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One of NZ’s most contentious climate cases is moving forward. And the world is watching

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The Supreme Court of New Zealand has overturned previous rulings, granting Māori elder Mike Smith the right to proceed with his lawsuit against some of New Zealand's largest greenhouse gas emitters
• Smith's lawsuit aims to establish civil liability for the negative impacts of climate change on his family's and tribe's land, water, and cultural values

🔭 The context: Mike Smith, representing Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahu tribes, filed the lawsuit against major corporate entities, including Fonterra, for their roles in emitting greenhouse gases or supplying fossil fuels
• The case, which seeks to establish new grounds for civil liability in the context of climate change, could adjust the application of tort law to modern environmental challenges

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: This landmark decision may pave the way for new legal avenues in climate law, potentially influencing global climate litigation
• By recognizing the potential for civil liability for climate damages, it underscores the legal system's evolving role in addressing environmental issues and holding large emitters accountable

⏭️ What's next: The case now returns to the High Court for a full trial, where Smith's claims, based on public nuisance, negligence, and a proposed "climate system damage" tort, will be further examined
• This could lead to significant legal precedents on corporate responsibility for climate change, with implications for global climate litigation

💬 One quote: "The Supreme Court rejected [the corporate emitters'] argument... a judicial pathway is 'open for the common law to operate, develop and evolve'."

📈 One stat: The seven corporate defendants are associated with around 30% of total New Zealand emissions, in a country contributing less than 0.2% of global emissions.

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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