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Case Update

We’re challenging the Government to come clean on risks of missing net zero

30th August 2023

The Government refused to publish the risks facing its plan to reach net zero. Now the High Court will hear our case to force them to disclose the data.

Jamie Lorriman/ Alamy

We’re taking the Government to court over its failing strategy to reach net zero – for the second time.

Good Law Project is teaming up once more with Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth in a multi-pronged legal challenge. Last year, we successfully challenged the Government’s original strategy and our case sent Ministers back to the drawing board to produce a new Carbon Budget Delivery Plan.

Our new legal challenge focuses on the assessments carried out by the Department for Net Zero and Energy Security of the ways in which its policies might fail. The Government has told us during these legal proceedings that they have put together “risk tables” for the policies outlined in its Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, but it has refused to make them public.

We want to uncover just what it is they are trying to hide.

It’s impossible to tell whether a policy is effective without knowing anything about the difficulties it faces. The Climate Change Committee wasn’t able to see these risk tables before it published its damning report on the Government’s net zero strategy earlier this year. They must now be published to allow proper scrutiny from Parliament and from the public.

We are in the crucial decade to turn the tide on global heating, but we can only succeed if the policies we put in place are up to scratch. And with so much at stake, we won’t stand by and allow the Government to duck transparency once again.

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The Government’s refusal to publish this data flies in the face of the Climate Change Act 2008 and the landmark victory we won in the High Court last year, when we teamed up with Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth. The judge ordered the Government to come up with a net zero strategy that is fit for purpose and includes an assessment of the risks surrounding these policies.

We say the Government’s legal obligations are clear, but the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan published in March fails on both these counts. That’s why all three organisations are launching another round of legal action.

Over a three day hearing, the High Court will decide whether to allow our legal challenges to go ahead and, if it does decide to give the green light, it will then hear the substantive arguments together.

You can read our Statement of Facts and Grounds here.

With Rishi Sunak announcing a fossil-fuel licensing bonanza in the North Sea and throwing crucial green policies into question, it’s more important than ever to hold his Government to account over its legally binding net zero obligations.

But we can only do this with your help.

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This article is part of our Net Zero II: We are taking the Government back to court case

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

See more about this case