A judge with gavel in court (representative Image). Photograph:( Twitter )
A group of law students has launched a case against New Zealand's minister of energy in Wellington's high court over her decision to issue two new onshore oil and gas development licences barely six months after the government declared a climate emergency.
On the one hand, country representatives gathered in Glasgow to finalise the details of a global campaign to limit global warming to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius.
Students in New Zealand, on the other end, are suing their government for allowing new oil and gas drilling.
Students for Climate Solutions served the lawsuit on Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods as the vital United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow neared its closing days.
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“For so long, we have had indisputable science that extracting fossil fuels needs to stop now … The permits would allow drilling for another 10 years. That is just completely unreasonable,” said the group’s co-founder, Phoebe Nikolaou.
According to a major energy assessment released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), exploration licences must be terminated immediately in order to maintain global warming within the relatively safe zone of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
According to the students, Megan Woods' June decision to issue exploration permits in the Taranaki area violates the government's legal obligations under the country's Zero Carbon Act and the Paris agreement, and she failed to consider key facts such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recent warnings about the severity of climate change.
(With inputs from agencies)