Anita Foerster and Jacqueline Peel write in The Conversation (16.8.17) that a new lawsuit against the Commonwealth Bank puts climate change in a new legal light: a financial hazard. According to the authors, the case opens up fresh lines of attack on institutions that contribute to climate change.
‘The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been in the headlines lately for all the wrong reasons. Beyond money-laundering allegations and the announcement that CEO Ian Narev will retire early, the CBA is now also being sued in the Australian Federal Court for misleading shareholders over the risks climate change poses to their business interests.
‘This case is the first in the world to pursue a bank over failing to report climate change risks. However, it’s building on a trend of similar actions against energy companies in the United States and United Kingdom.
‘The CBA case was filed on August 8, 2017 by advocacy group Environmental Justice Australia on behalf of two longstanding Commonwealth Bank shareholders. The case argues that climate change creates material financial risks to the bank, its business and customers, and they failed in their duty to disclose those risks to investors.
‘This represents an important shift. Conventionally, climate change has been treated by reporting companies merely as a matter of corporate social responsibility; now it’s affecting the financial bottom line.’
In a landmark judgment, the Federal Court found the environment minister has a duty of care to young people
Laura Schuijers writes in The Conversation (27.5.21) about the landmark court ruling which described climate change as ‘the greatest inter-generational injustice ever inflicted by one generation of humans upon the next’.
‘This morning, the Australian Federal Court delivered a landmark judgement on climate change, marking an important moment in our history. The class action case was brought on behalf of all Australian children and teenagers, against Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
‘Their aim was to prevent Ley from possibly approving the Whitehaven coal mine extension project, near Gunnedah in New South Wales. They argued that approving this project would endanger their future because of climate hazards, including causing them injury, ill health or death, and economic losses.
‘The court dismissed the application to stop the minister from approving the extension. But that’s just the beginning.
‘Before making those orders, the court found a new duty it never has before: the environment minister owes a duty of care to Australia’s young people not to cause them physical harm in the form of personal injury from climate change.’