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‘World-first’ legal case: student accuses Australia of misleading investors on climate risk

Katta O’Donnell, 23, says her claim will put government ‘on trial for misconduct’ for failing to address climate change.

A Melbourne university student has launched what has been described as a world-first legal case against the Australian government, accusing it of misleading investors in sovereign bonds by failing to disclose the financial risk caused by the climate crisis.

In a claim filed in the federal court on Tuesday, Katta O’Donnell, a fifth-year law student at La Trobe University, said the government was breaching a legal duty and deceiving investors by not informing them upfront of the climate risk they face.

Climate risk refers to assessments of the expected impact of the climate crisis on investments, including the likelihood that fossil fuel investments will lose value and potentially become stranded as the world reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

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