As the previous chapters have highlighted, climate change presents a complex problem for policy and legal frameworks. The effects of climate change are broadscale and are predicted to manifest over long time frames; they have significant implications for socioeconomic systems and infrastructure as well as the potential to exacerbate a range of other environmental issues, such as water availability, loss of biodiversity, and land degradation. Selecting the optimal regulatory model or range of regulatory tools is thus a key task for policy-makers and lawyers in seeking to respond to climate change.
The previous chapter provided insights into the various policy and legal responses to climate change that have occurred in the Australian polity over an extended period of time. This chapter builds on that foundation to provide a more detailed examination of Australian legal and policy developments that have seen the introduction of an emissions trading scheme – to ‘put a price on carbon’ – as well as associated governance and institutional measures, all of which are designed to mitigate climate change. The chapter also broadens the focus to examine more generally questions about the appropriate regulatory models that might fulfil the complex task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and in that context turns to consider emissions trading schemes that are in operation in various jurisdictions.