A 23-year-old law student is suing Australia’s government over climate change.
Katta O’Donnell filed the lawsuit—which is the first of its kind against the Australian government—last month. The lawsuit alleges the government failed to disclose the risks that climate change poses to the country’s safe investments, including government bonds.
“Legal representatives are considering the matter. As it concerns current court proceedings the government will not make any comment,” a spokeswoman for Australia’s Treasurer told Reuters.
In the lawsuit, O’Donnell states that the Australian government should make those who purchase its bonds aware of the risks associated with global warming.
“Stop Keeping Us In The Dark”
Experts say human-caused climate change may lead to irreversible damage if action is not taken to reverse it.
Last March, the United Nations warned that the world had only 11 years to avert the climate crisis.
“We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet,” General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador) said in her opening remarks to the General Assembly. She called on states to “act collectively and responsibly.” She said, “climate justice is intergenerational justice.”
Australia is only responsible for 1.3 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. However, the country is the second-largest emitter per capita, following the US. Australia is also the world’s largest coal exporter.
“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,” O’Donnell told ABC News.
“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,” she added.
O’Donnell’s class-action lawsuit doesn’t seek damages. However, it does seek a declaration that the country’s government breached its duty. The declaration also applies to the Department of Treasury’s secretary and the CEO of the Australian Office of Financial Management.
The lawsuit also seeks an injunction, which would stop the government from promoting bonds until it fully discloses the risks associated with climate change.