Climate Change Law

Subject LAWS70293 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 08-Apr-2015
Teaching Period 06-May-2015 to 12-May-2015
Assessment Period End 29-Jul-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Apr-2015
Census Date 06-May-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 19-Jun-2015

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:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
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: None
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 and critique 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 to 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:


Assoc Prof Margaret Young


For more information:

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Climate change is a pressing environmental, economic and social problem. 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 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 and practitioners in climate change law and governance in the international and domestic law spheres.

Principal topics 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 direct action plans, 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, eg World Heritage
  • The schemes for reducing emissions from avoided deforestation and degradation (REDD).
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the scientific basis of global warming and its impacts in an ecological, social and economic context
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess 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
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding federal and state legislative responses to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including the emissions trading scheme, associated market measures, direct action and energy-related measures such as mandatory renewable energy targets
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the trade law implications of climate change governance
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse the various legislative and regulatory mitigation and adaptation measures at federal and state level
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding domestic and international regimes focussing on or relating to climate change
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of climate change law.
  • In-class presentation and 1,000–1,500 word written presentation (25%) (27 May)
  • 7,500 word research paper (75%) (29 July) 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. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change
Climate Change
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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