Legal Hour | Advancing justice in a warming world
Half the people in the world live in places highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In Australia, too, intensifying bushfires, cyclones, droughts, floods and rising seas are making life increasingly precarious for millions of people. The threat multiplier of climate change raises important issues of justice.
How can we best support people put at risk by disasters and other climate change impacts? What role can leaders, lawyers and ordinary people play in advancing climate justice? What needs to happen now to protect the most vulnerable, today and into the future?
Scientia Professor Jane McAdam AO is the Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and a Scientia Professor at UNSW Law & Justice.
Greg Mullins AO AFSM is the former Commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue and the author of Firestorm (Penguin, 2021).
Fleur Ramsay is the Special Counsel for the International Program at the Environmental Defenders Office in Sydney.
Oliver Toohey (LLM 2009) is the International Climate Program Manager at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Scientia Professor Jane McAdam AO
Scientia Professor Jane McAdam AO is the Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, which advances lawful, sustainable and humane solutions to forced migration. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished service to international refugee law, particularly to climate change and the displacement of people. Recognised globally as the leading scholar in the field, her expertise has been sought by UN and international agencies, governments, legal practitioners and civil society. She is currently assisting Pacific governments to develop a regional framework on climate mobility.
Greg Mullins AO AFSM
Greg Mullins AO AFSM is the former Commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue and the author of Firestorm (Penguin, 2021). He became a major national figure in the 2019–20 bushfire crisis – Australia’s longest, hottest and most devastating on record. From being a volunteer firefighter then a career firefighter, he is an internationally recognised expert in responding to major bushfires and natural disasters. He served in numerous leadership roles in emergency management, including in the Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities’ Council, NSW and Australian Emergency Management Committees, International Fire Chiefs Association of Asia, and the UN’s International Search & Rescue Advisory Group. In early 2019 he formed Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, a coalition of 34 former fire and emergency service chiefs from throughout Australia.
Fleur Ramsay is the Special Counsel for the International Program at the Environmental Defenders Office in Sydney. The program partners with local organisations to protect the environment and the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Pacific, and engages with international mechanisms to ensure that states meet their legal obligations to the environment and to communities. Fleur is an expert in indigenous rights and environmental law and is an experienced litigator. As well as bringing extensive domestic and international legal experience, Fleur is Samoan and brings a personal understanding to working in the Pacific. She is currently completing a PhD at UNSW Law & Justice.
Oliver Toohey is the International Climate Program Manager at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and is a UNSW Law & Justice alumnus. He has diverse experience working on climate justice issues at the Climate Action Network Australia, Pew Charitable Trusts and the Mary Robinson Foundation. He previously worked on international law and climate law policy for the Australian government, where he was involved in negotiation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.