A High Court appeal by environment groups wanting climate change to be considered in coal mining decisions has begun in Christchurch.
Solid Energy and Buller Coal Limited have both applied for resource consents to set up new coal mines on the West Coast.
This year the Environment Court ruled that an amendment to the Resource Management Act meant climate change considerations were excluded from coal mining.
But the West Coast Environment Network says climate change is arguably the biggest challenge facing humanity.
The network and Forest and Bird have appealed against the decision to the High Court.