Not currently available in 2020

Unit description

Introduces students to the range of laws and policies related to climate change at the local, state, national and international levels. The unit aims to enable students to identify legal issues related to climate change, and to critically discuss the efficacy of current and proposed legal regimes for climate change in Australia.

Unit content

Topic 1 – Context of climate change

The background and impacts of global climate change, the problem of scientific uncertainty and trends of climate change and its implications for international climate change law are covered.

Topic 2 – The international climate change regime

The international climate change regime that comprises the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol is discussed. The Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms including Joint Implementation, the Clean Development Mechanism and international emissions trading are also examined.

Topic 3 – National and regional initiatives and mitigation mechanisms

Examinations of national and regional policies and mitigation mechanisms designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including market-based mechanisms and command and control legislative frameworks.

Topic 4 – Carbon Taxes

Discussion of the origins, evolution and issues related to enactment of environmental and carbon taxes. Examples of operational environmental and carbon taxes implemented to address environmental pollution.

Topic 5 – Emissions trading and carbon markets

Background, development and issues as well as adverse effects associated with implementation of emissions trading schemes are considered. Carbon markets origins and progression are also discussed.

Topic 6 – Climate law development in Australia

The topic examines development of climate law and policy in Australia at the national level including greenhouse gas reporting arrangements and regulations attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Topic 7 – Adaptation, renewable energy and fiscal incentives

Consideration of the utility and limits of existing policies and legal frameworks relating to the renewable energy and fiscal incentives as well as adaptation initiatives.

Topic 8 – Protection of forests and REDD

Fundamental issues, opportunities, proposals and regulations surrounding the incorporation of land use and forestry into the international climate change regime, including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

Topic 9 – Risks and opportunities associated with climate change

Climate change and the risk of economic disruption are considered from the business point of view. Particularly emphasis is on business risks and opportunities arising in the context of international climate change regime. Climate change litigation is also considered.

Topic 10 – Climate change policies of BRIC countries

Brazil, Russia, India and China are rapidly developing countries that account for more than 40% of the global GHG thus, it is important to examine emissions reduction regulations and initiatives of these countries.

Topic 11 – Key issues and developments in the negotiation of a post-Kyoto climate change treaty

The international politics of climate change, including the differing interests and priorities of developed and developing states and the special challenges facing particularly vulnerable states and communities. Sustainable development, common but differentiated responsibilities, intra- and inter-generational equity, the precautionary principle, and climate justice in the international climate change legal regime are discussed.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Teaching and assessment


Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2020 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 1

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.