Young people could be put front and centre in federal government decision-making on coal and gas projects, if a push to impose a duty of care is successful.
ACT independent senator David Pocock will seek to add two conditions to existing laws covering the financing and approval of large fossil fuel developments.
The Labor government would be required to consider the likely harm any additional pollution caused by the projects would have on the health and wellbeing of children and future generations.
Senator Pocock said his legislation would plug a gap in Australia's climate laws.
"Too many of the decisions we make in this place do not factor in future Australians - the way we're making decisions isn't working," he said on Monday in Canberra.
"We've heard a lot from (the government) about how the adults are now in charge, that it's a new era in terms of climate policy.
"But it seems to me that being an adult is actually looking after the vulnerable, looking after children and making decisions that are good for young people and future generations."
The independent ACT senator said it shouldn't be difficult for the government to come up with a way to assess a project's future climate impacts.
"It's 2023 and it is outrageous that we have a government that is approving coal mine extensions and has a stack of applications from gas companies to expand the industry," he said.
"This (bill) would ensure that decision makers have to consider young people and future generations and would not allow them to proceed with projects that will have detrimental impacts on their futures."
The Environmental Defenders Office said Senator Pocock's proposal wasn't radical.
"The climate crisis will disproportionately impact future generations, so it makes sense to require decision makers to consider those impacts," chief executive David Morris said.
"It is the essence of good law making (and) it's difficult to see why it would be an objectionable duty to incorporate into law."
Lower house independent MP Zali Steggall supported Senator Pocock's plan and called for greater action from the government to prepare for what is expected to be a scorching hot summer.
"We're seeing from all over Europe, images of more communities fleeing for their lives from this fossil fuel crisis," the MP for the NSW seat of Warringah said.
"We've written to the prime minister and the minister for climate change asking for urgent action and escalation of Australia's response to this crisis."
Independent MP Allegra Spender said young Australians were red hot with anger over inaction on climate change.
"The government wants you to believe they're doing enough and they're absolutely not - this is the time for change," the MP for the NSW seat Wentworth said.
Senator Pocock drafted the bill alongside climate activist Anjali Sharma, who was the lead litigant in a 2020 court case against the federal government.
In 2021, a federal court judge found the government had a duty of care to young people when considering fossil fuel projects but the decision was later overturned on appeal.
Ms Sharma said the bill followed years of advocacy from young people.
"The past few years have seen climate disasters and temperatures that have broken records," she said.
"The government can either act in accordance with its duty to young people and deliver us a safe and liveable future or set us on a path to climate catastrophe."
The bill needs the support of the government and the Greens to pass the Senate.
Australian Associated Press