The court reversed the decision of building the mine
Australia does not need to protect the younger generation
03/15/2022, 10:15 PM
Eight Australian schoolgirls are suing over coal mine expansion. The court found that the environment ministry should protect the younger generation from “carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere”. A potential weapon against similar projects has arisen – and is now bitten again.
An Australian court has overturned a landmark decision by the Department of the Environment to protect children from the harmful effects of climate change. The federal court upheld the appeal of Environment Minister Susan Lay. Kids don’t have to weigh the damage caused by climate change when approving new fossil fuel projects. The original plaintiffs are “devastated”.
A group of eight students successfully sued last year against the controversial expansion of a coal mine near Sydney. The court ruled at the time that it was the ministry’s duty to prevent “injury or death” to minors due to “carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere”. Environmental groups see the ruling as a potential legal weapon in the fight against fossil fuels.
Environment Minister Lay immediately appealed the decision and was now correct. The federal court sided with the minister, but mainly followed Lay’s argument that the emissions from the mine posed only a “slightly increased risk” to the students.
Initiator of the trial “devastated”
Anjalia Sharma, who initiated the original trial, said she and her fellow campaigners were “devastated”. “Two years ago there was a fire in Australia, today it is under water. Burning coal makes bushfires and floods even more frightening and deadly,” demanded the 17-year-old: “Something has to change.”
Co-plaintiff Izzy Raj-Seppings, on the other hand, pointed to a positive side of the verdict: The court acknowledged that young people “are bearing the brunt of the effects of the climate crisis,” said the 15-year-old. Students’ lawyers still have the option of going to the Supreme Court of Australia.