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Climate Changing the World

Cover Story

Cite as: (2008) 82(6) LIJ, p. 37

By Karen Cheng

A famous frog called Kermit once lamented that it’s not easy being green. However, he also reflected that green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree. When considering the broad and topical issue of climate change, Kermit’s musings seem wise, and even visionary.

Climate change considerations are fuelling the growth of environmental law. This in turn is triggering development in many other areas of law and industry, such as competition law, construction, insurance, intellectual property law and taxation. It is clear that there are numerous opportunities for lawyers as these areas emerge and grow. The LIV is working with the members of its Environmental Issues Committee and Young Lawyers’ Section to explore these opportunities. This edition of the LIJ aims to highlight some of the significant issues of which practitioners should be aware as we move towards a greener future.

Australia’s emissions trading scheme is due to be designed this year and implemented in 2010. In the first article, Ross Blair examines some of the effects of the introduction of a carbon market once the emissions trading scheme is in force. He also presents a series of hypothetical scenarios which require consideration of the legal implications of a carbon market.

The scope of Australia’s emissions trading scheme has not yet been determined. However, it is possible that emissions arising from land use, including commercial buildings, will be captured under the scheme. In this regard, it is important to consider the benefits of green leases in the context of leasing of commercial premises. In the second article, Tim Power canvasses some of the problems and potential solutions in developing and leasing “green” buildings, and considers various issues which are particular to green leases for commercial premises.

The development of buildings, including green buildings, requires consideration of a range of planning issues. Jordan Gray discusses the recent case of Walker v Minister for Planning [2007] NSWLEC 741, and the need for developers and consent authorities to consider and account for the effects of climate change on proposed developments.

In recent times, there has been a spate of marketing of “green” products and services. In the fourth article, Amanda Bodger, Rochelle Younger and Melissa Monks examine the concept of green marketing, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s regulation of green marketing claims under the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The water unbundling reforms arising from amendment to the Water Act 1989 have caused numerous issues for practitioners and their clients since the changes commenced on 1 July 2007. In the fifth article, Danny Barlow and Hayley Coates provide an overview of the unbundling reforms, including the establishment of a Victorian Water Register. The article also highlights the key anomalies which have arisen due to unbundling and the introduction of the Register.

Finally, Roland Dillon of the Young Lawyers’ Section is the author of the LIJ’s inaugural monthly column “Green practice”. This column, authored by various members of the Section, will look at ways of incorporating “green” into both the personal and professional lives of lawyers.

It is appropriate that the Climate Change Special Issue is published this month as 5 June marks World Environment Day, when organisations worldwide look at ways of giving a human face to environmental issues.

The LIV thanks the authors for contributing to this Special Issue, and hopes that it gives readers an insight into being green.

Karen Cheng

LIV Property and Environmental Law Section solicitor


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