Crown mostly agrees with Climate Change litigant

Photo: RNZ / Emile Donovan

The government recognises the need for every country to act to stabilise greenhouse gases and prevent the consequences of climate change, crown lawyers have told the High Court in Wellington.

Law student Sarah Thomson has asked the court to quash New Zealand’s current emissions target and order the Minister to reconsider the issue.

Her lawyer Davey Salmon told the court on Tuesday that New Zealand had taken the cheapest, laziest option when it came to setting this country’s emission target and that involved a “fundamental and fatal misdirection to the decision-maker”.

“The reasons for action are that the consequences of inaction are terrifying and it’s those consequences that justify doing as much as possible. If they’re ignored the decision-making process is asking the wrong question.”

Crown lawyer Peter Gunn told the Court there was substantial agreement between the positions of the government and Ms Thomson.

He said there was no dispute about the need to prevent irreparable damage to the planet and that the government believes the Paris Agreement provides the best way of doing that.

Mr Gunn said the government did not want to minimise New Zealand’s actions, however the country “cannot do it on our own”.

“If New Zealand reduces emissions to zero there won’t be any noticeable effect on climate change and we have to rely on the rest of the global community to achieve change.”

Mr Gunn said the government’s scientific expert in the case, Professor Frame, said a balance between participation, compliance and stringency was central to achieving effective international agreement.

Who is paying for this colossal waste of time and resources then?  If the government is mostly in agreement with Ms Thomson, we’re down to being nit picky over minor details.

In the end, New Zealand has signed up to Paris, as have everyone else worth noting, so the whole things seems a misuse of courts.

As for the court ordering the government about…  never tell the people that make the rules what to do.  They just make new rules.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.