• Richa Shetty

First Climate Change Lawsuit Filed against the Australian Govt; Claims Financial Risk to Investors

A 23-year-old Melbourne law student is suing the Australian Government for failing to disclose the risk climate change poses to Australians' super and other safe investments. The world-first case filed on Wednesday in the Federal Court alleges the Government, as well as two government officials, failed in a duty to disclose how climate change would impact the value of government bonds. Read more about What is Weather? How is it Different from Climate?

How it could affect Australia:

According to the litigation filed on Wednesday, Kathleen O’Donnell claims investors who buy Australian government bonds should be made aware of the risks due to climate change that might make it difficult for Australia to pay back its debt. Know more about Which are the Best Car Insurance Companies in Australia?


O’Donnell’s case has merit as any material risk to investments and products being issued must be disclosed, said Anita Foerster, a senior lecturer of business law and taxation at Melbourne’s Monash University, specializing in climate change and regulation.

  • “Private actors should be disclosing this to the market, so why shouldn’t public actors like the government also be doing the same, particularly if their regulators are saying other people should be doing it,” Foerster said by phone.

  • “It’s a really important expansion of strategic climate litigation to a new class of defendant to further this argument that climate change is a financial risk.” She added.

Is it More Dangerous for Animals than Humans?

“Legal representatives are considering the matter. As it concerns current court proceedings the government will not make any comment,” the spokeswoman said. Climate change has long been a hot button issue in Australia, becoming even more so since last summer when intense wildfires raged for about four months across large parts of the country, killing 33 people and millions of animals. Here are the Top 6 Trends in Green Driving Habits for Your Fleet/vehicle


Australian Govt. Initiatives:

O’Donnell said she bought exchange-traded Australian Government Bonds maturing in 2050 last year through a government initiative that allows individual investors to buy sovereign debt. The publicly available “key risk” disclosure and product statement includes information about interest rate movements and default risks and suggests looking at the national budget to assess the government’s fiscal position. The disclosures and the statement of risks to Australia’s finances in the fiscal 2020 budget make no specific mention of climate change or global warming. Read also Oxford outlines its Plan to become UK’s first Zero- Vehicle Emission City


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