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Case update 02 February 2022

New: We’re making sure the Government meets its ‘Net Zero’ climate crisis commitments

We have launched a new challenge against the Government over its dangerously threadbare Net Zero strategy, at a time when the UK and the planet cannot afford to rely on empty words on the climate crisis. 

Good Law Project is taking legal action to force the Government to produce a revised and strengthened strategy by 30 June this year; one that sets out specific, data-driven plans to ensure the UK meets its commitments to confront the climate crisis. 

The Government is legally required under the Climate Change Act to produce a climate change budget every five years. This budget is meant to map out how the UK will become a country that doesn’t contribute to global heating, a country that’snet zero, by 2050. The law states that each budget must have clear plans for what the Government is going to do and how each action, when added together, will mean the UK meets its carbon reduction targets. 

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There is no way the current Net Zero strategy meets the Government’s legal obligations under that act. Right now, it’s just warm words and indicative plans. The Government isn’t measuring the emissions reductions each initiative is meant to achieve. And while the strategy sets the grand target of a 78 per cent reduction in emissions by 2035 and Net Zero by 2050, it contains no proposals for how we will actually get there. We believe this is unlawful.

What’s more, the Government is, inexplicably, refusing to release the documents that set out its calculations of expected emissions reductions for each initiative. Good Law Project has applied to the High Court to force them to disclose these documents.

The climate crisis isn’t a distant problem. It’s happening now. We see its effects every day. The Met Office has already predicted that 2022 will be one of the hottest years on record. Last July it issued the UK’s first ever amber extreme heat warning. And summer flash floods brought chaos to the West Midlands. On New Year’s Day, people were left wondering why they didn’t have to wear jumpers. The only question left is: what will we do with this knowledge? What part will the UK play in keeping global heating below 1.5 C? 

Around the country, community groups and businesses are working hard to reduce their carbon footprints, but this will be in vain unless the Government steps up too. We need a strategy that covers the entire country and puts real energy, support and resources behind this. There can be no more delays. 

We have a duty as one of the world’s wealthiest nations to take the lead. How will we look future generations in the eye if we don’t? 

Read our Pre-Action Protocol letter to the Government here. Read their response here

Good Law Project only exists thanks to donations from people across the UK. If you’re in a position to support this case, you can do so here.

Good Law Project has instructed Jason Coppel QC and Peter Lockley at 11KBW, along with Baker McKenzie.