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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Intermediate

Former School/College

Former School of Law and Justice

Pre-requisites

LAW10157 - Australian Legal System OR LAW00111 - Legal Process OR 96 credit points in any SCU units.

Unit aim

Introduces students to the range of laws and policies related to climate change at the local, state, national and international levels. The unit aims to enable students to identify legal issues related to climate change, and to critically discuss the efficacy of current and proposed legal regimes for climate change in Australia.

Unit content

Topic 1 – Context of climate change

The background and impacts of global climate change, the problem of scientific uncertainty and trends of climate change and its implications for international climate change law are covered.

Topic 2 – The international climate change regime

The international climate change regime that comprises the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol is discussed. The Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms including Joint Implementation, the Clean Development Mechanism and international emissions trading are also examined.

Topic 3 – National and regional initiatives and mitigation mechanisms

Examinations of national and regional policies and mitigation mechanisms designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including market-based mechanisms and command and control legislative frameworks.

Topic 4 – Carbon Taxes

Discussion of the origins, evolution and issues related to enactment of environmental and carbon taxes. Examples of operational environmental and carbon taxes implemented to address environmental pollution.

Topic 5 – Emissions trading and carbon markets

Background, development and issues as well as adverse effects associated with implementation of emissions trading schemes are considered. Carbon markets origins and progression are also discussed.

Topic 6 – Climate law development in Australia

The topic examines development of climate law and policy in Australia at the national level including greenhouse gas reporting arrangements and regulations attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Topic 7 – Adaptation, renewable energy and fiscal incentives

Consideration of the utility and limits of existing policies and legal frameworks relating to the renewable energy and fiscal incentives as well as adaptation initiatives.

Topic 8 – Protection of forests and REDD

Fundamental issues, opportunities, proposals and regulations surrounding the incorporation of land use and forestry into the international climate change regime, including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

Topic 9 – Risks and opportunities associated with climate change

Climate change and the risk of economic disruption are considered from the business point of view. Particularly emphasis is on business risks and opportunities arising in the context of international climate change regime. Climate change litigation is also considered.

Topic 10 – Climate change policies of BRIC countries

Brazil, Russia, India and China are rapidly developing countries that account for more than 40% of the global GHG thus, it is important to examine emissions reduction regulations and initiatives of these countries.

Topic 11 – Key issues and developments in the negotiation of a post-Kyoto climate change treaty

The international politics of climate change, including the differing interests and priorities of developed and developing states and the special challenges facing particularly vulnerable states and communities. Sustainable development, common but differentiated responsibilities, intra- and inter-generational equity, the precautionary principle, and climate justice in the international climate change legal regime are discussed.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: Intellectual rigour, GA2: Creativity, GA3: Ethical practice, GA4: Knowledge of a discipline, GA5: Lifelong learning, GA6: Communication and social skills, GA7: Cultural competence
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 critically examine the development of international climate change regime Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline
2 discuss the range of laws and policies related to climate change at the national, state and local levels Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline Communication and social skills
3 critically evaluate the effectiveness of Australian climate regime in the context of the global climate change developments Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline
4 identify the limits and utility of existing norms and identify the climate change related challenges that may ascend in a legal perspective Creativity Knowledge of a discipline
5 analyse the concepts of sustainable development, climate justice, mitigation and adaptation Ethical practice Knowledge of a discipline
6 demonstrate knowledge and understanding of international and Australian climate change laws and policies by analysing course concepts in a critical, reflective and scholarly manner Intellectual rigour Creativity Communication and social skills

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. critically examine the development of international climate change regime
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  2. discuss the range of laws and policies related to climate change at the national, state and local levels
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
    • GA6: Communication and social skills
  3. critically evaluate the effectiveness of Australian climate regime in the context of the global climate change developments
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  4. identify the limits and utility of existing norms and identify the climate change related challenges that may ascend in a legal perspective
    • GA2: Creativity
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  5. analyse the concepts of sustainable development, climate justice, mitigation and adaptation
    • GA3: Ethical practice
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  6. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of international and Australian climate change laws and policies by analysing course concepts in a critical, reflective and scholarly manner
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA2: Creativity
    • GA6: Communication and social skills