Jesuit Social Services welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity) Bill 2023.
This is an important amendment, which would require decision-makers to more explicitly consider the impact on future generations of any new legislation that has the potential to affect action on climate change.
We are seeing the climate emergency worsening across the globe. The decisions we make now in responding to climate change, including the long-term consequences of continuing fossil fuel exploration and extraction will have a detrimental and irreversible impact on our children and future generations. It is the responsibility and legacy of this generation to limit the extent and impact of climate change to ensure that children in future generations have the opportunity to live in a safe and healthy environment.
Jesuit Social Services supports the need for the Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity) Bill 2023 as a significant and collaborative step towards climate justice.
In our submission, based on our work in climate justice, ecological justice and place-based disadvantage, we discuss and endorse the need to adopt the Bill. This includes:
- That climate change has a disproportionate impact on children and future generations. Children born in vulnerable communities, where the impacts of climate change are understood to be more severe, will be at higher risk of experiencing the negative impacts of climate change.
- Communities experiencing economic and social disadvantage, such as rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, as well as metropolitan areas with low socio-economic profiles, are already experiencing the impacts of climate change.
- Australia has moral and legal responsibilities to protect the human rights of children and future generations against climate change.
- There has been a growing number of human rights and climate change cases globally and in Australia including Sharma and Others vs Minister for the Environment, demonstrating the responsibility and duty of care of nations in protecting and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
- Current legislation in Australia is insufficient to protect children and future generations from the disproportionate impacts of climate change and can be said to further intergenerational inequity.