Environment law: you break it, you bought it?


A PhD student at QUT’s Institute for Sustainable Resources, Nicola Durrant, is investigating whether companies and even governments could be held legally liable for adverse climate change.

With legal attacks on major greenhouse gas polluters already starting up around the world, Durrant is looking at whether companies should be moving to drop emissions now, rather than cruising along business-as-usual style because the feds are yet to legislate reductions. And with courts already accepting links between adverse climate change and industry emissions, the legal case against high emissions is building.

Ms Durrant said businesses, governments and even company directors could be potentially liable for millions of dollars for failing to act immediately to reduce their company’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Even in the absence of statutory obligations to reduce emissions, companies may still be liable for the environmental effects of their emissions through court challenges,” she said.

“Company directors have a fiduciary obligation to act in the best interests of their company, and given the risk of significant financial liabilities, it may be in the best interests of these industries to voluntarily reduce those emissions now.”

I quite like this 21st-century take on environmentalism. Be as green as you can, and sue the fuckers who think they can turn a blind eye.