What would an emergency all-of-government climate change law look like?
Most people concerned about climate change agree that we need to phase out our reliance on fossil fuels.
But how quickly can we do this and what is the best way to bring this transition about? Are ambitious government targets for renewable energy sufficient? What role should market-based incentives play?
Or is the severity of the threat from climate change now so imminent and so great that voluntary commitments and pricing incentives are no longer adequate?
And if we are at the stage of needing an emergency all-of-government response, what would that look like?
Environmental Justice Australia has been working on a new, innovative project that seeks to create a new discourse around the laws required for urgent climate change action.
Our brief — from project proponent Philip Sutton of the Research, Strategy and Transition Initiative — was to draft a model Act that demonstrates how a state government in Australia could lead the way and urgently transition its economy to one that supports a safer climate.
The model Act seeks to prevent new or replacement economic activity that is likely to have adverse impacts on the climate and sets up an administrative and governance framework that is robust and sufficiently adaptive to rapidly transition all supply chains that are linked to the main drivers of demand for fossil fuels.
Earlier this month, EJA hosted a thought-provoking workshop examining the draft model Act that we have created. We are incredibly grateful to our distinguished colleagues who are experts in the field of legislative drafting, governance and environmental law academia, for participating in this workshop and for the feedback they provided.
We are continuing to work with the project proponent to refine the model Act and to develop what we see could be the first major step towards a new paradigm of legislative climate action.