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Fossil fuel companies to be sued for climate damage under Greens proposal – EQ Mag Pro

Fossil fuel companies to be sued for climate damage under Greens proposal – EQ Mag Pro

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The Australian Greens want to pave the way for climate affected communities to sue coal and gas companies for compensation under a proposal the party says would hold the companies accountable for their contributions to global warming.

Launching the proposal in Ballina on Tuesday in the northern NSW seat of Richmond, which The Greens believe they have a chance of winning from Labor, leader Adam Bandt said coal and gas companies should bear the cost of climate-fuelled impacts they helped cause.

This would include the cost of severe flooding that caused significant damage to homes and businesses throughout the Northern Rivers region, which covers both the Richmond and Page electorates.

“Coal and gas are the leading causes of climate change, which is ravaging the Northern Rivers,” Bandt said.

“Coal and gas corporations fuelled the floods and they should pay for the damage they have caused to the Northern Rivers.”

“Labor and Liberals are putting even more lives at risk by opening 114 new coal and gas mines. The Greens want to stop new coal and gas mines and give the community, the council and governments the right to sue the coal and gas corporations that have knowingly made the climate crisis worse.”

The proposal would allow both individuals and various government bodies that experience damage caused by floods to seek compensation directly from fossil fuel companies.

Last year, The Greens introduced proposed legislation into federal parliament that would establish the legal liability of fossil fuel companies, making them responsible for their contributions to climate change related damage.

The proposal allow cover flood victims, local councils and governments to pursue compensation for climate-fuelled flood damage.

“A major emitter is liable for the same proportion of damage as the proportion of the emitter’s greenhouse gas emissions to total global greenhouse gas emissions,” the proposed legislation says.

Climate scientists have warned that worsening global warming would likely lead to more extreme weather events, including an increased intensity and frequency of flooding events.

Bandt launched the plan alongside the party’s candidate for the Northern Rivers electorate of Richmond, Mandy Nolan.

Nolan said Northern Rivers communities had been left devastated by unprecedented flooding over the last summer and abandoned by a federal government that had protected the interest of fossil fuel companies.

“When coal-fuelled floods devastated our region, the strength and resilience of this community was on full display. Neighbours saved neighbours, towns rallied to keep people safe. But they’ve been held back by a government that is on coal and gas corporations’ side,” Nolan said.

“The world’s biggest polluters have known for decades that they’ve been causing climate change, yet they kept on selling coal and gas. The law made asbestos companies pay and now it’s fossil fuel corporations’ turn.”

“We shouldn’t have to be clearing mud out of our houses wondering if the government is ever going to show up. We need to double support for emergency services to make sure our brave volunteers have the tools and personnel needed to protect us and clean up after a disaster.”

The Richmond electorate, which covers the towns of Ballina, Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah and Byron Bay, is set to be a three-way contest between incumbent Labor MP Justine Elliot, the Greens and the Nationals, who previously held the seat.

The Greens said that in addition to creating the legal liability for climate change impacts, the party would seek to change the investment restrictions on the Emergency Response Fund, to unlock federal government funding to support climate resilience projects.

“To save lives, we need to urgently tackle the climate crisis, but we also need to support communities to prepare for a changing climate,” Bandt said.

“Scott Morrison ignored the demands of climate chiefs and emergency services personnel. His government is more interested in making a buck off the Emergency Response Fund than he is in protecting communities from the impacts of burning more coal and gas.”

“Eleven dollars are saved for every one dollar spent protecting communities before natural disasters strike,” Bandt added.

Source: reneweconomy

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network