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Case update 07 July 2023

Net zero: we are taking the Government back to court

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Good Law Project is taking legal action with Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth to ensure the Government tackles the climate crisis.

We’re now in the crucial decade to stop irreversible damage from global heating, but our Government still hasn’t produced a realistic plan to tackle the climate emergency.

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Last year, we teamed up with Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth, and went to the High Court to successfully force the Government to rewrite its woefully inadequate net zero strategy.

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But the plan that Ministers came back with – the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan – still isn’t up to scratch.

The independent Climate Change Committee recently concluded that the Government has lost leadership on climate action and made decisions that were “utterly unacceptable”. The CCC thinks that the UK is failing to hit its climate targets on almost every front.

Alarm bells should be ringing across Whitehall. Having a serious plan to tackle the climate crisis cannot wait. And it’s not just our planet at stake, but also our economy, energy security and ability to compete on the global stage when it comes to developing green infrastructure and technologies.

It’s vital that we can all see if the Government’s flagship plan for tackling the climate emergency is actually going to work. So it is deeply alarming that the Government’s new plan does not properly set out the risks of key policies missing these essential climate goals.

We’re joining forces with Friends of the Earth and Client Earth again to launch a multipronged legal challenge against the Government over its new net zero strategy.

In last year’s landmark judgment, the High Court ruled that the Government’s original net zero strategy didn’t meet the Government’s obligations under the Climate Change Act to produce detailed climate policies that show how the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets will be met.

That judgment compelled the Government to publish a new net zero strategy – the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan – with the detail necessary for public and Parliamentary scrutiny.

But, after carefully studying the new plan, lawyers for Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project all think this revised plan breaches the Climate Change Act too. And so, alongside Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth, we are again taking the Government to court.

Good Law Project’s legal challenge focuses on the Government’s failure to include a proper assessment of the delivery risks associated with the policies and proposals in the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan.

We believe that this is unlawful because it is a breach of section 14 of the Climate Change Act 2008, which requires the Secretary of State to publish sufficient information to allow meaningful scrutiny of the government’s net zero policies.

We want to help the public and Parliament to hold the Government to account on its new climate change strategy and to stop Ministers from hiding vital information.

To bring this legal challenge, we need your help. If you are able to support us, you can do so here.