The Prime Minister's decision last week to "extend" the introduction of a carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS), until at least 2013, means an adjustment in the workflows of climate change lawyers but certainly no shortage of work.
Discussing the impact of the delay, climate change specialist and partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Louis Chiam, was not surprised by the announcement given the significant change in the political environment.
And although the decision is a huge crush to the Prime Minister's credibility after promising to tackle "the great moral challenge" of climate change, Chiam is not too concerned the delay will have a dampening effect on workflows.
"There will still be a fair bit of work for us in the climate change area," he said. "For example, if our clients are developing major new projects they still need to allocate the carbon risks and there is a lot of work for us there - so those things are very relevant." And Chiam explained there are other areas keeping them busy that will continue to do so despite the lack of a CPRS in the near future.
"A lot of the work we're doing is in things like 'green' building and 'green' marketing - and all those areas will still be going strong."
Freehills partner Peter Briggs commented that despite the delay in the CPRS implementation, there are a number of other areas for their practice where it is "business as usual".
"A large part of the practice, in the lead up to the CPRS, was advising clients about contracts and contractual documents and the readiness of those documents to accommodate some form of trading regime in the future - whatever form that might take," Briggs explained.
"The delay in implementing the CPRS has not made that problem go away and that work is still necessary. Clients still need to consider whether their documents have got sufficient flexibility to protect their interests going forward - so that work is continuing."
- Briana Everett
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