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Climate Change law is a fast paced and growing field of legal practice in New Zealand. This website is devoted to blogging on the latest developments in this legal area, providing critical legal analysis of relevant case law and stimulating legal debate on the implementation of mitigation as well as adaptation solutions to climate change in New Zealand.

Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc v Electoral Commission [2014] NZHC 2135

Released on 8 September 2014 Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc v Electoral Commission [2014] NZHC 2135 the High Court discussed whether certain websites such as “Climate Voter” and the associated Simon Bridges website produced by Greenpeace were election advertisements under s 3A of Electoral Act 1993.

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Tuvalu Climate Change Refugees?

The second round of climate change refugee cases hit the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal in June with AC (Tuvalu) [2014] NZIPT 800517-520 and AD (Tuvalu) [2014] NZIPT  501370-371. The decisions have made world headlines because the family who held expired visitors permits were granted resident visas in circumstances where it was argued that the effects of climate change were among exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature so that the family could stay in New Zealand.

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Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis

Ian Angus and Simon Butler Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2011) provides a revisionist approach to the argument that overpopulation is a primary cause of climate change. The authors argue that the focus should be on ensuring sustainability of natural resources in order to align western and third world countries. Read more

A Reply to Climate Change and the RMA

Allison Arthur-Young and Jess Riddell in “Climate Change and the RMA” [2014] NZLJ 82 at 84 (“Arthur-Young and Riddell”) argue that climate change is a “global issue, requiring a global response from national governments to ensure a consistent approach.” They adhere to the arguments accepted by the Supreme Court in West Coast ENT Inc v Buller Coal Ltd [2013] NZSC 87 (“Buller Coal”) that “the RMA’s primarily local focus puts it at odds with managing the global issue of climate change” (at 82). The article recycles the arguments that the activity of mining coal is not burning of that coal and that there is an inherent difficulty in controlling extraterritorial effects under the RMA. Read more

Jane McAdam “Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law”

Jane McAdam Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012) is the definitive and staple text for those considering the international legal implications of migration as a result of climate change. Read more

Annie Cao “Climate Change Considerations in Energy Decision Making”

Annie Cao’s honours dissertation in law from the University of Auckland entitled “Climate Change Considerations in Energy Decision Making: A Comparative Analysis of New Zealand, California and Denmark”  adds a new perspective on the Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act 2004. In this dissertation, Cao canvasses the different approaches to renewable and non-renewable energy applications in New Zealand, California and Denmark.  Read more

The Anadarko: Greenpeace v EPA [2013] NZHC 3482

On the 19 November 2013, the Noble Bob Douglas, drilling ship for the Texas Oil Giant Anadarko was met in New Zealand waters by six boats forming the Oil-Free Seas Flotilla.[1] Later that week, there were 34 protests on beaches around the country with over 1000 people at Piha to protest against deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand waters.[2] On the 26 November 2013, the Oil-Free Seas Flotilla disbanded and Greenpeace filed judicial review proceedings against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging the process by which Anadarko was given permission to drill.[3] Read more

Sea Level Rise and LIMs

In Weir v Kapiti Coast District Council [2013] NZHC 3522, Williams J decided that LIMs (Land Information Memorandums) are required to consider sea level rise under s 44A of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. What has been left open is the extent to which information about future changes to the shoreline must be included. This has important implications for how District Councils are protect themselves from the duty of care in negligence. Read more

Carbon Capture and Storage: Designing the Legal and Regulatory Framework for New Zealand

In September 2013, Barry Barton, Kimberley Jordan and Greg Severinsen released a 424 page report entitled “Carbon Capture and Storage: Designing the Legal and Regulatory Framework for New Zealand” for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the New Zealand Carbon Capture and Storage Partnership in conjunction with the University of Waikato. Read more

Ioane Teitiota v The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment [2013] NZHC 3125

In Ioane Teitiota v The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment [2013] NZHC 3125 it was held that the concept of a climate change refugee was not able to fit within the framework of the Immigration Act 2009. This was because the applicant was not subjected to persecution required for the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Read more