Lawsuit: Aussie Government Not Applying Climate Disclosure Rules to Government Bonds

Lawsuit: Aussie Government Not Applying Climate Disclosure Rules to Government Bonds

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A Melbourne law student is suing the Australian Government for not applying government climate disclosure regulations to the government’s own financial operations.

Australian Government sued by 23-year-old Melbourne student over financial risks of climate change

By national science, technology and environment reporter Michael Slezak and the Specialist Reporting Team’s Rahni Sadler

A 23-year-old Melbourne law student is suing the Australian Government for failing to disclose the risk climate change poses to Australians’ super and other safe investments.

The world-first case filed on Wednesday in the Federal Court alleges the Government, as well as two government officials, failed in a duty to disclose how climate change would impact the value of government bonds. 

Katta O’Donnell, the head litigant for the class action suit, said she hoped the case would change the way Australia handled climate change. 

“I’m suing the Government because I’m 23 [and] I think I need to be aware of the risks to my money and to the whole of society and the Australian economy,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“I think the Government needs to stop keeping us in the dark so we can be aware of the risks that we’re all faced with.”

Experts say it is the first where a national government has been sued for its lack of transparency on climate risks.

Ms O’Donnell’s lawyer, David Barnden from Equity Generation Lawyers, said the duty to be transparent extended to the Government.

“We allege that the Government is misleading and deceiving investors by not telling them about the risks,” Mr Barnden said.

“We don’t see any disclosure to investors about the risks that climate change poses to bonds and to society as a whole. So it certainly appears as though there is a double standard.”

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-22/student-sues-australian-government-over-climate-change/12480612

I wonder if California and other green US states apply the climate disclosure rules they inflict on others to their own debt instruments?

This lawsuit like other climate litigation is based on the absurd premise that anthropogenic climate change is significant threat.

But it is hilarious to see someone attacking governments with their own green virtue signalling. If the lawsuit succeeds, and if applying climate disclosure rules drives up the cost of government borrowing, it will likely be the death of climate disclosure rules.

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July 24, 2020 at 08:17PM

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