Environmental organizations bring legal challenge against UK government’s climate plans News
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Environmental organizations bring legal challenge against UK government’s climate plans

Three non-governmental organizations filed for a judicial review claim on Friday against the UK government over its revised climate change strategy. The organizations seek to challenge the lawfulness of the government’s new plans, claiming they are “inadequate” to address the threat of climate change.

Environmental and legal organizations Friends of the Earth, Client Earth and Good Law Project filed their claim against UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Carbon Budget Delivery Plan with the High Court. The organizations allege that Sunak’s net-zero policy, termed the “Green Day plan,” breaches the Climate Act 2008 and fails to provide adequate information on the government’s risk assessment of these policies and the possibility of them not being met.

Client Earth CEO Laura Clarke commented on the new climate change plan they are challenging:

The government’s new plan to reduce emissions is not fit for purpose. It relies heavily on unproven and high-risk technological fixes at the expense of near-term action – yet the government ‘assumes’ that it will be delivered in full, despite these stark risks. People in the UK and globally need to see the UK take urgent, decisive climate action.  But instead, we see hesitation and delay from the government and are almost certain to miss emissions reduction targets.

The organization’s Friday claim follows a year after the same organizations brought and won a similar legal challenge against the government’s previous climate change plans in July 2022. The High Court held that the government’s previous policies were insufficient, failing to show how their targets would be met. The High Court also found that, because of this, the policies were in breach of the Climate Change Act.

In response to the court’s July 2022 ruling, the government published the Green Day Plan in March 2023. The 3,000 page document outlines how the UK plans to cut greenhouse emissions, concluding that by 2030 they only expected to reduce emissions by 92 percent, falling short of their net zero goal. At the time of its publication, UK Climate Change Committee Chairwoman Julia King stated that “the last decade has been a lost decade in terms of preparing for and adapting to the risks, the risk we already have and those that we know are coming.”