21 Jul 2015

Court rejects climate change hearing

11:40 am on 21 July 2015

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from a man who claims climate change has forced him to seek asylum in New Zealand.

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Climate change is already having an impact on Kiribati and other low-lying islands, the country's president says. Photo: AFP / SPC

Ioane Teitiota has been battling deportation to Kiribati since 2011, when he overstayed his visa.

He argues he faces indirect persecution from global warming in his home country.

In its decision, the Supreme Court said while Kiribati undoubtedly faces challenges, Mr Teitiota did not face serious harm if he was returned there.

The court said there was no evidence the government of Kiribati was failing to take steps to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation.

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President Anote Tong has called on the global community to find ways to help the country adapt to climate change effects. Photo: RNZ

Kiribati's president, Anote Tong, recently described climate change as the biggest humanitarian challenge of our time.

He said Kiribati and other low-lying countries were already feeling the effects.

The president called on the global community must come up with ways to help the country adapt to the effects of climate change, which could include creating floating islands.