New Zealand law student launches climate change court case

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

Law student Sarah Thomson is taking the government to court over its action on climate change.

Waikato University student Sarah Thomson said outside the High Court at Wellington on Monday: "I feel a lot of people have their hopes on this, because a lot of people want to see change".

Thomson with her supporters outside court on Monday morning.

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Thomson says she chose to launch the lawsuit two years ago after becoming "terrified" about what her future could look like.

He told the Court that any process must be based on consensus and that climate change reduction needed to be a collective effort. Every year we're experiencing more extreme weather events, including cyclones, droughts and floods, which are leaving entire communities devastated. "She is showing and helping provide that forum where we can all come together and say we need to work together urgently". "I want them to actually care about the future of young New Zealanders because we're the ones who are going to be dealing with the consequences".

She has the backing of several world-renowned climate change experts, including the "father of climate change awareness", former NASA researcher, James Hansen, who is giving evidence in the case.

In her preliminary statement of defence, Bennett has denied that the New Zealand government needs to set a target that strengthens the global response to climate change to hold warming to "well below" 2C, with an aim of 1.5C, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement.

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Thomson is challenging the government over commitments that include a pledge under the Paris climate accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

"New Zealand has to be a part of global action".

He said those setting the climate targets had to take into account a range of matters and act in a way that did not threaten the world's food production.

Thomson is taking the government to court in hopes of forcing it to set more ambitious climate change targets.

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"So far, the Government has shirked its responsibilities by saying New Zealand is too small to make a difference, but it's just not a legitimate excuse when we're facing a problem that requires global action and accountability.", she says.

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