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Lawyers grapple with climate change advice

Lawyers grapple with climate change advice

Lawyers are gearing up to advise clients on what Wednesday's demise of the emissions trading scheme in the Senate means for their businesses.

LAWYERS are gearing up to advise clients on what Wednesday's demise of the emissions trading scheme in the Senate means for their businesses. 

Australia dumped its plan to cut its carbon emissions for the second time this year on Wednesday as climate sceptics pushed the leader of the Opposition out of power. 

The Senate this week rejected 41-33 the government's proposal for Australia to become one of the first countries to bring in a so-called cap-and-trade system that would slash the amount of heat-trapping pollution from industry.

The Government said it will send the legislation to lawmakers for a third time when parliament resumes in February.

Noni Shannon, special counsel in the climate change team at Gilbert + Tobin, says lawyers now need to advise their clients to gear themselves up for a carbon constrained world. 

Even though the legislation has not passed, businesses "need to continue to review their existing arrangments", she said in an audio interview with Boardroom Radio published on The New Lawyer website. 

Business has suggested it wants to the federal government to take the opportunity to "iron out" flaws in the climate change legislation after it failed to pass through the Senate. 

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said it wants the government to address flaws, particularly the proposed "50 per cent rise in energy prices" over the next three years. 

"We were particularly concerned with the impact of rising energy prices on business and how that may cascade through the economy," ACCI's director of industry policy and economics Greg Evans told reporters in Canberra. 

Gilbert + Tobin's Shannon said: "It will be interesting to see what [the government does] with it as a policy and whether they use is as a trigger to take it to the next election."

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