DLA Phillips Fox partner Charmian Barton was selected to attend the climate change leadership program, after an extensive online application. Each trainee at the summit will be personally trained by Nobel Peace prize winner and former US presidential candidate Al Gore, who will school them in the science of climate change, including information of particular relevance to Australia.
Hosted by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the The Climate Project summit precedes the UNCCC Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December and is aimed at reinvigorating the Asia-Pacific response to climate change ahead of December's conference.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn and engage with other people in the business and communicate about new initiatives to address climate change,” Barton told The New Lawyer.
Barton has extensive experience in the environmental field having worked with a variety of industries including retail, transport and health; to provide information on reporting carbon emissions and compliance with new regulations on carbon emissions.
Barton and fellow environmental lawyers have been busy in recent months overlooking the Federal Governments proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) expected to be passed by the end of the year.
“If it is passed, companies will want to know what their obligations are and they will want to start preparing for it,” said Barton.
While there is continuing disagreement in the community about the causes and reasons for climate change, Barton claims the new laws and heightened awareness of the issues surround carbon emissions and pollution give businesses new of opportunities in terms of research and development for renewable energy and sustainable energy.
“There is still continuing debate about climate change, but I think there is pretty solid evidence that there is, in any case, more that can be done to make the situation better.”
She added: “Moving to low carbon economy requires a positive commitment from business, the community and all levels of government. I value the opportunity to participate in an initiative which encourages people to engage in meaningful dialogue about tackling climate change. It’s a complex problem which requires unique solutions”.
In the long term Barton considers an environment with lower carbon emissions a good thing for everyone, but concedes environmental costs such as pollution have to be absorbed by someone, and the most likely candidate is the end consumer.
The Asia Pacific Summit will be held in Melbourne from Saturday July 11 – Monday July 13.