Implications of climate change for Western concepts of ownership: Australian case study

Vanessa Johnston, Ben France-Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article considers what Australian responses to climate change
may teach us about the concept of ownership. Through a close
analysis of laws aimed at encouraging specific land uses in order to
mitigate emissions, it argues that these laws support the increasingly
uncontroversial claim that ownership of estates or interests in land
places obligations and responsibilities on owners to exercise the
resulting rights for the benefit of others. However, although land
ownership is flexible enough to support the environmental objectives
of these laws, their failure to adequately accommodate the
practicalities of ownership, such as anticipating the position of
successors in title, increases the risk of conflict between owners of
estates and interests in land, and compromises the ability of both
environmental and property law regimes to achieve their intended
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-898
Number of pages30
JournalUniversity of New South Wales Law Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • real property law
  • Australia
  • climate change
  • ownership

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