Why should you take action?

The IPCC projects a rise in temperature of 4°C by the end of the century unless there are drastic changes in the way we consume and produce energy.

IPCC, Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, Summary for Policymakers (13 April 2014) 8: (‘Baseline scenarios, those without additional mitigation, result in global mean surface temperature increases in 2100 from 3.7°C to 4.8°C compared to pre-industrial levels.’); Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided, World Bank Report (November 2012) ix.

What is climate justice?

“Climate change is an issue of environmental and social justice. It is an issue that affects everybody but the impacts are not evenly distributed. Too often it’s the people who have contributed the least to the causes of climate change that are facing the most severe impacts.

Low ­income people, communities of colour, women, youth and in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia are on the frontlines of this crisis. It’s our communities that are hit first and worst, not only by the impacts of climate change but the impacts of extractive, polluting and wasteful industries that are devastating our country and fuelling the climate crisis.” – Seed Mob, Australia’s first Indigenous youth-led climate movement. 

“…[t]he most equitable conception of climate change must recognise that while the developed nations have contributed the most to climate change over the past two centuries, it is the developing nations and their peoples who stand to suffer the most extreme consequences of rising sea levels, rising temperatures, and other human-induced environmental shifts. For example, from 1970 to 2008, over 95 per cent of deaths due to natural disasters took place in the developing world. Rich nations are ‘in a better position to store food against the possibility of drought, to move people away from flooded areas, to fight the spread of disease-carrying insects, and to build seawalls to keep out the rising seas.’ Poor countries do not have such advantages, and their populations are vulnerable due to lack of resources, poverty, marginalisation and exclusion, as well as their place in the direct line of fire of climate change’s most pernicious effects. It is therefore imperative that a justice-centred approach be adopted in our efforts to combat climate change.” International Bar Association Climate Change Justice and Human Rights Task Force Report, Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption

Use your professional skills:

The Guide aims to inform and inspire lawyers across the globe. It includes:

  • descriptions of 15 different ways that lawyers can get involved in pro bono work to help combat the climate crisis
  • a range of compelling case studies from around the world, and
  • advice on how to get started.


Use your funds:


Use your voice…


Who else is taking action?

  • Climate Change Litigation Database This site provides two databases of climate change caselaw. Cases in the databases are organized by type of claim and are searchable. In many cases, links are available to decisions, complaints, and other case documents.
  • International Bar Association, IBA Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights This wide-ranging and comprehensive report from the IBA Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights identifies problems and gaps in existing legal, human rights, trade and other institutional arrangements. It contains a series of new ideas and recommendations to governments and world institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, human rights bodies, international development financing agencies, as well as specific law and corporate governance reforms to aid in the prevention and mitigation of climate change impacts and protect the human rights of vulnerable communities.
  • The Australian Medical Association has joined other health organisations around the world – including the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association, and Doctors for the Environment Australia – in recognising climate change as a health emergency

“Climate change will cause higher mortality and morbidity from heat stress.

“Climate change will cause injury and mortality from increasingly severe weather events.

“Climate change will cause increases in the transmission of vector-borne diseases.

“Climate change will cause food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs.

“Climate change will cause a higher incidence of mental ill-health.

– Engineers Australia Energy policy

“Australia needs a domestic energy policy”

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (Paris COP21) reaffirmed the objective to restrict global warming to less than 2 degrees above the preindustrial global average temperature. Future Australian energy policy will be constrained by the Paris COP21 agreement through Australia’s commitment to an emission target of 26 to 28 per cent reductions on 2005 levels by 2030, which is just around the corner. This target will be exceedingly difficult to achieve unless all aspects of energy use play their parts. If Australia is to meet this target, and remain globally competitive, it will need to transition to a new energy paradigm. Australian engineers will be crucial to the shift to this new paradigm as they have the critical skills that can prosper in a future economy with reduced emissions.”

– Engineers Australia Climate Change Policy

“Engineers Australia’s members acknowledge:

  • Engineers have an ethical responsibility for, and play a key role in, limiting atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, through transformative change and innovation in engineering education, and practice. …
  • Reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere associated with engineering activities should be accorded urgent priority in engineering endeavours.
  • Engineers should include risk analysis and advice of the likely impacts of climate change in their work.”