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Case update 01 June 2022

Net Zero: We’ll see you in Court next week

One week from today, we will be at the High Court to argue for a stronger Net Zero Strategy that’s truly fit for purpose. 

The UK Government’s Net Zero Strategy is meant to be a roadmap for how we reduce greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible by 2050. For the strategy to have any meaning it must be specific and quantified, otherwise it’s just handwaving. The Government talks a good game, but it hasn’t actually set out how we will get to Net Zero. 

We’re in Court on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 June with our co-claimant Jo Wheatley, a committed climate activist for nearly 40 years, to argue that the only way the Government can properly meet the threat of the climate crisis is with a strategy that has clearly defined targets. If we’re successful, the Government will be forced to fill in the gaps in its plans. 

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Jo says she “wants the UK to have a Net Zero Strategy that treats the climate and biodiversity situation like the emergency it is, with measurable, realistic actions that set us on the right path. I want my grandchildren to have a liveable future; one they can thrive and be happy in.” She’s terrified that “we’re wasting the opportunity to wake up from sleepwalking into disaster.” 

Her fears are well founded. The current strategy falls far-short of the Government’s obligations under the Climate Change Act. For example, the aviation industry is set to grow by 65 percent by 2050, but to meet Net Zero this needs to stop at 25 percent. However, the strategy doesn’t contain a single measure that would slow the industry’s growth. Instead, it makes risky bets on unproven and speculative technologies, and fails to properly set out how these will reduce emissions enough to meet their targets.

By granting us permission to bring a judicial review, the High Court has acknowledged that there are important questions about the strategy that must be answered. This could be a pivotal moment in determining how we, as a nation, respond to the climate crisis. 

As energy bills soar, the Government must invest in green alternatives. We have the chance to transform our future, but we need to face up to the scale of the crisis. 

Our arguments will be heard alongside those of ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth, who have also brought claims in relation to the Government’s Net Zero Strategy.

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Good Law Project only exists thanks to donations from people across the UK. If you’re able to support our Net Zero legal action, you can do so here.