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Kenny Ng

Marine invasive alien species are sea-based organisms that are non-native to a marine ecosystem, and which can or have spread to a degree that has an adverse impact on biodiversity and human livelihoods. In a globalized and inter-connected world, the threats posed by marine invasive alien species are here to stay. Accordingly, it often has been lamented that the threats from marine alien species are too difficult to combat effectively. In Australia, these threats are exacerbated by the country's unique characteristics such as its sheer size, as well as its geographical and historical isolation from the rest of the world. More importantly for the purposes of this article, Australia's unique constitutional framework that entrenches its national system of federalism has led to complex power-sharing arrangements between the Commonwealth, and the State and Territory governments in the management of invasive alien species, which are arguably inadequate to combat marine invasive alien species effectively. In Australia, laws have been made to manage only one vector of marine invasive species, ballast water from vessels, but not for other vectors. This article analyses how marine invasive alien species are currently managed within the Australian legal framework, and discusses what can be done to improve the status quo in order effectively to control the spread of such foreign organisms. It argues with optimism that marine invasive alien species can be effectively managed under a strong legal framework that seeks to prevent their occurrence and minimize the negative impacts of their occurrence. Such a legal framework consists of sound domestic laws and institutions, the effects of which can be enhanced by greater international cooperation.

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Amiel Ian Valdez

The era of super typhoons is here and is predicted to linger due to anthropogenic climate change. Disasters triggered by these typhoons have caused not only loss of lives, but also displacements of people who are left without houses, properties and livelihoods. Using the Philippine experience, this article examines the legal standard of right to adequate housing under the international human rights law and international climate change law, and the Philippines' commitments to these regimes. It argues that the Philippine government's post-typhoon responses are fragmented, reactive, and ephemeral, and that there are gaps in the current housing laws. It is then argued that these issues are incongruent with the minimum standards of adequate housing. To ensure that the housing rights of climate displaced persons are protected, the role of domestic courts in enforcing the government's adaptation commitments under the Paris Agreement using the writ of continuing mandamus is considered.

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Ed Couzens, Tim Stephens, Cameron Holley, Saiful Karim, Kate Owens, Manuel Solis and Katie Woolaston

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Lachlan Penninkilampi

Urbanization is arguably the most severe and irreversible driver of environmental change, particularly with respect to biodiversity. This is the case even in Australia, a megadiverse country with a sophisticated federal regime of biodiversity governance. Yet, life persists in urban worlds. In the context of global climate and ecological crises, this article endeavours to illustrate how law and policy can grapple with the complexities of urban biodiversity and enable it to flourish. First, the article outlines the current approaches to urban biodiversity: what is it, what is it like, why does it matter and how do humans think of it? Second, the article analyses the current state of biodiversity governance in Australia, focusing particularly on the laws and policies of the Commonwealth, New South Wales, and local governments in Greater Sydney. Finally, the article details a program of reform which revisits the original guiding principles of ecologically sustainable development, illustrating how they could be unleashed for the better governance of urban biodiversity with respect to decision-making, the administration of law, issues at scale, the economy, valuation techniques and community participation. The program includes not only systemic and multi-scalar reforms, but also local-level reforms which have significant yet often overlooked potential to encourage pro-biodiversity behaviours in everyday life. The aim is to reveal just some of the many ways in which hope can be creatively transformed into action for a biodiverse urban future – that is, to reveal the possibilities of law and policy to enable urban biodiversity to be better recognized, understood, valued, protected and enhanced as Australia develops in the twenty-first century.

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Rosie Syme

An effective waste management system is, and has always been, essential infrastructure, particularly given the potential for waste to adversely impact the surrounding environment. In recent decades, however, there has been growing awareness of the scale, breadth and immediacy of those adverse impacts, and of the unsustainability of the enormous (and increasing) amount of waste society generates. Governments around the world have mobilised and there has been a widespread shift towards policies promoting circular economies, waste minimisation and maximised resource efficiency. Singapore is a case in point; despite having a traditionally high waste output and a waste management system dependent on waste incineration as the primary means of disposal, Singapore has committed to a zero waste future. This article presents a review of domestic waste management policy and law in Singapore. Several gaps in the legal framework are identified and considered against the broader context, leading to the conclusion that there is a material environmental vulnerability in the legal framework that should be redressed in order to entrench environmental protections and to align the law with Singapore's policy ambitions. Notwithstanding this deficiency, it is hard not to be optimistic about the future of domestic waste management in Singapore, as the government has made an ambitious policy commitment and appears to be pursuing it with vigour.

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Brooke Dellavedova

Class actions provide a mechanism for grouping together like claims; and, in doing so, can enhance access to justice and the integrity of our democratic processes. Environmental class actions have an important role to play in environmental governance including by providing compensation and remediation, shaping norms of conduct and promoting accountability. There are, however, various limitations on the usefulness of class actions in achieving environmental objectives. In particular, the class actions regime is procedural rather than substantive (it does not overcome limitations on the availability or utility of causes of action for addressing environmental harm); it attracts the operation of additional rules and jurisprudence which may make some actions more difficult or not well suited to being brought as class actions; and class actions tend to be expensive and risky. Accordingly (and notwithstanding a recent flurry) we are unlikely to see the opening of the dreaded floodgates. Rather, environmental governance will most likely continue to be supported by the appropriate and considered commencement and conduct of meritorious actions.

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Giving Future Generations a Voice

Normative Frameworks, Institutions and Practice

Edited by Jan Linehan and Peter Lawrence

This important book focuses on how newly emerging institutions for future generations can contribute to tackling large scale global environmental problems, such as threats to biodiversity and climate change. It is especially timely given the new global impetus for decarbonisation, as well as the huge growth of climate litigation and climate protest movements, often led by young people.
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Claire O'Manique, James K Rowe and Karena Shaw

Endless economic growth on a finite planet is impossible. This is the premise behind the degrowth movement. Despite this sound rationale, the degrowth movement has struggled to gain political acceptability. We have sought to understand this limited uptake of degrowth discourse in the English-speaking world by interviewing Canadian activists. Activists have a proximity to the political realm – both with its barriers and openings – that scholars working primarily in academic institutions sometimes lack. Our interviews reveal that class interests – particularly those of fossil fuel companies – are a substantial barrier to realizing degrowth goals. Interviewees highlighted the importance of centring class-conscious environmentalism, ‘anti-purity’ politics, and decolonization as essential parts of a degrowth agenda capable of overcoming these class interests. We conclude by unpacking how the Green New Deal – a discourse and movement that gained considerable traction after we completed our interviews – addresses the obstacles shared by our interviewees, thus making it a promising ‘non-reformist reform’ for the degrowth movement to pursue.

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Katerina Teaiwa