Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Law student sues climate minister over poor emissions target

Law student sues climate minister over poor emissions targets

A 24-year-old Hamilton woman is suing the Government over its emissions reduction targets, saying they do not go far enough to tackle climate change.

Sarah Thomson, who just completed a law degree at the University of Waikato, has just filed judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Climate Change Issues. She claims that Tim Groser has failed his ministerial duties by not setting emissions targets that reflect the scientific consensus on climate change.

The High Court will now be asked to review the legality and reasonableness of New Zealand’s emissions targets.

The case has been filed in the lead up to the 21st United Nations climate conference in Paris, where the world’s governments will meet in attempt to agree a new international framework on climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol that would take effect in 2020.

It also comes on the back of the landmark legal ruling in the Netherlands in June, where a group of Dutch citizens successfully sued their government for failing to properly act against climate change.

Thomson has always loved New Zealand’s outdoors, walking bush tracks around Hamilton with her father as a child. She can’t understand why New Zealand, with so much going for it, isn't standing up to be a world leader.

“All the world’s scientists agree that climate change is real, that humans are causing it, and that urgent action is needed, but I can’t see our Government taking it seriously”, says Thomson.

“The science shows that New Zealand’s emissions targets just aren’t good enough to avoid dangerous climate change. Scientists agree that the reductions are too small and will take too long”.

Climate minister Groser is among representatives New Zealand is sending to Paris, where he will table the Government’s non-binding proposal to commit to a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030.

New Zealand’s proposed target has been widely criticised by environmentalists for being weaker than some of our previous targets, and is far less than scientific consensus says is needed. When compared to the 1990 baseline, that targets have always been measured against until now, this new proposal is actually only around an 11% reduction by 2030.

New Zealand has previously indicated it would commit to a 10-20% reduction by 2020 if a comprehensive global agreement could be agreed.

Thomson says even though New Zealand is a small nation, it should not be excused from taking action on climate change.

“The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that we have signed up to recognises that developed countries need to take the lead on cutting emissions. New Zealand could be an international leader in taking action on climate change. Instead, we currently produce some of the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions per person in the world. The Government seems to have no real plan to change this. How can we ask other countries to clean up if we won’t?”

Thomson says it’s the Government’s inaction on climate change that has compelled her to do something about it herself.

“I’m concerned about climate change and what it will mean for me and my children in the future. Like many New Zealanders, I look forward to the experience of having a family of my own. I want to bring my children up in a safe world, where they can live without fear and enjoy all the amazing natural wonders that our planet has to offer”, she says.

“That’s why I decided to bring this case. I just felt I had to do something. I want to be able to look my children in the eye and say that I didn’t just stand by and watch this happen.”

Thomson wants to see the Government acknowledge that climate change is happening, take it seriously, and have some real action plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

She is also calling for others like her to take action.

“In order to solve the problem of climate change, we need a collective effort. We need as many people as possible to stand up and voice their concerns on the issue. The more people we have out there doing something, the better chance of success we will have”, Thomson says.

“We can still do something to slow climate change down, but we have to do it now.”

The case will be heard in the High Court in Wellington.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Davos World Economic Forum: Ardern Upbeat Despite Absences

The prime minister will soon wrap up her first day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which is notable for who is there as much as who isn't.

Domestic political crises have kept a number of world leaders at home including US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Shipping Is NZ’s New Trade Problem

So Jacinda Ardern and Theresa May have signed a piece of paper promising peace in our time when it comes to our trade with Britain... Brexit is not the only concern. More>>

ALSO:

Reshuffle: National Announces Spokesperson For Drug Reform

National Leader Simon Bridges has appointed Paula Bennett to the new position of Spokesperson for Drug Reform as the Government pushes ahead with its agenda of drug decriminalisation, to signal National’s commitment to holding them to account. More>>

ALSO:

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday]. More>>

ALSO:

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels