Thesis and Working Papers

Thesis Papers

Author:  Ally Bonakdar, 2018

"Australia's Clean Energy Policy and Regulartory Framework - Can it Drive Investment to Achieve Australia's International Climate Goals?"

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An Assessment of Polycentric Governance Measures to Promote Clean Energy Investment in Australia to Meet International Climate Change Commitments.

This thesis will analyse Australia’s existing clean energy policy and regulatory framework and key policy mechanisms recommended to government and consider their ability to promote clean energy investment and assist with achieving Australia’s international climate change commitments. Firstly, the Paris Agreement ­is examined through the prism of new polycentric models of ‘governance’ in contrast to the traditional ‘command and control’ hierarchical models. The national electricity objective under the National Electricity Law is reviewed to determine whether the ‘trilemma’ of security and reliability, affordability and emissions reduction are appropriately addressed and to determine whether the existing legal framework appropriately integrates environmental objectives.

Then, the thesis examines the current policy and legal landscape, together with the role played by key statutory bodies and state and territory-based initiatives. Alternative policy and legal mechanisms available to achieve emissions abatement and promote new investment are examined, commencing with the repealed carbon pricing mechanism and concluding with an assessment of the recently announced national energy guarantee. It is contended that for any regulatory mechanism to ultimately succeed and be long lasting, it is essential that it has broad political support and it can gain the trust of a diverse base of actors.

In the final part of the thesis, the ‘soft’ levers of the private sector are reviewed given the important role that non-state actors play under decentralised, multi-faceted governance models - developments in the areas of directors’ duties in assessing climate change risks and advancements in the areas of reporting, disclosure and risk management models are examined. This thesis concludes that a polycentric approach to climate change – including both the ‘hard’ levers of governments and the ‘soft’ levers of the private sector – is essential to deal with the complexities of climate change, to achieve Australia’s climate change objectives and to facilitate new clean energy investment.

Working Papers

Author:  Amiel Ian A. Valdez, 2018

"The Paradox of the Salvage Zone: Examining the Philippine Coastal Adaptation Framework in the Light of Tropical Cyclones and Threats of Sea Level Rise"

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Strong typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility are not only taking the lives, but also the properties and livelihood of the coastal populace who are mostly fisher folk. As such, these typhoons, along with the threat of sea level rise, catalyse climate displacement in the Philippines. In this paper, the author examines the security of tenure, particularly land and related rights, of these climate displaced persons, and the Philippines’ duty to realise these rights.

The author argues that the Philippines, being a party to relevant climate change and human rights treaties, is bound to ensure that the climate displaced persons are not deprived of their property and possession, and that they shall have right to adequate standard of living. Similarly, the land and livelihood of coastal communities are protected by the constitutional right to property, as complemented by the Philippine Civil Code, and the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology. Nevertheless, the author observes that there are gaps in the coastal and disaster laws of the Philippines. Specifically, these laws do not have concrete provisions to protect the property rights (land, housing, and livelihood) of persons who may be displaced by the government’s projects or measures regulating its coastal zones, particularly the so-called Salvage Zone.

Further, some local government units are not capacitated to provide immediate resettlement and basic services in the event of category five typhoons. Thus, the policy behind the imposition of the Salvage Zone becomes paradoxical as it creates the displacement of people it originally intends to salvage from the dangers of the sea. The author then recommends that the Philippine President use its power under the existing land law to reserve certain tracts of land and develop it for the benefit of the people who might be displaced because of forthcoming typhoon or rising sea level.