Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has argued in an appeal against a landmark court ruling that she does not have a duty of care to protect Australian children from climate harm caused by the potential expansion of a coal mine.
The minister’s appeal also says the primary judge, Justice Mordecai Bromberg, erred in his findings about global temperature rise. During the Federal Court case, the scientific evidence on temperature rise was not contested by the government.
A partially successful class action was brought by eight Australian teenagers against the Environment Minister to challenge a proposal by Whitehaven Coal to extend its Vickery coal mine, near Boggabri in NSW.
The teenagers argued the mine expansion would endanger their future because climate hazards would cause them injury, ill health and economic losses, and in his judgment Justice Bromberg agreed. He said 1 million Australian children would be hospitalised at least once in their life for heat stress and the Great Barrier Reef would die along with the east coast’s eucalyptus forests should climate change not be halted.
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