A Case Study of the Carmichael Coal Mine from the Perspectives of Climate Change Litigation and Socio-Economic Factors

Malayna Raftopoulos, Sandra Cassotta, Vladimir Pacheco Cueva

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study uses the case of the Carmichael Coal Mining Project in Australia, which, despite its potential economic and social effects, also generates an enormous amount of GHGs emissions in Australia and the rest of the planet, contravening to the commitments of the Paris Agreement, as well as the scientific assessments of the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). The article adopts a climate change litigation, systemic legal and socio-economic approach, including the role of science and economy in the Australian judiciary’s decision-making system. Scientific assessments and economic factors are evaluated when making mining project approval decisions. The results identify what are the legal elements of regression and advancement in climate change litigation that enable economic and social contributions against climate change impacts. The development of a methodological framework, integrating law and economics with climate change science impacts in a systemic and holistic regulatory framework, provides useful insights in identifying the relevant factors that the Australian courts should take into account when assessing mine issues within the statutory frameworks. It also advises how to balance environmental protection and business opportunities. The hope is to direct the Australian legal system towards a more just, modern and ethical system by including scientific findings and scientific uncertainty in a broader, holistic vision more in line with the current Anthropocene Era.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLaw, Environment, & Development Journal
Pages (from-to)57-71
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Climate Change
  • Climate Change Litigation
  • International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Australian mining law and policy
  • Law and Economics

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