Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) Trimester 3 2014 (On-campus block of classes)


Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.


Climate change is one of the most significant and important global issues and requires international, regional and domestic responses. A central aspect of this
dilemma is the inter-relationship between rising levels of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding the complexities of this issue
and developing appropriate responses is fundamental to achieving a sustainable future for all members of the international community. This necessitates consideration of the progress and operative effect of Climate Change Law at various levels: international, regional and domestic. Accordingly, the emergence of international climate change law and the impact of fundamental international agreements such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol will be examined, together with a range of regional and domestic policy, legislative and regulatory developments in the European Union and Australia. In the Australian context, Federal and State based aspects of climate change policy, law and regulation will be scrutinised across a backdrop of various sectors including energy, transport, building, and planning and resource management. In addition to the constitutional implications of Climate Change Law in Australia, climate change litigation will also be considered.

Given that a central aspect of the global climate change dilemma is the inter-relationship between rising levels of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, energy markets will be used as the primary case study in this unit. Recent legislative developments and environmental regulation of energy markets will be examined within the broader concepts of renewable energies, demand management, sustainable development and accountability. Key responses to climate change will be discussed from the supply/demand and voluntary/mandatory obligations perspectives. Various market and non-market mechanisms will be canvassed including renewable energy targets, emission trading systems, carbon taxes, feed-in tariffs and new technologies. While particular emphasis will be on the role of the Australian Energy Market and key market institutions such as the Australian Energy Regulator, a comparative analysis will be made of climate change policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks operating in energy markets of the United Kingdom and the European Union.


Understand the nature of climate change and its economic and legal importance, both domestically, regionally and globally:

  1. understand threshold questions and issues involved in international dimensions of climate change law, regulation and policy
  2. appreciate the political and legislative developments behind the emergence of International, Supranational and Australian climate change law, policy and regulation and the development of environmental markets
  3. identify key International, Supranational and Australian bodies/institutions operating in the context of climate change and understand their functions and responsibilities
  4. appreciate the impact of political and legislative climate change law developments on International, Supranational and Australian energy markets
  5. identify and discuss the impact of climate change law on various sectors of Australian economy, with particular emphasis on competition policy and constitutional competencies of State and Federal Governments; and the key legislation and regulatory regime of the Australian Energy Market
  6. identify and discuss the policy, legal and regulatory response to climate change, including environmental regulation of energy markets, renewable energies, greenhouse gas emissions sources, emissions trading systems, carbon taxes, feed-in tariffs, end-user participation and demand side management
  7. understand broader climate change policy and legal issues such as diminishing supply of fossil fuels and security of supply.


Research assignment (6,000 words): 80%
Class presentation: 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)