20 Sep 2022

James Shaw open to another look at climate change rules

11:29 am on 20 September 2022
Climate Change Minister James Shaw speaks to media at Owhio Bay, which has been slammed by repeated storms, after revealing the National Adaptation Plan

The Minister for Climate Change says he is open to taking another look at whether legislation aimed at limiting global warming is up to the task. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The minister for climate change says he is open to taking another look at climate laws, irrespective of whether current legal challenges against the government to get stricter rules are successful.

The government has been taken to court a number of times this year by groups seeking deeper and faster cuts to emissions.

Some of those lawsuits proved unsuccessful, but others are yet to be decided.

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said arguments made by those who wanted more action were revealing when it came to whether the legislation was fit for purpose.

The legal challenges showed there could be an issue with the way the goal of keeping within 1.5 degrees of warming (as laid out in the legislation) was actually operationalised, he said.

"If the temperature threshold is the point of the entire legislation, then surely it should be part of the actual decision."

If court action revealed that climate change legislation was not protecting citizens effectively then it was worth reconsidering it, Shaw said.

Changes were not being actively investigated, and they were waiting on judgements to land.

He said the most likely scenario would be that any changes would be folded into future comprehensive nationwide plans to reduce emissions, called the Emissions Reduction Plan.

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