In June this year, 26-year old Hamilton law student, Sarah Thomson, spent five days in court challenging the Government over climate change targets she called “unambitious and irrational”. The case was the first of its kind in New Zealand.
The Court has just released findings that former Minister for Climate Change, Tim Grosser, acted unlawfully by failing to review New Zealand’s climate change response targets after the UN published an updated report on climate change.
Because incoming Minister, James Shaw, has already indicated that he will be setting a new target, the Court has not issued a formal order requiring the new Government to review its climate targets.
Thomson has said she will look to appeal the decision.
In response to today’s verdict, Greenpeace campaigner Amanda Larsson says:
“Sarah’s brave legal fight is an example of how her generation is stepping up to take responsibility for climate change. Today’s verdict gives the new Government a strong mandate to strengthen its ambition,” she says.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called climate change the ‘nuclear free moment’ of her generation. This epic court battle has created a national conversation around our responsibility to look after future generations.
“If Prime Minister Ardern is serious about making climate change her nuclear free moment, she will need to honour these strong words with strong action.
“The new Government’s target to bring climate emissions to zero by 2050 is bold, but it requires a strong plan and good policies in the immediate term.
“Ramping up ambition on climate change means putting an end to all new fossil fuel extraction in New Zealand. It means saying no to seismic blasting for oil off our coasts. And it means hastening the transition to 100% renewable energy and clean transport.”