Melbourne : The Australian government on Monday began its legal challenge to a landmark Federal Court ruling that it has an obligation to protect children from future bodily harm caused by climate change, media reported.
In May, Anjali Sharma, a 17-year-old high school student of Indian descent from Melbourne and seven other environmentalist teenagers, led the legal battle against the Australian government.
Ms Sharma and the group had argued that the continued emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would lead to intense bushfires, floods, storms and cyclones and make them vulnerable to injury, disease, economic loss and even to death near the end of this century, news.com .au reported.
They urged the court to prevent Environment Minister Sussan Ley from approving a proposed extension of the Vickery coal mine in northern New South Wales.
In his ruling, Judge Mordecai Bromberg approved the extension of the coal mine project.
However, he felt that the minister had “a duty to take reasonable precautions to avoid causing injury” to children when she decided to extend the project under the Environmental Protection Act and the Law. biodiversity (EPBC law), a report published in news.com. to said.
The move was touted as a significant victory for teens and the climate activist group around the world.
Ley has since given the green light for the mine’s expansion.
For Ms Sharma, it was concern for the environment, her family and future generations that fueled her legal charge against the Australian government, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report. Born in India, Sharma and her family moved to Australia when she was just 10 months old. His parents are farmers from Lucknow.
Growing up, she had heard about global warming and decided to seek more information by watching Youtube videos, according to the report.
“Growing up in Australia, I consider myself really lucky,” she said. “I received an education which helped me understand what was going on,” Ms. Sharma said in the report.
On Monday, Ley’s attorneys told Federal Court that the EPBC Act was not an appropriate vehicle for the “new duty of care” as identified by Justice Bromberg.
They argued that Justice Bromberg erred in broadening the purpose of the law not only to protect parts of the environment, but to protect the interests of human beings living in the environment.
His lawyers have also argued that the duty of care is “inconsistent” with the EPBC Act and distorts his status as minister.
They also claimed there was no evidence that additional coal from the expanded mine would increase the risk of a global temperature rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, according to the Associated Press. .
“We will proudly defend the historic decision that all Australian children have a duty of care on the part of our government, and we will fight to protect my generation from the growing risks of climate change,” Sharma said in a statement. the Associated Press. .
The eight young environmentalists were praised for the May decision by Greta Thunberg, who has risen to the forefront of the youth climate movement after protesting inaction by going on strike at school.
“This is a huge victory for the entire climate movement. Big thumbs up to the brave Australian teenagers who made it happen, ”tweeted the 18-year-old Swedish environmentalist.
“Of course, the necessary action is still not in sight, but these legal cases are symbolic breaking points that could have enormous snowball effects,” Ms. Thunberg said at the time.
Australia has come under increasing international criticism for not setting more ambitious carbon reduction targets.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week agreed to attend next month’s climate conference in Glasgow, but his government colleagues have yet to approve a net zero pledge.