New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern. By Newzild - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, link

New Zealand Lawyers Sue Government Over Alleged Carbon Budget Miscalculation

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

When virtue signalling goes bad; Back in March, WUWT published an academic allegation that the New Zealand government is trying to cheat on their own carbon budget. Now the lawyers have moved in for the kill.

New Zealand lawyers sue climate change body over alleged failure to meet targets

Lawyers say commission’s emissions budgets are inconsistent with aim of limiting global warming to 1.5C

Eva Corlett in Wellington
Fri 2 Jul 2021 13.24 AEST

Hundreds of top New Zealand lawyers are suing the Climate Change Commission for what they say are substantial errors in its advice to the government over reducing carbon emissions.

The IPCC report looked at what the world needs to do to limit global warming to 1.5C. To achieve the goal, net Co2 emissions would have to be reduced by an average of 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050.

The commission has advised the minister for climate change, James Shaw, who is named as a second respondent in the proceedings, on New Zealand’s targets up until 2030, using the IPCC’s report.

To calculate those targets, Cooper said 45% should be subtracted from New Zealand’s net Co2 levels in 2010, which would equal 484 megatonnes of Co2 by 2030. That is a reduction from the country’s previous target of 596 megatonnes by 2030. Statistics NZ has also adopted this calculation.

The commission took a different approach and applied the 45% reduction to gross Co2 levels in 2010, reaching a 2030 goal of 568 megatonnes and resulting in a much higher amount of Co2 being released than if the lawyers’ calculations are applied.

Read more:

In my opinion there is no chance either target calculation will be met, even the dodgy one. New Zealand is very cold in winter.

A few New Zealand towns like Rotorua, located inside the caldera of the Taupo supervolcano, people can reduce their winter energy bills by spending an afternoon digging a pit, laying a heat pipe along the upper edge of the lava reservoir bubbling away just beneath their houses. Or they can run a pipe out to one of the many places where the lava has already broken through to the surface. But most people in New Zealand need lots of fossil fuel goodness when the weather turns cold.

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July 4, 2021 2:21 pm

Even assuming one believed that atmospheric CO2 levels control global temperatures, if New Zealand stopped emitting CO2 entirely it would have NO measurable impact on the earth’s temperature. None. Don’t they understand that?.It’s religion, not science they are promoting.

Chris Nisbet
Reply to  Dave
July 4, 2021 3:51 pm

The report produced by the climate change commission gave us an idea of what they think NZs yearly contribution to global warming is.
Strap yourself in. According to them, it’s about 0.00002’C per year. See page 188 of the report.
Oddly, the report doesn’t dwell on this and spends lots more time describing all the ways we need to wreck our way of life to avoid such enormous overheating.

Reply to  Chris Nisbet
July 4, 2021 5:24 pm

Paris agreement means they have to ‘do their part’
The Zero Carbon Act passed by the government with unanimous backing from the conservative national party ( who as previous government had signed the Paris Accord) says there must a be a ‘plan’

Reply to  Duker
July 4, 2021 8:25 pm

Actually signing an international agreement sounds so quaint in terms of modern USA policy. Just a single signature from any questionable source seems to be good enough.

Reply to  Spetzer86
July 4, 2021 8:52 pm

The President signs international agreements all the time, other countries governments have an easier path to ratifying an agreement, and in this case it was supported in their parliament.
Even if it was a ratified by Senate treaty like the INF it still can be undone by a President saying it is so.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Dave
July 4, 2021 4:26 pm

Pretty country. Daft politics.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 4, 2021 5:20 pm

Never, ever let Socialists near the levers of power. Make them remain cranky, back-bench voices with no real power but running their mouth which sane people must ignore.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 4, 2021 6:20 pm

Joe Biden got a record turnout from those socialists or did he 😉

You can hack a pipeline but it impossible to hack an election 🤓

Reply to  Derg
July 4, 2021 8:49 pm

Thats because the election software is essentially ‘ballot printers’ , you use a touch screen to make your choices and (for the US style dozens of choices: President to School Board ballot) those candidates are selected only are printed out on a single formatted sheet of paper. That paper becomes the record of your vote to check, with President choice at the top, and its then scanned into vote counting software and retained as backup for checking.
Many places they both did ‘recounts’ via the vote counting, checking all the votes were scanned properly and even some where the paper ballots were counted manually ( only for President).
The Pipeline software wasnt hacked , it was the company that ran the system had their office computers hacked- usual method email links- and they closed the offices to restore and shut the pipeline software system as a precaution.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  Duker
July 5, 2021 5:56 am

Recounts don’t prove anything. Only an audit that checks the mail envelope and the signature envelope can tell you whether there are election irregularities. In Missoula they did such an audit and 7% of the mail in ballots were invalid.

Reply to  Rich Davis
July 5, 2021 12:11 am

Is not NZ covered by forest ? I read that NZ native trees are evergreen
, But this has no Bering on the subject after all what do trees eat ?????

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nottoobrite
July 5, 2021 4:50 pm

I guess NZ is around 38% forested and most of the tree species are evergreen as you said.

38% is only about half as much as New England but almost triple the UK. So I guess it depends on your perspective, whether you think it’s “covered by forest”.

Trees use CO2 and water to make cellulose and other carbohydrates.

So what was your point in asking me that?

Reply to  Dave
July 4, 2021 11:36 pm

I came across the word ‘Sciosophy’ for the first time yesterday. It describes climate science perfectly.

Last edited 1 year ago by JeffC
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Dave
July 5, 2021 9:07 am

Dave commented “It’s religion, not science they are promoting.”

Could well be. However, their climate woke-ism is more easily explained as just “virtue signaling”.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 6, 2021 4:39 am

That makes sense. There are true believers but probably more who pretend to believe in order to be accepted.

Looking at how Christianity has collapsed, it must be obvious that most people just went along to get along.

You now have the opposite situation where traditional believers hide their faith to avoid hassle.

July 4, 2021 2:22 pm

Eric, have you ever smelled Rotorua?

The last thing you’d want to do is dig up the ground there to expose whatever has been buried under it.

I reckon that ‘rotorua” is Maori for – “hey, who cut the cheese”

Reply to  Mr.
July 4, 2021 2:25 pm

Sounds like a great place to bury some lawyers.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
July 4, 2021 4:38 pm

The lawyers would get really steamed if you did that to them!

Reply to  Mr.
July 4, 2021 3:28 pm

I love the smell of sulphur in the morning.
Smells like –

Reply to  Mr.
July 4, 2021 5:26 pm

I lived their for some time, my home was 20 min away from town centre and no smells at all. Only a few areas near the CBD were sulpherous smell, most of the city proper doesnt have any smells

Coeur de Lion
July 4, 2021 2:25 pm

The whole thing is quite mad! Do these lawyers believe any of this stuff or are they profiting from a racket?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 4, 2021 2:42 pm

Lawyers are paid to believe whatever they are told to believe

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 4, 2021 5:28 pm

This is worse , these lawyers are their own customer. Its an advocacy group of lawyers’ , who would have guessed, at least this time theres not ‘some school children as a front group.

Dan Sudlik
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 4, 2021 2:47 pm

The question namers itself😖

Dan Sudlik
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 4, 2021 2:47 pm

Answers itself

Kevin Hearle
July 4, 2021 2:31 pm

A few New Zealand towns like Rotorua, located inside the caldera of the Taupo supervolcano, people can reduce their winter energy bills by spending an afternoon digging a pit, laying a heat pipe along the upper edge of the lava reservoir bubbling away just beneath their houses. Or they can run a pipe out to one of the many places where the lava has already broken through to the surface”
This is uninformed rubbish If you want to maintain any semblance of credibility remove it. I live in this area I know.

Reply to  Kevin Hearle
July 4, 2021 3:07 pm

Partially true. The bubbling hot pools and steam vents originate far underground and many houses have taken advantage of the free heat from the hot water bubbling up but restrictions these days attempt to prevent this as it is believed the nearby geysers being tourist attractions were being adversely affected.

Reply to  Murph
July 4, 2021 6:49 pm

Kevin is exactly right.
How exactly does one lay a pipe along the upper edge of the lava reservoir? That reservoir is a number of miles down.
As to laying pipe in areas where the lava has broken through, where exactly is that.
Beyond that, sticking a pipe into lava is a good way to melt your pipe.

Reply to  Murph
July 5, 2021 12:19 am

Love it!! And how much do you think the local gov.will hit you for, digging on there property ignorance.

Reply to  Kevin Hearle
July 4, 2021 3:44 pm

Can you elaborate? I’ve never been to New Zealand.

Reply to  PaulH
July 4, 2021 4:14 pm

For a start Rotorua is NOT in the Taupo caldera. As Murph says, both Taupo (the town) and Rotorua do tap geothermal water
But laying pipes in and around lava? Doesn’t happen.
(I lived in and around Taupo for a number of years)

Last edited 1 year ago by StuM
Reply to  StuM
July 4, 2021 4:39 pm

Camped in Rotourua once, when the kids were young. The camp had laid pipes underground, The gasses emitted were piped to a kitchen, where you could cook, local Maouri style. The view of the edges of the giant Taupo caldera from the lake in the bottom (in town) was mind numbing once you realised the implications.

Reply to  PeterD
July 4, 2021 5:05 pm

Different caldera, but its part of a larger volcanic zone that does stretch beyond Lake Taupo

To bed B
Reply to  Kevin Hearle
July 4, 2021 4:51 pm

Rotorua sits in the Rotorua Caldera while Taupo is in the Taupo Caldera. It’s not that far off since both are part of the same volcanic zone.

No lava makes it to the surface. Just boiling mud.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 4, 2021 9:43 pm

Orakei Korako
Mud springs – yes
Geysers -yes
Hot pools – yes
Silica terraces – yes
Lava at the surface – NO!

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 4, 2021 11:42 pm

See Figure 3 in your link. Your attention is drawn to the three topmost layers. and the depth of the shallowest rhyolite intrusion at O-K. Also see: Page 6:
Shallow rhyolites that host the intermediate depth aquifer are not encountered in any of the Orakei Korako wells, limiting their extent to the Ngatamariki area. This is consistent with the district setting where discrete rhyolite domes of the Maroa Volcanic Complex (associated with the Whakamaru Caldera; Wilson et al., 1986; Figure 4) mainly occur at surface west of the Waikato River.

Last edited 1 year ago by StuM
Rory Forbes
July 4, 2021 2:34 pm

New Zealand has decided to try a new take on cancel culture. They intend to cancel them selves completely, leaving nothing but the stink of self satisfied virtue.

The IPCC report looked at what the world needs to do to limit global warming to 1.5C. To achieve the goal, net Co2 emissions would have to be reduced by an average of 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050.

Does that even have some sort of rational meaning?

Chris Hanley
July 4, 2021 2:40 pm

Who else other than the lawyers themselves can this action possibly benefit?
Charles Dickens on lawyers:
“… The one great principle of the English law is to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings. Viewed by this light it becomes a coherent scheme and not the monstrous maze the laity are apt to think it. Let them but once clearly perceive that its grand principle is to make business for itself at their expense, and surely they will cease to grumble …” (Bleak House).
“English law” being equally applicable to other anglophone legal systems.

July 4, 2021 2:43 pm

What do you mean very cold in winter, Central Otago only gets down to about -20 C in winter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Murph
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 4, 2021 5:19 pm

Geothermal steam power stations in that area around Taupo have capacity of 1GW that is demand driven and synchronous
The coldest part of the country has 3.6GW of hydro capacity, some of which is exported to North.
Mountainous countries with reasonable-high rainfall use hydro , and volcanic ones use geothermal steam.
Australia has the problem that its none of the above ( except tiny Tasmania) and its peak demand is when its HOT. ( very little a/c in NZ unless people use their reverse cycle heat pumps)
Australia is the place that cant meet those nonsense targets of Paris Accord because of its heat problem and not much hydro or geothermal.
As for solar power with back up batteries, a recent test in melbourne storms power blcakouts showed the most common Tesla cut out the next day , they didnt realise they had to live like hermits with the power on to make it last. And of course it needs mains/home generator to recharge when flat
What the Dandenong Ranges extended power outage teaches us about backup battery power

Reply to  Duker
July 5, 2021 9:39 pm

And yet Australia reduced its CO2 emissions by more than the amount mandated under the Kyoto agreement while NZ failed to meet theirs.That Australia’s excess reductions could not be counted towards the Paris agreement targets is one of the main reasons Australia would not sign on. Meanwhile NZ, continues to harp on about its commitment to CO2 emissions reduction while not actually achieving any.

Note: I am not for one moment suggesting that Australia should be aiming to reduce CO2 emissions at all and see the previous reductions as harmful since it would mostly have been due to de-industrialization of South Australia and Victoria. I just want to point out how sanctimonious and hypocritical the NZ government is (not that Australia’s is innocent in that regard).

Rob Thomson
Reply to  Murph
July 4, 2021 7:12 pm

Who said anything about cold here (NZ)? Todays news: It’s been 53 months since New Zealand saw one with a below-average temperature – and now Niwa climate scientists are redefining what’s “normal” weather in a warming world.
If its warmed every month for 53 months must be getting hot. Waiouru only -11.3 deg C this morning and recent snow is “a mere blip” in our 53 month of warming our experts say.

Reply to  Rob Thomson
July 5, 2021 2:44 am

Yes. Weather histories now exclude anything before 1980 as no longer historical, ….we only need consider hot or cold rain or drought since then as record breaking… unfortunately there are still people alive who can remember things from the 1950s onwards

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker
John K. Sutherland.
Reply to  Rob Thomson
July 5, 2021 5:50 am

MINUS 11.3 C? Or do you mean PLUS 11.3? Careless writing.

John K. Sutherland.
Reply to  Murph
July 5, 2021 5:52 am

Minus 20 C? That’s what you wrote. I think you meant either 20C or plus 20 C.

Reply to  John K. Sutherland.
July 5, 2021 2:21 pm

Minus 20 degrees C and even colder in Central Otago in the South island at times in winter. Waiouru in the North Island was minus 11.3 degrees C yesterday morning.

Rud Istvan
July 4, 2021 2:53 pm

Eric, suing over nonsense is what lawyers do. Even NZ lawyers.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 4, 2021 3:10 pm

Can’t they….can’t they do something about the worldwide toenail fungus infection that is mostly caused by climate change?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 4, 2021 3:16 pm

It was my understanding, in civil law, in order to sue someone it’s necessary to show compensatory damages such that a breach of duty has caused foreseeable loss. That will be damned hard to prove considering the track record of AGW predictions.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 4, 2021 5:22 pm

Its a judicial review type of hearing, claiming the decision was wrongly decided – ), but the lawyers are saying it would allow too much carbon ‘allowed’, i

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Duker
July 4, 2021 7:11 pm


I’m guessing the lawyers are all authorities on “climate” science and have some actual proof or even some evidence to support their claims.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 4, 2021 8:40 pm

Presumably they have affidavits from expert witnesses, which is usually how the expertise issue is addressed.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Duker
July 4, 2021 10:57 pm

Yes, I expect so. Once again trying to decide matters of science in court … more waste of time and money. There’s certainly no shortage of “experts” in that field.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 5, 2021 2:38 am

It’s not deciding climate science at all , as the Zero carbon Act is passed it’s merely are they counting carbon emissions from the proper starting point……it’s the height of insanity that it’s even come to this, the lawyers wouldn’t know their climate sensitivity from their latte , but they want to be seen ‘doing something’

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Duker
July 5, 2021 10:13 am

It’s not deciding climate science at all

Ah yes, to the real “true believer” the science is settled. Now it’s up to the courts to work out the proper way to divide up the spoils while everyone gets in on the virtue signalling. I guess the lawyers were feeling left out and wanted a place at the feeding trough.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 5, 2021 9:41 pm

Eric, suing over nonsense is what lawyers do. Even NZ lawyers.

The left eventually eats its own. It always has and always will since it is almost wholly non-productive

Mike Lowe
July 4, 2021 3:29 pm

I live in hope that one day, somewhere, a court will demand that these Alarmists prove their point before making their judgement. To me, a non-lawyer but one who was once accused by a lawyer of being a “bush lawyer”, that seems a very obvious first step. Unless, of course, the judge is already a follower of Saint Greta!

Reply to  Mike Lowe
July 4, 2021 5:45 pm

As the government and main opposition passed a Zero Carbon Act, it established a commission to calculate the ‘allowable carbon’ ( its mad but what they did) . Lawyers for the advocacy group of lawyers will say the ‘allowable carbon is too high’. Its essentially a calculation issue based on a policy. But as the judicial review has no powers to to anything more than ‘look at it all again’, nothing will come of it if they win ( except resume polishing)

July 4, 2021 4:04 pm

That’s also statistically equal to a lunch break in the coal mines and coal power plants in China.

To bed B
July 4, 2021 4:43 pm

I think only boiling mud makes it to the surface rather than lava.

July 4, 2021 5:16 pm

Here is the website with the science the lawyers are backing.

July 4, 2021 5:16 pm

Just a few problems we should not forget……..
NZ emits just 0.1% of global co2 emissions.
And the NZ govt estimated that to reach NET ZERO by 2050 would cost NZ 5 TRILLION $.
Lomborg’s expert team agrees with their 5 T $.

So the USA would have to find a lazy 690 T $.

China about 1475 T $.

EU about 488 T $ And all paid up and sealed and delivered by 2050.

Anyone starting to see a PROBLEM?????

Joel O'Bryan
July 4, 2021 5:18 pm

The more severe the target number reduction the sooner they will have to come face-to-face with reality of its failure.

July 4, 2021 5:32 pm

Here’s a link to Lomborg’s estimate of NZ’s task to reach net Zero.
This wouldn’t pass 1 electoral cycle and of course NO MEASURABLE CHANGE TO CLIMATE AND TEMP by whenever.

Michael in Dublin
July 4, 2021 5:33 pm

As I noted elsewhere that Ireland in 2017 only produced 0.1% of total world CO2 fossil fuel emissions. Likewise New Zealand. However, China that is building many more coal power stations is producing around 300 times as much at present and increasing. If both Ireland and New Zealand were able to reduce their fossil fuel emissions to zero this would have zero effect on the total world emissions.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael in Dublin
July 4, 2021 5:44 pm

National and financial suicide, to Quote Forest Gump. Stupid is as stupid does.
Unfortunately it’s not a box of chocolates, sane people know what they are going to get and it rhymes with sucked.

Jeff Labute
July 4, 2021 7:11 pm

How does this work?
It is counter-productive as far as the population is concerned I am sure.

The Government sets up an independent Climate Change Commission using input from ‘1point5’ Paul Winston (who is a founder of Temple Capital Investment). Government fails to meet targets, Government pays fines which is just a higher carbon tax? I don’t know what is going on, but it smells like Sulphur. Who gets the money in the end?

All because “Paul woke up and read an article in The Guardian”?

July 4, 2021 7:44 pm

The NZ PM doesn’t understand more than 2 syllables – she reacts to sound bites
unfortunately she has the NZ illiterate kids who support her – sad they wont have any heat food or jobs once she has destroyed the NZ forestry, dairy and hydrocarbon industries
But hey they saved the world – NOT

Reply to  John
July 4, 2021 8:38 pm

The Zero Carbon Act was supported unanimously by the conservative National party alongside the Green Party….do they have the illiterates on their side too?

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Duker
July 5, 2021 2:51 am

It appears so

July 4, 2021 8:40 pm

Well, lawyers are better than eco-terrorists nominated for federal agency posts in the U.S.

July 4, 2021 9:24 pm

Don’t the workers who would lose their jobs and the pensioners and other low or fixed income people who won’t be able to afford to keep the lights and heat on, don’t any of them have any lawyers ready to jump in and defend their rights?

Peta of Newark
July 4, 2021 10:40 pm

When I was still A Farmer, my little farm business occasionally used the services of a local solicitor/lawyer’s offce. They did father’s and mother’s wills and ‘crossed the Ts on any contracts as & when.

One of the partners in that modest little office went on to be elected as Member of Parliament for that part of the world. I was invited to his celebration party 😀
I didn’t go.

That election was an amazing result, it overturned a decades old Labour (left wing) stronghold.

My (serious) question:
What connection(s) did Mr Trump have, if any, with the ‘Legal Services Industry’?

Get my drift…… What or who (as a group) was actually behind Trump Derangement Syndrome?

There is actually precedent, if you think about it, for Buffoon Boris and his Princess.
In the shape of Tony and Cherie Blair

Especially that ‘somehow’ they produced 5 children while Cherie was some sort of ultra high flying London based lawyer.
But while Tony was Prime Minister and Cherie was ‘slaving away’ doing her lawyering and child rearing, the UK Statute Book (the number of legal laws and potential criminal offences you could be charged with) actually tripled in size.
How much new business for lawyers was in that?

Get my drift… see what Cherie did? See how she got it, esp in these days of falling birth rates.
Or am I being puritanical?

It all stinks even more Rotorua (apparently) does

Last edited 1 year ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 5, 2021 2:30 am

Pleeese, there was 8 years of obama derangement that preceded it, and Bush derangement before that
Facist dictator , check for Obama
Wild conspiracy theories, check
Anti Christ , check
It’s all there , remember even Trump going on about Obama’s constant golfing, which came back to bite him as he was an even bigger golfer

Owen Jennings
July 5, 2021 1:46 pm

The Government and its lapdog the Climate Change Commission have decided that agriculture in New Zealand contributes 48% of our GHG emissions – mostly ruminant methane. Readers here will know methane is 0.00018% of the atmosphere. They may also know that ruminants are climed to be contributing 14% of the planet’s methane. New Zealand has 1% of the world’s ruminants.

If you can find a calculator with a big enough window try working out what 1% of 14% of 0.00018% of the one degree of warming we have apparently enjoyed over the last 100 years or so. All that before you read Happer and Wijngaarden stating methane cannot move temperature in a measurable way.

July 6, 2021 2:58 am

New Zealand is weirder than you thought they were.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
July 6, 2021 2:15 pm

I think the closest early Maori got to science was astronomy. Not many modern Kiwis believe in the mumbo jumbo of the latest deviations of climate science.

July 6, 2021 6:45 am

I have wondered what happens after parliament writes into law a legally binding impossible aspiration. I presumed that at some point parliament would repeal the legeslation or it gets quietly forgotton. But it appears that lawyers spring up and sue the government so do they expect to be paid for this activity how does that work

Last edited 1 year ago by davidburrows9
July 11, 2021 5:27 pm

“The IPCC report looked at what the world needs to do to limit global warming to 1.5C. To achieve the goal, net Co2 emissions would have to be reduced by an average of 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050”

Which IPCC report is that? Do you have citation or link? Thanks.

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