Lawyers for Climate Action NZ v. The Climate Change Commission
Jurisdiction: High Court
Principle law(s): Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act (amending the Climate Change Response Act 2002)
Side A: Lawyers for Climate Action (Ngo)
Side B: Climate Change Commission (Government)
Core objectives: Whether the New Zealand Climate Change Commission made insufficient emissions cuts recommendations
SummaryOn July 1, 2021, a group of hundreds of New Zealand lawyers sued the country's Climate Change Commission and the Minister for Climate Change alleging that the Commission's recommendations to the Minister violated New Zealand law and the Paris Agreement. Plaintiffs allege that the Commission's carbon budgets are inconsistent with holding warming to 1.5C, that it understated required emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement by applying the IPCC's pathways to gross rather than net CO2 emissions, and that the commission unlawfully relies on the uncertain prospect of paying other countries to reduce their emissions. Together, these actions violated New Zealand's Climate Change Response Act and its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
The hearing took place from 28 February to 3 March 2022.
Related laws and policies
The Climate Change Response Act 2002 established an institutional and legal framework for New Zealand to ratify and meet its obligations and the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. To this end, the Act authorised the Minister of Finance to manage New Zeal...