New South Wales Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean has today announced there will be no appeal of last month’s landmark court ruling which found the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has a duty to take serious action on greenhouse gas emissions, signalling a major change in climate policy for the state.
EDO’s case on behalf of client Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action argued that the EPA has a duty to develop policies, objectives and guidelines to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and protect NSW communities from the impacts of climate change.
Today, Mr Kean told ABC Radio National that the government would accept the decision of the court and do “everything necessary to give it full effect.”
EDO CEO David Morris says this is a welcome announcement and offered his congratulations to the Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action.
“This is heartening news for our clients and anyone who cares about our climate,” Mr Morris said.
“It’s equally positive news that the Minister has indicated that they will be working very hard to ensure the EPA does have the required policies, objectives and guidelines to protect the NSW environment and community from the impacts of climate change.
“This case has changed the rulebook in NSW. Our laws set what community expectations are, and this ruling clarifies that our EPA has a duty to protect us all.
“Our clients took action because we’re not responding fast enough to this issue, and now through climate litigation, they’ve achieved a fundamental change in the NSW system.
“This is a strong response by the Minister and an influential decision for other states and territories, as well as federally. NSW is the most populous state with one of the largest domestic emissions profiles. Lawyers around the country will now be scrutinizing the frameworks of their EPA.
“There is now a suite of options available to the EPA on how to use its existing powers to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. EDO has prepared a policy paper outlining our recommendations to the NSW EPA.
“When you understand the urgency of climate change, this outcome gives you hope that faster emission reductions are possible, and can be led by communities through climate litigation.
“This is a case that has achieved a big impact on the system. This is an example of why we believe in the power of the law, to create systemic change and tangible outcomes.
“Climate change is the greatest risk to the NSW environment and community, and we know every degree of warming averted is suffering averted. Today we celebrate a win for NSW and its climate future.”
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