Philip Sutton: What a Climate Emergency Act could look like


Currently there is no legislation under which Parliament could declare a Climate Emergency and mobilise resources accordingly. The Model Act drafted by Philip Sutton, the 40-page ‘Climate Emergency (Restructuring & Mobilisation) Act’, is an example of the type of legislation that would be required in order to declare a Climate Emergency and establish the mechanisms necessary for an orderly and effective restructuring of the economy.

“This model Act provides the Australian Government with the legal powers and planning machinery needed to restructure the economy and mobilise resources in order to prevent or limit a general climate and ocean acidification crisis and to urgently restore a safe climate and safe ocean pH,” writes Philip Sutton in the introduction to the model Act.

“When a Climate Emergency (Restructuring & Mobilisation) Declaration is made, this action switches on emergency mode for the national government by making climate emergency action equal top priority for all government departments and agencies.

The Act establishes:

(a) the Safe Climate Framework Commission to carry out assessments and make determinations and elaborate the goals and provide targets and metrics to drive action under the Act

(b) the arrangements for specifying Safe Climate Framework Factors which shape strategic planning under the Act

(c) the Climate Emergency Restructuring Authority to carry out most of the strategic planning under the Act, and to drive implementation action

(d) the arrangements for determining the agencies that will carry out the remainder of the strategic planning.”

Philip Sutton is Manager and Strategist, RSTI Inc (Research and Strategy for Transition Initiation), author of ‘Striking Targets’, and co-author of ‘Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action’. Photo on top of this page: Courtesy of Breakthrough

» An electronic copy of the latest version of this Model Act is available from RSTI at:


Film & Forum: Climate Emergency Legislation

Breakthrough is holding a screening of ‘The Age of Consequences’ on Wednesday 27 July 2016 at 6:30pm at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne – the second screening due to high demand.

A forum discussion exploring National Climate Emergency legislation will directly follow the film screening.

» Bookings:

victory-planSee also:

» The Climate Mobilization’s ‘Victory Plan’: