Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

A student is suing the government over the financial risks of climate change

‘A wake-up call’: why this student is suing the government over the financial risks of climate change, The Conversation
July 27, 2020  Jacqueline Peel Professor of Environmental and Climate Law, University of Melbourne, Rebekkah Markey-Towler, Research assistant, University of MelbourneAs the world warms, the value of “safe” investments might be at risk from inadequate climate change policies. This prospect is raised by a world-first climate change case, filed in the federal court last week.

Katta O’Donnell – a 23-year-old law student from Melbourne – is suing the Australian government for failing to disclose climate change risks to investors in Australia’s sovereign bonds.

Sovereign bonds involve loans of money from investors to governments for a set period at a fixed interest rate. They’re usually thought to be the safest form of investment. For example, many Australians are invested in sovereign bonds through their superannuation funds.

But as climate change presents major risks to our economy as well as the environment, O’Donnell’s claim is a wake-up call to the government that it can no longer bury its head in the sand when it comes to this vulnerability.

O’Donnell’s arguments

O’Donnell argues Australia’s poor climate policies – ranked among the lowest in the industrialised world – put the economy at risk from climate change. She says climate-related risks should be properly disclosed in information documents to sovereign bond investors.

O’Donnell’s claim alleges that by failing to disclose this information, the federal government breaches its legal duty. It alleges the government has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, and government officials breached their duty of care and diligence.

This is a standard similar to that owed by Australian company directors. Analysis from leading barristers indicates that directors who fail to consider climate risks could be found liable for breaching their duty of care and diligence.

O’Donnell argues government officials providing information to investors in sovereign bonds should meet the same benchmark.

Climate change as a financial risk….…   https://theconversation.com/a-wake-up-call-why-this-student-is-suing-the-government-over-the-financial-risks-of-climate-change-143359

July 28, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal

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