Insights

Some recent climate change reading

The great thing about being a lawyer interested in climate change is that we never run out of things to read. Here is a short list of some recent useful documents, in case you missed them.

The United Nations Environment Program has released two important documents comparing what we are doing/promising and what we need to promise/do. The first of these is the Emissions Gap Report 2020 which was released on 9 December 2020. The information in the report indicates that we have to improve our game across the globe. Even the current promises that form part of the Paris Agreement have the world looking at 3 degrees centigrade temperature rise by the turn of the century rather than 1.5 or 2%. The report may be downloaded here.

The sister document of the emissions gap report is the Adaptation Gap Report 2020 released by UNEP on 21 January 2021. The message is similar to the emissions gap report in that, while there are some excellent programs directed at dealing with the impacts of climate change, including nature based solutions, these efforts have to be scaled up massively to meet the challenges that unavoidable/expected climate change is already throwing at us, especially, in the case of communities otherwise least able to cope. The link for this sobering report is here.

The third document on my highly recommended list is a brilliant (as always) paper by Chief Judge Brian Preston of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Although delivered almost a year ago on 11 February 2020, the paper entitled Climate Conscious Lawyering: Five Ways that Lawyers can Implement a Climate Conscious Approach in their Daily Legal Practice is available to be downloaded with Chief Judge Preston’s other papers, here (the document linked to on that page had an earlier title). The paper was recently published in (2021) 95 ALJ 51.

Stephen Keim SC

Higgins Chambers

31 January 2021