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

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government
More Open

It’s true that New Zealand scores well on many international rankings of openness... Those findings are all important, and welcome. But we cannot ignore the fact that there are still serious problems.

For a start, those international surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

 
 

In Court: Hamilton Student's Lawsuit Over Climate Change Policy

A law student from Hamilton is preparing to challenge the Government in the High Court on Monday over what she says is a “failure” to properly address climate change. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement. As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

ALSO:

Visions: National Party Conference

National Party leader Bill English today outlined his vision to take New Zealand into the 2020s and his key priorities for the next Parliamentary term – including further raising incomes and reducing taxes. More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog