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NZ can't fix climate change alone: Crown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017

New Zealand needs to think about its climate change goals in a global context, lawyers defending the government's policies have told a court.

In a New Zealand first, law student Sarah Thomson has taken the government to the High Court at Wellington seeking a judicial review of its climate change targets.

A three-day hearing began on Monday.

On Tuesday, Ms Thomson's lawyer, Davey Salmon, concluded his opening remarks with nine points as to why climate change targets need to be changed, including intergenerational equity, the effect on developing and low lying countries, and the impact of delayed action.

However, the lawyer for the government, Peter Gunn, says both sides actually have substantial agreements between them.

"[Climate change] needs to be addressed seriously and promptly," he told the court.

However, even if New Zealand reduced its emissions to zero, it wouldn't affect change globally, he said.

"New Zealand has to be a part of global action. New Zealand cannot do it on its own."

Ms Thomson, 26, has challenged the argument New Zealand's size and population mean it can't set more ambitious targets than are currently in place.

There has been a number of similar cases around the world.

Mr Salmon told Justice Jillian Mallon that they didn't want the court to set new targets, but for the government to "go back and make the decision properly".

Among the targets up for a review is the goal to reduce greenhouse emissions to 11 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to limit global warming to 2C.

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