SRES are overseen by a statutory authority (the Clean Energy Regulator).

REDD+ and LULUCF

In 1990 land use change emissions were 27% of the UNFCCC inventory total. However by 2011 this proportion had decreased to 9% due to a long term trend of declining land-clearing in Australia dating back to the 1970s. The government established the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) in 1998 to provide a complete accounting and forecasting system for human-induced sources and sinks of GHG emissions from land-based activities. Reporting capabilities include emissions from LULUCF, as well as projections for future emissions from these categories. Carbon pools that are covered through NCAS include soil carbon and biomass (both above-ground and below-ground). The NCAS is considered one of the leading programmes worldwide in accounting for carbon emissions and sequestration from land-based activities.

The Carbon Farming Initiative, established by the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011, allows for emissions reduction or sequestration projects in the land sector, and from landfill waste emissions. The projects earn carbon credits that can be sold to those wishing to offset their GHG emissions. The initiative covers land-based sequestration activities, native forest protection and emissions avoidance projects. As noted above, the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014 has been passed by Parliament.

Transportation

Transportation emissions account for approximately 16% of Australia’s UNFCCC GHG inventory for 2012, with cars contributing nearly 57% of road transport-related emissions. By 2020, GHG emissions from transport are projected to be 97 Mt CO2-e, 29% higher than in 2000. The Green Vehicle Guide, an initiative of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, provides ratings on new vehicles based on GHG and air pollution emissions.

Adaptation

Between 2007 and 2013 the government allocated AUD126m (USD108.7m) to a National Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP), and allocated a further AUD44m (USD37.9m) to establish the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship. In 2007 a National Climate Change Adaptation Framework was agreed to by a now-disbanded committee of COAG but does not have any legislative or executive force. In 2009 a National Coastal Risk Assessment was published, with a supplement published in 2011, the ‘Climate change risks to coastal buildings and infrastructure report’. In 2010, the government published a position paper ‘Adapting to climate change in Australia’, identifying six national priority areas for action: water, coasts, infrastructure, natural ecosystems, natural disaster management and agriculture. The paper emphasised responsibility sharing between government and private parties, and allocation of responsibilities among different levels of government.

In 2014, the government committed funding of AUD9m (USD7.76m) to the National Climate Change Research Facility to maintain key research networks, synthesise the considerable body of adaptation research already undertaken, and develop a coastal climate risk management framework to support local decision making.

[1] At first indirectly, through a ‘shadow units’ system, and then directly when a full two-way link was in place.

[2] Other associated Acts that were also passed as part of the abolition of the carbon tax are the: Customs Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014; Excise Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014; Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014; Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014; True-up Shortfall Levy (Excise) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014; True-up Shortfall Levy (General) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014; and the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) (Transitional Provisions) Act 2014.

[3] Some minor laws related to the original 2011 Clean Energy Act are currently still in force, namely the: Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Act 2011; Clean Energy (Household Assistance Amendments) Act 2011; Clean Energy (Tax Laws Amendments) Act 2011; and the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011.

Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014 ( 2014 )

This bill establishes the Emissions Reduction Fund, and provides a transition for the Carbon Farming Initiative by amending the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 to provide for the Clean Energy Regulator to conduct auctions and enter into contracts to purchase emissions reductions; enable a broader range of emissions reduction projects to be approved;…read more

Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012 ( 2012 )

The Act establishes the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector. The main function of the corporation is to invest its funds (USD2bnper annum until 2017) into clean energy technologies. A Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2014 is currently before the House of Representatives which would…read more

Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 ( 2012 )

The Act promotes the development and adoption of products that use less energy, produce fewer GHGs, or contribute to the reducing of energy or GHGs produced by other products. It is also intended to give effect to Australia’s obligations under the UNFCCC. It establishes greenhouse and energy minimum standards (GEMS) that are to be applied…read more

Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Act 2011 ( 2011 )

The Act establishes the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units and details the specifics of its operation, such as the operation of Registry accounts. The Act was most recently amended in late 2014 to account for amendments necessary to account for the passing of the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Act 2014.…read more

Climate Change Authority Act 2011 ( 2011 )

The Act establishes the Climate Change Authority which is required to conduct reviews under other acts such as the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and conduct research about matters relating to climate change. While discharging its functions, the Climate Change Authority is to have regard to the principle that any measure to respond to climate…read more

Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 (Act No. 67 of 2010) ( 2010 )

The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act requires energy efficiency information in the form of a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate, to be provided when commercial office over a certain metrage is offered for sale or lease. The most recent Commercial Buildings Disclosure Programme, updated over June-September 2016, lowered the mandatory disclosure threshold on commercial office buildings from 2,000 to 1,000…read more

Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 ( 2008 )

The Act aims to provide an effective regulatory framework for petroleum exploration and recovery, and the exploration for potential GHG storage formations, injection and storage of GHG substances in offshore areas (Commonwealth waters). The Act provides a comprehensive national framework for offshore petroleum exploration and GHG storage activities, as these are managed jointly by the…read more

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 ( 2007 )

The Act establishes the legislative framework for the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme. The goal of the NGER Act was to introduce a single national reporting framework for the reporting and dissemi¬nation of information related to GHG emissions, GHG projects, energy consumption and energy production of corporations. The NGER Act was in part designed…read more

Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 ( 2000 )

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 in its latest version as of 10 March 2016, also called "Act for the establishment and administration of a scheme to encourage additional electricity generation from renewable energy sources, and for related purposes", aims to:        "encourage the additional generation of electricity from renewable sources;     …read more

National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy ( 2015 / Adaptation Framework )

The National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy provides an overview of how Australia is managing climate risks, and identifies a set of principles to guide effective adaptation measures and resilience building. The strategy complements Australia’s commitments to reduce GHG emissions to 26-28 % by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The Strategy defines national climate resilience as having three main elements: "global action to reduce…read more

National Energy Productivity Plan 2015-2030 ( 2015 )

To deliver the Australian Government's National Energy Productivity Target of 40% improvement between 2015 and  2030, the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council has developed the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP), a framework and related economy-wide work plan. In better coordinating energy market reform, energy efficiency and climate policy, the Plan aims to improve national energy productivity by stimulating: "more productive consumer…read more

National Strategy on Energy Efficiency ( 2010 )

The National Strategy on Energy Efficiency (NSEE) provides the overarching framework for energy efficiency policy. It is designed to substantially improve minimum standards for energy efficiency and accelerate the introduction of new technologies through improving regulatory processes and addressing the barriers to the uptake of new energy-efficient products and technologies. It also aims to encourage…read more

Abrahams v. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Opened in 2017 )

Citation/reference number: No. VID __ of 2017
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Bank's alleged failure to disclose climate change-related risks of its investments
Current status: Decision pending

Shareholders of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia sued the bank, alleging that it violated the Corporations Act of 2001 with the issuance of its 2016 annual report, which failed to disclose climate change-related business risks—specifically including possible investment in the controversial Adani Carmichael coal mine. The bank has made no indication that it would report…read more

Pridel Investments Pty. Ltd. v. Coffs Harbour City Council  (Opened in 2017 )

Citation/reference number: [2017] NSWLEC 1042
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permissions to develop in an area subject to coastal flood risk
Current status: Decided

This case dealt with the Coffs Harbour City Council’s rejection of Pridel Investments’ application to develop a 39-lot subdivision. The city council’s grounds for rejection included unacceptably high flooding risk, failure to consider various climate change impacts in accordance with state and national coastal and climate policy, and sustainable development principles as required by local…read more

Australian Conservation Foundation Inc. v. Minister for the Environment (Opened in 2016 )

Citation/reference number: [2016] FCA 1042
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to approved coal minign project
Current status: Decided

The Green Grou challenged…read more

Fetherston v Wollongong City Council  (Opened in 2016 )

Citation/reference number: [2016] NSWLEC 1527
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permissions to develop in spite of flood risk
Current status: Decided

Mr. Fetherston, who had been denied permission to build a two-story dwelling by the Wollongong City Council, appealed that denial, arguing among other things that the design made adequate provision for flood risk. Before ordering the council to grant the permit, the court considered evidence on flooding from two experts, one of whom presented evidence…read more

Fetterplace v Mornington Peninsula Shire Council  (Opened in 2016 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1549
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to build in area at risk from coastal flooding
Current status: Decided

Mr. Fetterplace appealed the shire council’s denial of building permission, which the council had justified on various grounds, including the risk of climate change-driven coastal flooding. The Tribunal considered the coastal vulnerability assessment submitted by an expert and emphasized, before rejecting the council’s arguments and ordering it to grant building permission, the importance of assessing…read more

Ralph Lauren 57 Pty. Ltd. v. Byron Shire Council (Opened in 2016 )

Citation/reference number: [2016] NSWSC 169
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Seek declaratory judgment and damages in relation to shoreline armoring restrictions and policy of planned retreat
Current status: Settled/Withdrawn

A group of plaintiffs who own property along Belongil Beach in New South Wales, Australia sought damages from the local government authority, the Byron Shire Council, to cover the costs of erecting shoreline protections on their parcels and to compensate for lost value to their properties from encroaching seas. Plaintiffs alleged that the need for…read more

Adani Mining Pty. Ltd. v. Land Services of Coast & Country Inc. & Others (Opened in 2015 )

Citation/reference number: [2015] QLC 48, [2016] FCA 1042
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Consideration of Scope 3 emissions in EIA for planned coal mine
Current status: Decided

This case dealt with a challenge to the Minister’s approval of an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed Anvil Hill Project coal mine, which was expected to produce about 10.5 million tons of thermal coal for domestic and foreign power plants annually for 21 years. That EA considered the mine’s expected Scope 1 and 2…read more

Hancock Coal Pty. Ltd. v. Kelly and Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (No. 4) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] QLC 12
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to refusal of grant to build a coal mine.
Current status: Decided

Hancock Coal Pty Ltd. v. Kelly and Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (No. 4) [2014] QLC 12. This decision concerned the Alpha Coal Project, a large-scale coal mining project proposed by Hancock Coal in the Galilee Basin. The predominant use of land in this area is pastoral, specifically livestock grazing. Landowners, the Coast and…read more

Stewart & Honan v. Moyne Shire Council  (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] VCAT 360
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to develop near an area subject to coastal flooding
Current status: Decided

Local residents challenged the shire council’s approval of an application to develop a 32-lot subdivision on property 230 meters from the coast and in an area encompassing several ephemeral wetlands. In reviewing the issues of habitat protection and vulnerability to coastal flooding, the Tribunal noted that the shire council had commissioned a coastal vulnerability study,…read more

Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association Inc. v. Minister for Planning & Infrastructure and Warkworth Mining Ltd. (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] NSWLEC 48
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): To challenge the approval of the extension and continued operation of coal mine due to impacts on biodiversity.
Current status: Decided

Plaintiffs appealed the approval of a mining project that would expand a coal mine into areas previously designated as “non-disturbance areas” and extend the mining permit for ten years. The court overturned the approval due to significant adverse impacts including reduced biodiversity. In assessing biodiversity concerns, the court considered vulnerability to climate change.…read more

Clean Energy Regulator v. MT Solar Pty. Ltd. (Federal Court of Australia, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] FCA 205
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): To impose penalties for providing false information to the government regarding the installation of solar panels and claiming of Renewable Energy Certificates
Current status: Decided

This case concerned the penalties to be imposed on an unlicensed electrician, the company which employed him to install solar panels and other related parties. As the electrician did not have the appropriate accreditation to install the solar panels, the company was not entitled to claim Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under the Renewable Energy (Electricity)…read more

Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc. v. Smith (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2016] QCA 242
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Determine scope of environmental impacts to be considered on review of proposed coal mining operation
Current status: Decided

New coal mines in Queensland, Australia may only receive permits after completion of a review pursuant to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) and of an environmental impact assessment (EIS) pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld). By refusing to review the Queensland Supreme Court’s decision in Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc…read more

Environment Victoria Inc. v. Department of Primary Industries (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, January 15, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] VCAT 39
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application for access to information relating to coal licenses and a feed-in tariff scheme
Current status: Decided

The applicant, an NGO, submitted a request to the respondent under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOIA) for documents relating to: the possible allocation of new licenses to mine brown coal in the Latrobe Valley; reductions to the premium solar feed-in tariff paid to consumers who contribute electricity to the power grid from…read more

Newton and Anor v. Great Lakes Council (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] NSWLEC 1248
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to conditions of planning permit that imposed a time limit and structural requirements
Current status: Decided

A landowner challenged a local council decision to grant a planning permit to build a house on two conditions: (1) the development consent would only last for twenty years, and (2) the house must be designed to withstand 2033 sea level rise conditions. The Australian state court found in part for the landowner, rejecting the…read more

Nucifora v. Valuer-General, (Queensland Land Court 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] QLC 19
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): To challenge land valuation that did not take into account the impacts of climate change.
Current status: Decided

Nucifora appealed a land valuation in an Australia state court asserting that the land was overvalued because it did not take into account permanent changes in weather patterns due to climate change. The judge dismissed the appeal, finding that Nucifora had failed show that the farm was permanently devalued as a result of climate change.…read more

Rainbow Shores P/L v. Gympie Regional Council & Others (Planning and Environment Court of Queensland, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] QPEC 26
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Appeal of denial of a planning permit
Current status: Decided

Applicant appealed denial of a planning permit for a proposed integrated resort and residential community. The proposal was challenged on a number of grounds including concerns about erosion and storm surges. The Australia state court dismissed the appeal, finding that the proposal did not adequately address the site’s increased vulnerability to erosion and storm surges…read more

Smith v. Pittwater Council (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] NSWLEC 1145
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Appeal the refusal of planning permit
Current status: Decided

A landowner appealed a local council’s refusal of a planning permit in Australian state court. The council had found that the proposed development would not ensure adequate safety from flood risks given increased flood levels from climate change. Allowing the use of more conservative risk estimates than those employed by the council, the court found…read more

Copley v. Logan City Council & Anor (Queensland Planning and Environment Court, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] QPEC 39
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenged of approval of a development application
Current status: Decided

Copley challenged Logan City Council’s approval of a development application in an Australian state court asserting that the proposed homes violated the Local Government (Planning and Environment) Act of 1990 because they were impermissibly susceptible to flooding due to the impacts of climate change. The applicants motioned to strike the challenge. The judge denied the…read more

Dual Gas Pty. Ltd. & Others v. Environment Protection Authority (Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] VCAT 308
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Proposal for power generation facility
Current status: Decided

The EPA issued a works approval to Dual Gas for a 300 MWe power station for the development of a project involving new power generation technology from coal and natural gas. Four objectors challenged the approval in an Australia state court, including Environment Victoria, which asserted that the project would be inconsistent with Victoria’s State…read more

Hunter Community Environment Centre Inc. v. Minister for Planning and Delta Electricity (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] NSWLEC 195
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to government approval of coal-fired power plant
Current status: Decided

Hunter Community Environment Centre Inc challenged the Minister for Planning’s approval of the refurbishment of a coal-fired power plant proposed by Delta Electricity. While several grounds of appeal were raised in submissions by the applicant, only two were pursued during the hearing. The first of these grounds for review was an alleged a failure to…read more

Ison v. Richmond Valley Council (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] NSWLEC 1167
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): To challenge rejection of planning permit
Current status: Decided

Applicant appealed the refusal of a planning permit for a development project. The Australian state court dismissed the appeal reasoning that the proposed development would not be consistent with the Richmond Valley Local Environmental Plan 2012 because it would not ensure adequate safety from flood risks. In accordance with the plan, flood levels were determined…read more

Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty. Ltd. & Others v. Friends of the Earth – Brisbane & Others (Queensland Land Court, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] QLC 13
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to approval for the coal mine on the basis that the emissions from the use of the coal would contribute to climate change
Current status: Decided

Friends of the Earth and local land owners challenged an mining leases granted under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) for the development of a new “mega” coal mine in Queensland, Australia, as well as the draft conditions for an environmental authority to operate the mine which were proposed by the relevant Minister under the…read more

Carey v. Murrindindi Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] VCAT 76
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Consideration of application for a permit to build a community hall in an area with a high risk of bushfire
Current status: Decided

At issue in this case was a proposal to build a community hall in an area that was badly burnt by bushfires in February 2009. Citizens objected to the proposal and appealed the Council’s decision to grant a permit for the building due to the fire risks associated with the proposal. The Victorian Civil and…read more

Haughton v. Minister for Department of Planning & Others (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] NSWLEC 217
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to government approval of two coal-fired power plants
Current status: Decided

Ned Haughton challenged the approval granted by the Minister for Planning for two coal-fired power plants. The challenge was on the grounds that: (1) the Minister erroneously approved the plants on the basis that they were critical infrastructure projects; (2) the Minister had not fully considered the principles of ecologically sustainable development; and (3) the…read more

Hunter Environment Lobby Inc. v. Minister for Planning (New South Wales Court of Appeal, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] NSWLEC 221; [2012] NSWLEC 40
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to conditions imposed on approval of a coal mine
Current status: Decided

The case relates to the approval of diverse extensions of a coalmine, leading to an increase of annual production of up to 20 million tones of coal. The Hunter Environment Lobby objected to the proposal, notably on the ground that the extensions would have an important impact on climate change. Nevertheless, the project was approved…read more

Ironstone Community Action Group Inc. v. NSW Minister for Planning and Duralie Coal Pty. Ltd. (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] NSWLEC 195
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): To challenge the approval of an extension to an existing coal mine.
Current status: Decided

Plaintiff challenged the extension of an existing coal mine due to its negative effects on biodiversity, water quality, threatened species, and health. Specifically, the Giant Barred Frog, a threatened species, would be negatively impacted through habitat destruction and the mine’s direct contribution to climate change. The Australia state court re-approved the extension, but under the…read more

Kala Developments Pty. Ltd. v. Surf Coast Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010 & 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 2106; [2011] VCAT 513
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application to amend a coastal development permit to address the impacts of climate change
Current status: Decided

The Surf Coast Shire Council proposed to amend Kala Developments Pty Ltd’s coastal development permit to better suit the impacts of climate change. At the first mediation, both parties agreed that Kala Developments would complete a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment prior to further deliberation. The Tribunal held that in the principles of natural justice required…read more

Lester v. Minister for Planning and Infrastructure (Land and Environment Court New South Wales, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] NSWLEC 213
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge coal mining project
Current status: Decided

Applicant challenged the Planning Assessment Commission’s approval of a coal mining project on a number of grounds under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The applicant alleged that the Commission’s decision was unreasonable because it was based on erroneous calculations of greenhouse gas emissions submitted in the application. Finding that the application had no…read more

Millar v Department of Premier and Cabinet (General) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] VCAT 1230
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Access to government deliberations and communications regarding state and federal climate change policy
Current status: Decided

A journalist challenged the government of Victoria’s refusal to produce all of the documents responsive to his request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. The documents, dated from April to December 2009, all pertained to the Victorian government’s position on climate change issues and options for reconciling Victorian and federal climate policy. The Tribunal…read more

Able Lott Holdings Pty. Ltd. v. City of Fremantle (Western Australia State Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] WASAT 117
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to approve development of site despite potential flooding
Current status: Decided

This case concerned a development application for retrospective approval of partially completed alterations and additions to an historic warehouse building. One of the principal issues related to potential flooding and the decision is the first to apply the State Coastal Planning Policy anticipating a 0.38 meter increase in sea level due to climate change. The…read more

Alanvale Pty. Ltd. v. Southern Rural Water Authority (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 480
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application to overturn government decision to not grant license for groundwater extraction on basis of climate variability
Current status: Decided

Alanvale Pty Ltd challenged the Southern Rural Water Authority’s decision to deny licenses for groundwater extraction. The Tribunal held that the Southern Rural Water Authority’s claim that there was a risk in over-allocating the groundwater supply was substantiated by the possibility of rainfall being scarce as a result of climate change.…read more

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v. Global Green Plan Ltd. (Federal Court of Australia, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] FCA 1057
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Suit against corporation for misusing funds appropriated for renewable energy investment
Current status: Decided

Global Green Plan Ltd was paid by customers to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs). In December 2009, Global Green Plan acknowledged that it had not been using the money provided to it to purchase RECs, and pledged that it would make up the 4,137 missing RECs by March 2010. When it failed to do so,…read more

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v. Prime Carbon Pty. Ltd. (Federal Court of Australia, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [no citation available]
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Suit against corporation for false green advertising
Current status: Decided

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission challenged Prime Carbon Pty Ltd, a company that sells carbon credits, for falsely claiming that it was certified by the National Stock Exchange of Australia and that the National Environment Registry, a company through which Prime Carbon supplied some of its credits, was regulated by the Australian Government. The…read more

Bock v. Moyne SC (Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1905
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Approval of permit application without a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment (CHVA)
Current status: Decided

Applicant sought approval of a planning permit and challenged the local council’s request for a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment (CHVA) considering the impact of increased inundation or changing sea level conditions due to climate change prior to permit approval. The Australia state court found that the council must give the applicant opportunity to demonstrate why…read more

Cadzow Enterprises Pty. Ltd. v. Port Phillip City Council (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 634
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Relevance of sea level rise and flood risk to grant of planning permission for house construction
Current status: Decided

Residents challenged the County Council’s decision to permit construction of a two-story house near Port Phillip Bay. Though the residents did not make arguments related to climate change or flooding, the Tribunal did, sua sponte. Specifically, it sought information from the regional flood control authority, Melbourne Water, about changes to flood risk driven by sea…read more

Campbell & Others v. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1457
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge of approval of construction permit
Current status: Decided

Applicants challenged a redevelopment proposal because of failure to conduct a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment, among other concerns. While affirming the importance of taking a cautious approach to coastal vulnerability issues, an Australian state court found, based on expert testimony, that the proposal did not present any unreasonable coastal vulnerability issues. The court affirmed the…read more

Cooke v. Greater Geelong City Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 60
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application for city council to deny development in coastal area without climate change risk assessment
Current status: Decided

David Cooke and others challenged a coastal housing development approved by the Greeter Geelong City Council. Drawing upon Myers v. South Gippsland Shire Council (No 1) and Ronchi v. Wellington Shire Council, the Tribunal held that it would not approve developments without a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment even if the development was meritorious in all…read more

D’Abate v East Gippsland Shire Council & Others (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1320
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to develop in a floodplain
Current status: Decided

Mr. D’Abate challenged the Shire Council’s denial of his request for permission to build a new two-story dwelling. That denial was based on the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) finding that the new building would impermissibly intensify development in a floodplain. The Tribunal disagreed with the EGCMA’s assessment of the flood risk but upheld…read more

Edmond Golf Pty. Ltd. v. Frankston City Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1183
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Seeks approval of building permit
Current status: Decided

Applicant challenged the denial of a planning permit application to construct an apartment building in an Australian state court. The County’s planning scheme requires plans to take into account sea level rise and other coastal hazards associated with climate change. The court found that no assessment was necessary because the flood risks were low. Based…read more

Kennedy (on behalf of Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy) v. Minister for Planning (NSW) (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] NSWLEC 129
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to approval given by Minister for Planning for construction proposal on grounds that procedure did not follow Environmental Planning and Assessment Act
Current status: Decided

Roy “Dootch” Kennedy challenged the Minister for Planning’s approval of Stockland’s construction proposal. Kennedy objected to the Minister’s approval on four grounds under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act: (1) the approval for the proposal was outside the Minister’s power because Stockland had made donations to the Labor Party of which the Minister was a…read more

Paul v. Goulburn Murray Water Corporation & Others (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1755
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to a water license on the basis that the allocation was unsustainable, particularly with regard to future climate change impacts on water levels
Current status: Decided

This case concerned a challenge to a decision by a local water authority, the Goulburn Murray Water Corporation, in Victoria, Australia, to issue two licenses under the Water Act 1989 (Vic) allowing the extraction of groundwater for use in irrigation on farms. The two permits at issue allowed the extraction of 490 and 594 ML…read more

Peter Gray & Naomi Hodgson v. Macquarie Generation (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] NSWLEC 34
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Suit against power station for emission of carbon dioxide under its license
Current status: Decided

Environmental activists brought suit against a state-owned power company, seeking a declaratory judgment that one of their power stations had been emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in a manner that has harmed or is likely to harm the environment in contravention of § 115(1) of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. Defendant…read more

Printz v. Glenelg SC. (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1975
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application to review the failure of the Glenelg Shire Council to grant a permit.
Current status: Decided

This matter concerns an application to review the failure by Glenelg Shire Council (?the Council’) to grant a permit within the prescribed time for the construction of a dwelling. The Tribunal has received a number of statements of grounds from residents and others expressing concern about the visual impact of the dwelling; the impact upon…read more

Restall & Others v. Hobsons Bay City Council  (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1348
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to develop in an area subject to flood risk
Current status: Decided

Applicants seeking permission to develop four joined two-story units on a beachfront plot appealed the city council’s denial. The city council, following the suit, supplemented the list of reasons for rejecting permission with a statement of concern for climate change impacts on the site. When it considered issues of vulnerability to sea level rise, the…read more

Spencer v. Commonwealth (High Court of Australia, 2010); (Federal Court 2015) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] HCA 28
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Appeal of dismissal of challenge to statute restricting clearing of native vegetation on private property
Current status: Decision pending

The appellant challenged two state laws that prohibited him from clearing native vegetation on his property, arguing that the prohibition amounted to an unjust acquisition of his property interests, including his interests in carbon sequestration. The Federal Court of Australia summarily dismissed the appeal, finding that the appellant had no reasonable prospect of success because…read more

Suburban Blue Print Pty. Ltd. v. Hobsons Bay City Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1272
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Seeks approval of building permit
Current status: Decided

Applicant challenged the denial of a construction permit for two dwellings in part because of vulnerability to inundation due to climate change and storm surges. The Australian state court granted the permit, reasoning that the proposed dwelling’s “almost-appropriate” raised floor level was acceptable given the fact that a large number of homes in the community…read more

Taip v. East Gippsland Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1222
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application for city council to deny development in coastal area without climate change risk assessment
Current status: Decided

L. Taip challenged a housing development approved by the East Gippsland Shire Council on the grounds that it was not sufficiently planned to be resistant to climate change impacts. The Council argued that climate change impacts had been taken into consideration by proposing to raise the level of the development above the projected flood and…read more

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority v. East Gippsland Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] VCAT 1334
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to planning permit
Current status: Decided

An Australia state court overturned approval for a planning permit primarily because it did not meet vehicle access requirements. The court also determined that the permit could not be granted because the proposal did not take into account increased flooding risks due to climate change. The court found that had the proposal met other requirements,…read more

Aldous v. Greater Taree City Council and Another (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] NCWELC 17
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to city council decision granting development on beachfront property
Current status: Decided

An Australian court upheld approval of a development application by a city council for a dwelling on a beachfront property. Applicant land owner argued, inter alia, that the Council had failed to take into account the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD), specifically the principles of intergenerational equity and the precautionary principles by failing to…read more

Bernhard Seifert v. Colac-Otway Shire Council (Victoria Civil and Administrative Court, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 1453
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Proposed amendment to a building permit
Current status: Decided

An Australia state court approved a permit for the subdivision on land subject to condition that the owner demonstrate how the development will deal with and minimize flood risks to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority prior commencing development. The approval was based on two expert reports pertaining to effects of sea level rise due…read more

Byron Shire Council v. Vaughan; Vaughan v. Byron Shire Council (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] NSWLEC 110
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application for injunction to prevent the building of a coastal wall
Current status: Decided

After strong storms and increased coastal erosion, John and Anne Vaughan attempted to rebuild an interim sandbag wall that was previously approved by the city council in a 2001 development consent. The council sought an injunction from the court preventing the wall from being rebuilt, arguing that the council had a policy of planned retreat…read more

Myers v. South Gippsland Shire Council (No 2) (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 1022; [2009] VCAT 2414
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application for city council to reject coastal residential development plan based on negative climate change risk assessment
Current status: Decided

Subsequent to the submission of the coastal hazard vulnerability assessment required by the Tribunal in Myers v. South Gippsland Shire Council (No 1), which revealed that the proposed coastal residential lot would be inundated by flooding and storm surges by 2100, the Tribunal concluded that permission could not be granted for the proposal without a…read more

Owen v Casey City Council (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 1946 ; [2010] VCAT 522
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to develop in a floodplain
Current status: Decided

The city council refused a couple sought permission to build two dwelling units, one single-story and the other two stories, near the coast in a designated flood zone (“Land Subject to Inundation Overlay”). Melbourne Water, the regional flood manager, had indicated that it did not object to the project, provided the ground floor was elevated…read more

Owen v. Casey City Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 1946
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application for city council to deny development in coastal area without climate change risk assessment
Current status: Decided

The Tribunal was asked to consider whether a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment was required before a development was approved by the Casey City Council. Drawing upon Ronchi v. Wellington Shire Council, the Tribunal held that the assessment was required.…read more

Rivers SOS Inc. v. Minister of Planning (Land and Environment Court, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] NSWELC 213
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to the Minister’s decision approving a coal mine expansion
Current status: Decided

In June 2009, New South Wales Planning Minister approved a $50 million expansion of the Metropolitan coal mine, allowing longwall mining to take place underneath the Woronora Reservoir. The Minister approved a substantially revised version of the project at a late stage in the assessment process, without providing any further opportunities for public participation and…read more

Ronchi v. Wellington Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 1206
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Application for city council to deny development in coastal area without climate change risk assessment
Current status: Decided

The Tribunal held that the proposed construction of two double-story dwellings in a coastal area placed too great an onus on the developers to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Drawing upon the decision in Myers v. South Gippsland Shire Council (No 1), the Tribunal held that the applicant should instead prepare a coastal…read more

Russell & Others v. Surf Coast Shire Council & Anor (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 1324
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to develop windfarm despite its adverse local impacts
Current status: Decided

Several dozen local residents challenged approval of a wind farm on various grounds—procedural, noise-related, related to cultural heritage, and others. The Tribunal considered each and ultimately rejected them, concluding that the public’s interest in various features of the landscape where the turbines would be sited was outweighed by the turbines’ contribution to the country’s supply…read more

S J Connelly v. Byron Shire Council (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] NSWLEC 1068; [2009] NSWLEC 1242
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenged the denial of a planning permit due to flood risks
Current status: Decided

The applicant challenged the denial of a permit for the construction of a residential development due to flood risks. In refusing the permit, the local council cited climate change considerations as one of the issues contributing to the risk of flooding. Due to the uncertainty of climate change impacts, the court found it appropriate to…read more

Tauschke v. East Gippsland Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal VCAT 2231) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 2177
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to construction permit provision
Current status: Decided

Tauschke sought review in an Australian state court of a residential building permit that denied him the right to build on his coastal property because of sea level requirements and coastal hazard management considerations regarding coastal impacts of climate change. Based on expert testimony, the court found that the land could be developed in a…read more

W & B Cabinets v. Casey City Council (Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 1453
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Sought construction permit
Current status: Decided

Applicant land developer challenged the local council’s requirement that it conduct a full coastal hazard vulnerability assessment (CHVA) prior to approval of a planning permit in an Australia state court. Where a local water agency had advised that the development would be acceptable as long as floor levels were designed taking into account sea level…read more

Wade v. Warrnambool City Council & Anor (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] VCAT 2177
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to planning permit
Current status: Decided

Applicant challenged the issuance of a planning permit for a new dwelling near wetlands in an Australian state court. The court upheld the challenge stating that there had been insufficient consideration of flooding due to sea level rise; therefore, the permit was inconsistent with the local planning scheme.…read more

Anvil Hill Project Watch Association v. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (Federal Court of Australia, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] FCAFC 3
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to government approval of an of an open coal mine
Current status: Decided

Under section 75(1) of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the Commonwealth Minister is to assess if a proposed action is a “controlled action.” The Anvil Hill Project Watch Association challenged the decision by the Minister that the proposed construction of an open coal mine was not a “controlled action.” The court ruled that…read more

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v. De Longhi Australia Pty. Ltd. (2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [no citation available]
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to corporation for false green advertising
Current status: Decided

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission challenged De Longhi Australia Pty Ltd for falsely claiming that the refrigerant gas R290 used in its portable air conditioners was “environmentally friendly.” De Longhi provided a court-enforceable undertaking that it would modify its advertising to avoid unqualified claims.…read more

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v. GM Holden Ltd (Federal Court of Australia, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] FCA 1428
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Suit against corporation for false green advertising
Current status: Decided

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed a suit against GM Holden Ltd for wrongly advertising that Saab vehicles provided “carbon neutral motoring.” GM Holden had claimed that Saab would plant 17 native trees for every Saab vehicle purchased to offset the carbon emissions. ACCC filed its claim on the basis that GM Holden…read more

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v. Goodyear Tyres (2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [no citation available]
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to corporation for false green advertising
Current status: Decided

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) challenged Goodyear Tyres for falsely labeling its LS200 tyres as “environmentally-friendly” because its production process emitted less carbon dioxide and its new BioTRED technology increased the life of the tyre and improved fuel economy. ACCC charged that Goodyear Tyres was misleading consumers about the environmental benefits of its…read more

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v. V8 Supercars Australia Pty. Ltd. (2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [no citation available]
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to corporation for false green advertising
Current status: Decided

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) challenged V8 Supercars Australia Pty Ltd for being misleading in its Racing Green Program’s claim that it was offsetting carbon emissions from its V8 Championship Emissions by planting 10,000 native trees. The ACCC contended that the claim was ambiguous because it failed to state over what time span…read more

Blue Wedges Inc. v. Minister for Environment, Heritage & the Arts (Federal Court of Australia, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] FCR 399
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to approval given by Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts to deepen shipping channels on grounds that procedure had not been followed as outlined by EPBC Act
Current status: Decided

Blue Wedges Inc challenged the decision made by the Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts to approve the Port of Melbourne Corporation’s proposal to deepen the shipping channels in Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River. Blue Wedges objected to the Minister’s process of approval on three grounds: (1) the Minister had not taken…read more

Charles & Howard Pty. Ltd. v. Redland Shire Council (Queensland Supreme Court 2007) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] QCA 200
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to city council’s decision limiting development in a flood zone
Current status: Decided

The owner of property located on Australia's northwest coast wanted to build a dwelling close to the water but was refused by the local council, which prohibited such construction in locations at risk for flooding. The property owner appealed that refusal to the Queensland Planning and Environment Court, which upheld the council's decision and also…read more

David Kettle Consulting v. Gosford City Council (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] NSWLEC 1385
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge of permit conditions for water extraction
Current status: Decided

Coca-Cola Amatil (Aust) appealed the conditions placed on a permit for water extraction at a water bottling plant, which restricted the rate of extraction and total extraction levels. The court granted the permit without the conditions through 2011. Taking into account the impacts of climate change on rainfall, the court suggested that the extraction rates…read more

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Fraser and O’Donnell (Supreme Court of New South Wales, Common Law Division, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] NSWSC 244
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Criminal suit against protestors for causing damage to property
Current status: Decided

On 24 September 2007, two environmental activists associated with Greenpeace trespassed into a coal loader owned by Port Waratah Coal Services and halted the operation of the conveyor belt for almost two hours at a cost of approximately $27,000. Police arrested and charged the activists for “maliciously damaging property” under section 195 (1) of the…read more

Gippsland Coastal Board v. South Gippsland Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] VCAT 1545
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to local council grant of residential development consent
Current status: Decided

An Australian tribunal overturned a local council decision granting consent for residential developments in a coastal region. A regional coastal board, set up under the Victorian Coastal Management Act 1995, challenged the council decision, arguing that the proposed developments were inappropriate in light of projected sea level rises as a result of climate change. The…read more

Ground Crew at Turramurra v. Ku-ring-gai Council (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] NSWLEC 86
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Appeal of denial of a planning permit due to risk of fire
Current status: Decided

Applicant appealed the denial of a permit for a residential development due to risk of fire. In denying the permit, the local council cited climate change as one of the five issues contributing to the risk of fire. In dismissing the appeal, the court reported that it did not weigh increased risks of fire due…read more

Minister for Planning v. Walker (Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] 161 LGERA 423; [2008] NSWCA 334
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Appeal of lower court rejection of state agency approval of a residential development project
Current status: Decided

The Minister for Planning approved a residential development project, and the respondent challenged the approval in the Land and Environment Court. The lower court found that the Minister erred in failure to apply ecologically sustainable development (ESD) principals when approving the project. The court held that the agency had an obligation under the Environmental Planning…read more

Northcape Properties v. District Council of Yorke Peninsula (South Australian Supreme court, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] SASC 57
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to local council decision to refuse development consent
Current status: Decided

The South Australian Supreme Court upheld local council decision to refuse development consent on the basis of unacceptable climate change risks to the proposed development. The court found the proposed development in violation of the goals and objectives of the council’s Development Plan, and that hazardous sea level rise over the next 100 years due…read more

RES Southern Cross v. Minister for Planning (New South Wales Land and Environment Court, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] NSWELC 1333
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge permit approval to allow modification of proposed wind farm
Current status: Decided

After an initial challenge to development of a windfarm was rejected in Taralga Landscape Guardians Inc v Minister for Planning and RES Southern Cross Pty Ltd, [2007] 161 LGERA 1, a number of individuals and a community association objected to RES Southern Cross’s application to modify a proposed wind farm by raising turbines and installing…read more

Your Water Your Say Inc. v. Minister for the Environment, Heritage & the Arts (Federal Court of Australia, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] FCA 670
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to federal agency decision to exclude certain environmental assessments in approving a desalination plant proposal
Current status: Decided

An Australian federal court upheld a federal agency decision to exclude certain environmental assessments in approving a desalination plant proposal. A community organization asserted that the agency failed to consider linkages between additional GHG emissions and potential adverse impacts on matters protected by the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The federal…read more

Drake-Brockman v. Minister for Planning (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] NSWLEC 490
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to state agency decision approving a concept plan for a mixed-use development project
Current status: Decided

An Australian state court upheld a state agency decision to approve a concept plan for a mixed-use development project. Applicant challenged the agency decision on three grounds, including the agency's failure to consider ecologically sustainable development (ESD) principles in approving the concept plan under the Envrionmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The court held that…read more

In re Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty. Ltd. & Others (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] QLRT 33
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Relevance of Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions to permission to develop new coal mine
Current status: Decided

Environmental advocates argued that permission for a new coal mine should be conditional on that mine offsetting 100% of its expected Scope 3 GHG emissions. The Tribunal rejected this argument after raising questions about the validity of the Stern Review and the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change.…read more

McCulloch v. Bass Coast Shire Council (Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] VCAT 363
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge construction permit for levees.
Current status: Decided

Applicants challenged a permit in Australia state court for the development of levees and bunds to protect the coastal area from sea level rise. The applicants asserted that the proposal (1) would not benefit the public because the levees were being built to satisfy a condition to a permit for a proposed retirement village development;…read more

Pepperwood Ridge Pty. Ltd. v. Newcastle City Council (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2013) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] NSWLEC 1046
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Appeal the refusal of planning permit to construct senior living facility due to siting
Current status: Decided

The Australian state court upheld an appeal against the refusal of a permit to construct a senior living facility. The local council denied the permit on the grounds that the proposed facility did not comply with the climate change principles designated in local planning documents because it was not sited in the northerly direction. The…read more

Perry v. Hepburn Shire Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] VCAT 1309
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to council approval of a community owned wind farm
Current status: Decided

An Australian tribunal approved a proposal for a community owned wind farm. Among other grounds, local residents challenged that the wind energy generated from the project would not produce sufficient greenhouse gas benefits to justify the negative visual, environmental and amenity impacts of the turbines. The tribunal held that the proposal adequately considered the benefits…read more

Queensland Conservation Council Inc. v. Xstrata Coal (Queensland Court of Appeal, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] QCA 338
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to tribunal decision granting extension of a mining lease
Current status: Decided

An Australian state court reversed a lower tribunal’s decision, which granted an extension to Xstrata’s mining lease and denied Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) the ability to amend the conditions of the extension. The tribunal, concluding that the causal link between the mine’s greenhouse gas emissions and harms caused by global warming is an assumption, relied…read more

Synergy Wind Pty. Ltd. v. Wellington Shire Council (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] VCAT 2454
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to develop windfarm despite adverse local impacts
Current status: Decided

A windfarm developer that had sought permission to install 9 turbines, each with a nameplate capacity of 2MW, sought judicial review of the Wellington Shire Council’s rejection of that request. Grounds for rejection had included noise and the turbines’ “amenity impacts” on the area. The court, after examining a host of aspects of the revised…read more

Taralga Landscape Guardians Inc. v. Minister for Planning (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] 161 LGERA 1
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to wind farm proposal
Current status: Decided

An Australian state court upheld a proposal for a wind farm, noting that the overall public benefits outweighed any private burdens. A community organization challenged the proposal, citing negative impacts on their village and the surrounding countryside. The court held that the concept of ecologically sustainable development, specifically intergenerational equity, is central to any decision-making…read more

Gray v. Minister for Planning (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2006) (Opened in 2006 )

Citation/reference number: [2006] NSWLEC 720
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to the adequacy of an environmental impact statement prepared for a large coal mine
Current status: Decided

An Australian federal court rejected an environmental impact assessment (EIA) prepared as part of a development approval process for a large open-cut coal mine at Anvil Hill. Coal from the proposed mine is destined for use in coal-fired power stations in Australia and overseas. The proponents of the project failed to consider the potential greenhouse…read more

Thornton v. Adelaide Hill Council (Environment, Resources and Development Court of South Australia, 2006) (Opened in 2006 )

Citation/reference number: [2006] 151 LGERA 1
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to state council decision granting development consent for a coal-fired boiler
Current status: Decided

An Australian state court upheld a council decision to grant Provisional Development Plan consent to a shed that would house a four megawatt capacity coal-fired boiler. Local landowners challenged the council’s decision, asserting that the boiler will have detrimental impacts on the local environment by, among other grounds, releasing greenhouse gases. The court found no…read more

Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Proserpine/Whitsundry Branch Inc. v. Minister for the Environment & Heritage (Federal Court of Australia, 2006) (Opened in 2006 )

Citation/reference number: [2006] FCA 736
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to federal agency failure to require an environmental impact assessment for a coal mine proposal
Current status: Decided

An Australian federal court upheld a federal agency decision to not require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a coal mine proposal under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Environmental groups argued that the burning of coal harvested from the mines would contribute to global warming, which could have substantial adverse…read more

Petition To The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Seeking Relief From Violations Resulting from Global Warming Caused By Acts and Omissions of the United States (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2005) (Opened in 2005 )

Citation/reference number: [no citation available]
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Petition to the Commission seeking relief from human rights violations resulting from global warming caused by acts and omissions of the United States
Current status: Decided

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuk woman and Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference filed a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking relief from human rights violations resulting from the impacts of climate change caused by acts and omissions of the United States. Petitioner requests the Commission to recommend that the United States adopt…read more

Terminals Pty. Ltd. v. Greater Geelong City Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2005) (Opened in 2005 )

Citation/reference number: [2005] VCAT 1988
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to proposed alterations to an existing chemical storage facility
Current status: Decided

Local residents challenged a permit application for alterations and additions to an existing chemical storage facility expressing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions among other issues, such as net community benefits, chronic health impacts, and design and monitoring. Finding the concerns unwarranted, the Australian state court denied the challenge. With respect to greenhouse gas emissions, the…read more

Phosphate Resources Ltd v. The Commonwealth (Federal Court of Australia, 2004) (Opened in 2004 )

Citation/reference number: [2004] FCA 211
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to Administrator of Christmas Island's determination of new electricity fees
Current status: Decided

An Australian federal court upheld a Determination by the Administrator of Christmas Island setting the fees chargeable for use of electricity on the Island. Phosphate Resources, a major user of electricity on the Island challenged one of the purposes of the Determination – compelling large users of electricity such as Phosphate to examine alternative options…read more

Re Australian Conservation Foundation v. Latrobe City Council (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 2004) (Opened in 2004 )

Citation/reference number: [2004] 140 LGERA 100
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to governmental panel refusal to consider the greenhouse gas impacts of burning coal
Current status: Decided

An Australian tribunal overturned the decision of a government panel which refused to consider the greenhouse gas impacts of burning coal. The Hazelwood coal-fired power station is one of the largest in the state of Victoria and a significant contributor to the State’s GHG emissions. A government panel set up under the Victorian Planning and…read more

Thackeray v. Shire of South Gippsland  (Opened in 2001 )

Citation/reference number: [2001] VCAT 922
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Permission to develop windfarm despite adverse local impacts
Current status: Decided

Local residents challenged the grant of permission to develop a 12-turbine windfarm on various grounds, ranging from visual flicker to the interaction of residual electromagnetic waves with radio and microwaves. The Tribunal considered evidence about each, including expert testimony on several issues, before determining that the grant of permission should be upheld. As the Tribunal…read more

Greenpeace Australia Ltd v. Redbank Power Co. (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 1994) (Opened in 1994 )

Citation/reference number: [1994] 86 LGERA 143
Jurisdiction: Australia
Core objective(s): Challenge to state council decision granting development consent for a power station
Current status: Decided

An Australian state court upheld a state council decision granting development consent for the construction of a power station. Greenpeace asserted that air emissions from the power station would exacerbate the greenhouse effect. Applying the precautionary principle, Greenpeace argued that the court should refuse development consent for the project. The court held that although application…read more

Emissions More information

Rank as emitter (including LULUCF):
11-20
GHG Emissions 2007-2011 (MtCO2e)
Country-reported GHG emissions (incl. LULUCF) (MTCO2):558.81 (reporting year: 2012 )
Country-reported GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) (MTCO2):543.65 (reporting year: 2012 )

Information More information

GHG inventory:1990, 2000, 2012
Climate risk assessment:Climate Change Risks to Australia's Coasts, 2009

Targets

Economy wide targets - Up to (and including) 2020

Source:
    Economy-wide targets - Beyond 2020

    GHG emissions reduction 26-28% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

    Source:
    • Country's iNDC
    Targets - Energy demand

    None

    Targets - LULUCF

    None

    Targets - Renewables

    Generate 41,000GWh of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, excluding 850GWh per year from 2013 to 2020 for waste coal mine gas

    Source:
    • 1039
    Targets- Transport

    None

    Policies

    GHG Mitigation framework More information

    Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill (2014)

    Source:
    Adaptation framework More information

    National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy

    Source:
    Policies - Carbon pricing

    Issuance of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) in relation to eligible offsets projects

    Source:
    Policies - Promotion of low-carbon energy (inc. renewables)

    Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment into clean energy technology

    Source:
    Policies - Energy demand

    Greenhouse and energy minimum standards

    Source:
    Policies - Transport

    None

    Policies - LULUCF

    GHG abatement projects in the land sector

    Source:

    The Australian parliamentary system is based on the UK’s Westminster system. The Federal Parliament is bicameral, consisting of the House of Representatives (the Lower House), and the Senate (the Upper House). The Senate is composed of equal numbers of representatives from all six Australian states, with additional Senators representing Australian Terri­tories (76 in total). Senators are elected for six-year terms. In the House of Representatives, the number of members of parliament per state is proportional to population (currently 150 members). Members are elected for three-year terms. The most recent election was in July 2016 with the next expected in 2019. Australia retains the Sovereign of the United Kingdom as its head of state. All laws are formally enacted by the Sovereign (Royal Assent) as a formality after passage through Parliament.

    Proposed laws are called bills, and can be introduced into either House, except for bills that propose expenditure or tax levies (appropriation or money bills), which must be introduced in the House of Representatives. In practice, most bills are introduced in the House of Representatives. All bills must be passed (by a series of three readings) by both Houses to become law (Acts). It is possible for the Senate to block the passage of legislation even when the gov­ernment has a clear majority in the House of Representatives. In the case of parliamentary deadlock, the constitution allows the Governor-General (the Sovereign’s representative) to authorise a “double dissolution” election under specific circumstances, at the request of the Prime Minister.

    Australia operates under a Federal system of government, with six states (formerly separate colonies) and two territories with considerable autonomy, defined areas of jurisdictional responsibility under the Constitution and separate Parliaments. This chapter covers only those laws and policies that are enacted nationwide.

    Australian Government (2016). Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. Federal Register of Legislation. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00624. Accessed 20 July 2016.

    Australian Government (2016). Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010. [http://cbd.gov.au/news-events/changes-to-the-tenancy-lighting-assessment-rules]. Accessed 10 September 2016.

    Australian Government, 2015. National Energy Productivity Plan 2015–2030.Boosting competitiveness, managing costs and reducing emissions. [http://www.coagenergycouncil.gov.au/sites/prod.energycouncil/files/publications/documents/National%20Energy%20Productivity%20Plan%20release%20version%20FINAL_0.pdf. Accessed 10 February 2016.

    Australian Government, 2015. Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Act 2015. [https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2015A00090]. Accessed 10 February 2016.

    Australian Government, 2011. ComLaw website: Commonwealth of Australia [http://www.comlaw.gov.au/]. Accessed 27 September 2012.

    Australian Government, 2011. Securing a Clean Energy Future: The Australian Government’s Climate Change Plan. http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2012/ph240/aslani2/docs/CleanEnergyPlan-20120628-3.pdf

    Australian Government, Clean Energy Regulator, 2012. Renewable Energy Targets [http://ret. cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/For-Industry/Liable-Entities/Renewable-Power-Percentage/rpp]. Accessed 27 September 2012.

    Australian Government Department of Agriculture, 1992. National Forest Policy Statement [http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/forestry/australias-forest-policies/nat_nfps.pdf]. Accessed 30 September 2014.

    Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2011. A–Z of Government Programs and Initiatives [http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/
    government/initiatives.aspx]. Accessed 14 October 2011.

    Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2011. Carbon Farming Initiative: Preliminary Estimates of Abatement, Discussion Paper, April 2011 [http://www.climatechange.gov.au/~/media/publications/carbon-farming-initative/CFI-Preliminary-estimates-of-abatement.pdf]. Accessed 17 October 2011.

    Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2012. Adapting to Climate Change [http://www.climatechange.gov.au/government/adapt.aspx]. Accessed 12 September 2012.

    Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2012. Clean Energy Legislation [http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/clean-energy-future/ legislation.aspx]. Accessed 12 September 2012.

    Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2012. Energy Saving Initiative [http://www.climatechange.gov.au/government/initiatives/energy-savings-initiative.aspx]. Accessed 12 September 2012.

    Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2012. Securing a Clean Energy Future: Implementing the Australian Government’s Climate Change Plan. Statement by the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 8 May 2012 [http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/166372979?selectedversion=NBD49133088]. Accessed 12 September 2012.

    Australian Government Department of the Environment, 2007. National Climate Change Adaptation Framework [http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/eaaf0350-9781-4006-957c-a5801fadc466/files/nccaf.pdf]. Accessed 27 October 2014.

    Australian Government Department of the Environment, 2009. National Coastal Risk Assessment [http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/adaptation/australias-coasts/national-coastal-risk-assessment]. Accessed 23 March 2015.

    Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2010. Annual Report 2009–10, Commonwealth of Australia [http://www.environment.gov.au/about/publications/annual-report/09-10/index.html]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011. Light Vehicle CO2 Emission Standards for Australia: Key Issues – Discussion Paper – 2011, Commonwealth of Australia [http://www.aie.org.au/AIE/Documents/Light_Vehicle_CO2_Standards_Discussion_Paper.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, 2011. Energy in Australia 2011. Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), Canberra [https://industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/Documents/energy-in-aust/energy-in-australia-2012.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2011. Australian Government response to the Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Commonwealth of Australia, June 2011 [http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/605a54df-7b33-4426-a5a8-51de24b29c71/files/epbc-review-govt-response.pdf]. Accessed 12 September 2012.

    Australia Indonesia Partnership, 2009. Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership Design Document . Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Bureau of Energy Economics 2013, Australian Energy Statistics, Table O [http://www.bree.gov.au/publications/aes-2013.html]. Accessed 3 January 2014.

    Clayton Utz, 2011. Carbon Farming Initiative Bills Passed; Now to Get Ready for Them. 24 August 2011 [https://www.claytonutz.com/knowledge/2011/august/carbon-farming-initiative-bills-passed-now-to-get-ready-for-them]. Accessed 17 October 2011.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 1989. Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989. Act no. 7, 1989.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2000. Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. Act no. 174, 2000.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2000. Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Large-scale Generation Shortfall Charge) Act 2000. Act no. 129, 2000.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2006. Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006. Act no. 14, 2006.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2007. National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007. Act no. 175, 2007.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2010. Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Small-scale Technology Shortfall Charge). Act 2010. Act no. 71, 2010.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2011. Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Act 2011. Act No. 99, 2011.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2011. Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011. Act No. 101, 2011.

    Commonwealth of Australia, 2011. Carbon Credits (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011. Act No. 102, 2011.

    Council of Australian Governments, 2010. National Strategy on Energy Efficiency [https://www.gbca.org.au/uploads/56/2360/Energy_efficiency_measures_table.pdf]. Accessed 22 September 2014.

    CSIRO, n.d. Australia’s National Carbon Accounting System Leads the World. CSIRO website [http://www.csiro.au/partnerships/NCASpartnership.html]. Accessed 19 October 2011.

    Garnaut, R., 2011. The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia in the Global Response to Climate Change. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press [http://www.garnautreview.org.au/update-2011/garnaut-review-2011/garnaut-review-2011.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Garnaut, R., 2008. The Garnaut Climate Change Review. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

    Hamilton, C., and L. Velllen, 1999. Land-use Change in Australia and the Kyoto Protocol. Environmental Science and Policy 2:145-52.

    Hawke, A., 2009. The Australian Environment Act: Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Commonwealth of Australia, October 2009 [http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/5f3fdad6-30ba-48f7-ab17-c99e8bcc8d78/files/final-report.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    House of Representatives, 2011. Clean Energy Bill 2011. Bill Presented to the House of Representatives for the First Reading on 13 September 2011.

    Liverman, D.M., 2008. Conventions of Climate Change: Constructions of Danger and the Dispossession of the Atmosphere. Journal of Historical Geography 35:279-96.

    Ministry of Industry, 2015. National Energy Productivity Plan to benefit all. [http://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/frydenberg/media-releases/national-energy-productivity-plan-benefit-all]. Accessed on 10 February 2016.

    Nielson, L., Styles, J., Talberg, A. and Tomaras, J., 2009. Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 – Bills Digest. Bill no. 165, 2008-09. Parliamentary Library, Parliament of Australia, 15 June 2009 [http://www.aph.gov.au/binaries/library/pubs/bd/2008-09/09bd165.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, 2011. Increasing Australia’s Renewable Electricity Genera­tion, Commonwealth of Australia, April 2011 [http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/DocumentAssets/Documents/Administrative%20Report%202010.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011. Clean Energy Bill 2011 – Explanatory Memorandum. Circulated by the Authority of the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Honourable Greg Combet AM MP.

    Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011. Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Bill 2011 [Provisions]. Report of the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee. Common­wealth of Australia, May 2011, Victoria State Government – Review of the Climate Change Act 2010 [https://www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/55306/Independent-Review-of-the-Climate-Change-Act-2010.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Minister Ryan Smith, 2011. Media Release 22 October 2011: Minister Announces Details of the Review of the Climate Change Act [http://www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/126836/Climate-Change-Act-media-release.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Victoria State Government, 2012. Victorian Government Response to the Climate Change Act Review, March 2012 [http://www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/136486/CCAREV-Report_online.pdf]. Accessed 15 December 2012.

    Last modified 21 August, 2017