Australian University Offers First Climate Change Law Degree

Bond University’s law school in Australia is offering the first undergraduate degree in climate law, foreseeing a rapid increase in compensation claims, class actions as well as issues related to human rights as a consequence of changes in weather.

University’s Dean, Nick James, said that he decided to establish this degree after identifying huge concerns among high school students on how climate change can affect their futures, Erudera College News reports.

According to him, people must learn how to get out there and make the difference, adding that people who are trained in climate science are very needed at the moment.

“Most of our social and political structures and legal structures are holding us back from making the changes that need to be made,” he said.

Among others, James said that due to an increase in prosecutions by environmental regulators, there could be a high demand for lawyers, as well as an increase in numbers of compensation claims against governments failing to respond properly to climate change.

Investors could also acknowledge failing in preparation of companies for climate change. The latter could act against companies for failing to show the risk which is related to climate. Despite this, human issues due to forced migration also appear to be a problem.

According to James, lawyers had already begun to specialize in climate, adding that there is also a lot of interest among employers.

“They see there will be increasing demand in the future, in the next few years.”

The first group will start as of January, and they will study a standard bachelor of laws with climate-related optional courses and with a wide introduction to climate science.

“They will look at the implications for human rights, such as forced migrations. They’ll do subjects that look at dispute resolution around climate debates and disputes. We’re going to see a lot more legal disputes,” James added.

There are other universities across the world which offer climate and environment law electives but through a few years of the degree.

In addition to Australia, the latest report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) on climate change has urged universities across the United Kingdom to have zero carbon emissions by 2035.

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