Initiative on Climate Change Law and Policy | Law

Initiative on Climate Change Law and Policy


The Initiative on Climate Change Law and Policy is a joint initiative of the International Law and Policy Group of the Law School, University of New South Wales and the Australian Human Rights Centre. The Initiative aims to develop and coordinate inter- and cross-disciplinary collaborative research on legal and policy issues related to climate change. In addition the Initiative provides a framework for the appointment of post-doctoral research fellows and for the recruitment of PhD students.

The Initiative focuses on three distinct but inter-related research components:



International issues including:
  • The international legal consequences of disappearing states
  • Climate change and international security
  • Climate change and Australian diplomacy
  • State responsibility for climate change
  • Liability and compensation regimes
Human Rights issues including:
  • The impact of climate change on the right to health
  • The emergence of environmental refugees
  • Climate change and corporate responsibility
Regulatory issues including:
  • International and national regulation of adaptation and mitigation responses including carbon capture and storage
  • Carbon markets and emissions trading schemes including their legal framework, regulation of statutory and voluntary markets, valuation of carbon businesses/hedge markets, etc
  • Harmonisation and inter-operability of national carbon and emissions trading schemes
  • Post-Kyoto commitments (for which negotiations commence in Bali in December 2007) Carbon taxes and other taxation aspects
  • Regulation of verification and certification schemes
  • Impacts on key infrastructure
  • Shareholder value
  • The insurance sector and carbon risk issues
  • Local planning issues
  • Trade practices

Additionally, the Initiative provides the opportunity for development of intra- and inter-Faculty courses on aspects of climate change law and policy with Law offering the international and national regulatory and human rights components of the subject.
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Andrea Durbach

Andrea Durbach

Andrea Durbach is Associate Professor and Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. Prior to joining UNSW, she was a political trial lawyer and human rights advocate in South Africa for 8 years and after moving to Sydney in 1989, she joined the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), an independent litigation and policy institute, where she was Head of Legal Practice and Director for 13 years. Andrea has been a part-time member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (Legal Services Division), part-time commissioner of the NSW Law Reform Commission and board member of the Diplomacy Training Program. She is currently secretary of the Human Rights Council of Australia, a member of the board of the NSW Legal Aid Commission, the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Human Rights, and the Advisory Council of Jurists of the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF). She is a foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. Her research focuses on access to justice and public interest litigation; barriers to the implementation of the right to health; reparations and the Stolen Generations; and the role and impact of national human rights institutions in the Asia Pacific region (the subject of a 3-year ARC funded project with the APF).

Rosemary Rayfuse

Rosemary Rayfuse

Professor Rosemary Rayfuse specialises in Public International Law generally, including international humanitarian law, use of force, and international dispute settlement, however, she specialises in law of the sea, with particular emphasis on international fisheries law, high seas governance and international environmental law as it relates to the marine environment and to climate change. She teaches and researches in the areas of the use of force, international humanitarian law, and international environmental law. Her research focuses on the processes of development of normative structures within international law and their ability to adapt to emerging pressures such as illegal fishing, climate change and/ or threats to international peace and security. She is particularly interested in the legal implications of mitigation and adaptation strategies such as ocean fertilisation, carbon capture and storage and other geo-engineering ‘solutions’ to climate change and the international legal implications of sea level rise for Small Island States.

Professor Rayfuse holds an LLB from Queen’s University, an LLM from the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded the Clive Parry Prize for International Law, and a PhD from the University of Utrecht. She is a member of the editorial board of numerous international law journals and she is a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, Co-Chair of its Working Group on High Seas Governance and a member of its Arctic Task Force.  She has advised numerous governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, including the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission and its member states on, inter alia, the legal aspects of climate change induced sea level rise, maritime boundary delimitations, and extended continental shelf claims. She has also been appointed as an Ambassador to the One Million Women campaign which aims to inspire women in Australia to cut CO2 emissions by1 million tonnes.

Professor Rayfuse supervises postgraduate research students across a spectrum of international law and climate change related topics. Current and past postgraduate supervisions have been on topics as diverse as dispute settlement in ASEAN, regulation of invasive alien species, a unified law of armed conflict, the conduct of UN peace operations, statelessness and migrant workers, the right to water, and the international legal framework for sub-seabed carbon capture and storage.

For publications click here.

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