November 15, 2021
Climate case heads for Supreme Court
As delegates head home from COP 26 in Glasgow having made only incremental steps to address climate change, a Māori environmentalist is pushing to hold some of the country’s largest carbon emitters to account.
Mike Smith from Ngāti Kahu and Ngāpuhi, the climate change spokesperson for the Iwi Chairs’ Forum, is heading for the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal ruled he could not use common law to make Fonterra and the six other respondents reduce their emissions to net zero by 2030.
He says given the scope of the case, which includes establishing a new tort of breach of duty, it was always going to end up in the highest court.
The court was stating the obvious by saying it was up to Government to set the rules for New Zealand and to negotiate international frameworks.
“Our problem is that it’s not happening in a way that will prevent runaway climate change. The Government themselves have admitted the country cannot reduce emissions without business doing their part and without all of us doing their part, and that includes the courts,” Mr Smith says.
He says civil society needs to send a message to companies and politicians they need to do more and faster.