Climate Change Law

Subject LAWS70293 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

June, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:

Subject Overview:

Currently there is no more pressing environmental, economic and social problem than that of climate change. Global warming is predicted to have wide-ranging impacts, and it presents enormous challenges for conventional models of law and socio-economic governance due to its pervasive character, long-term effects and the need for dynamic change in many of the fundamental areas of Australian life. This subject examines the challenges for law in driving that change from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to federal and state legislative responses to mitigation and adaptation, through to local effects on indigenous peoples. The lecturers are active researchers in climate change law and governance in the international and domestic law spheres. Among other research, they have Australian Research Council projects around climate change governance that provides cutting-edge research to inform teaching within the subject.

The subject provides an overview of climate change law and regulation at an international, national and local level. This is supplemented by more detailed examination of specific topics, such as the Multilateral UNFCCC frameworks, and Australian federal policy and law responses, such as carbon pricing mechanisms and adaptation responses.

Principal topics will include:

  • The scientific basis for global warming and physical impacts of climate change
  • Social and cultural impacts and legal responses, such as human rights protection
  • The international legal framework, including the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol and associated international instruments
  • The federal legislative framework for climate change mitigation and adaptation, including market mechanisms and carbon trading
  • State-based legislative and regulatory responses to climate change
  • The nature of climate change litigation
  • Bio-sequestration and carbon capture and storage
  • Climate change regulation and its impact on corporate entities
  • The role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in climate change governance
  • The interaction of climate change regimes with other international law frameworks, e.g. world heritage
  • The schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand the scientific basis of global warming and its impacts in an ecological, social and economic context
  • Understand the international, regional and local factors that produce climate change
  • Understand the international legal framework governing climate change issues and likely future trends, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and associated international instruments
  • Understand federal and state legislative responses to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including the emissions trading scheme, associated market measures and energy-related measures such as mandatory renewable energy targets
  • Understand the trade law implications of climate change governance
  • Be able to critically evaluate the various legislative and regulatory mitigation and adaptation measures at federal and state level.

In-class presentation and 1,000–1,500 word written presentation (25%) (28 June)

7,500 word research paper (75%) (20 August) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change

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