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We’re demanding answers from Government about how it can still expect to hit net zero

21st September 2023

Despite his rowing back on climate pledges, Rishi Sunak claims that his Government can somehow still hit its legally binding net zero target, so we have asked it to show its working.

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Today, we have written to the Net Zero Secretary, Claire Coutinho, suggesting we are likely to challenge, in the High Court, her Government’s backsliding on Net Zero. 

The letter demands answers as to how the Government expects to fulfill its legally-binding duty to meet upcoming carbon budgets whilst weakening its commitment on key green policies. The letter points out that the independent Climate Change Committee had grave concerns about whether the  Government would meet those carbon budgets – even before yesterday’s backsliding. The letter notes the Committee’s warning, in response to Sunak’s watering down of net zero policies, that his announcement “is likely to take the UK further away from its legal commitments”.

Last year, we went to the High Court and successfully forced the Government to rewrite its original inadequate and unlawful net zero strategy. We had already brought legal proceedings alongside ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth challenging its second attempt to meet its legal duties. Today’s letter posits that we will extend our existing challenge or bring fresh legal proceedings in the absence of satisfactory answers to our questions.

The Government’s lack of commitment to getting to net zero is clear: in recent months, we have seen it announce a North Sea Oil and Gas licensing bonanza and completely fail to expand offshore wind projects.

Yesterday, Rishi Sunak proclaimed that “we’re now going to have a better, more honest debate about how we get there.” We plan to hold him to that promise. 

To bring our legal challenge, we need your help. Any donation, whether big or small, will help us to hold our Government to account over net zero and fight for our planet. You can support us here.


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