Australia: Minister is not obligated to protect young people over the climate

(ANSA) – SYDNEY, March 17 – When considering fossil fuel development projects, such as coal mines, Australian Environment Minister Susan Lee has no duty to protect young people from the climate crisis. The Federal Court, in plenary, upheld the minister’s appeal after eight middle school students and an elderly nun sued over the possible extension of a coal mine in Junydah in the Sydney hinterland.

Last May, the court found the plaintiffs right, and stated that the extension of the mine would release 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing a significant increase in global warming. Yesterday, the same court in plenary overturned the ruling by ruling that it had no obligation to assess the harm that climate change would do to younger people when considering approval of new fossil fuel projects.

The young people who filed a class action were met by the “School Strike for Climate” movement started by Greta Thunberg, with the support of Brigid Arthur, 87, the guardian of the case, now intending to evaluate an appeal in Alta court. Group leader Ang Sharma said: “This does not discourage us in our fight for a secure future. The Federal Court may have accepted the Minister’s legal arguments on ours, but this does not change his moral obligation to take action on climate change. 17-year-old, out Court”. Science does not change. It does not extinguish fires or stop floods. “It won’t stop our work for climate justice,” Ansa added.

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