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The net zero plans of UK ministers are once again being brought to court.
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The net zero plans of UK ministers are once again being brought to court.

British government officials are being taken to court for a second instance regarding their proposal to comply with legally enforceable goals for mitigating climate change. This comes after environmental organizations criticized the revised measures as being unrealistic and unattainable.

Environmentalists have successfully compelled the government to revise its climate action plan through legal intervention. However, these groups are once again pursuing legal action against the updated plans, citing concerns over their reliance on potentially dangerous technological solutions and numerous inadequacies.

According to Katie de Kauwe, a lawyer representing Friends of the Earth, we think that the government’s updated plan for addressing climate change is unrealistic. It does not provide essential details on the actual dangers of its policies potentially not achieving the necessary reductions in carbon emissions required by law. Additionally, it heavily relies on untested technologies.

The authorities should be honest and admit that this is a dangerous and risky strategy. Instead, they should create a viable and legal plan that guarantees the achievement of all our climate goals, including our promise to reduce emissions by two thirds by 2030.

On Tuesday, a “rolled-up hearing” at the high court in London will be held by Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth, and the Good Law Project to argue for a judicial review of the government’s carbon budget delivery plan.

The published plan in March 2023 is being challenged for not meeting the criteria set by the Climate Change Act (CCA) 2008. This act legally requires the government to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The most recent strategy was created following a ruling by judges in 2022, who ordered the government to review its plan. This came after the three organizations successfully argued that the government was not in compliance with the CCA.

Sam Hunter-Jones, a lawyer for ClientEarth, said: “The UK government continues to rely on pie-in-the-sky measures to address a crisis that needs real, immediate action – an approach the UK’s flagship law the Climate Change Act was designed to prevent.

Ministers are supporting a strategy that relies heavily on risky technological solutions and fails to address the gaps pointed out by their own expert advisors.

This method contradicts important legal obligations and deviates from the UK’s obligation to meet its legally binding promises, which is why we are taking the matter to court again.

Emma Dearnaley, the legal director of the Good Law Project, stated that the government has acknowledged to them that their net zero plan carries significant risks. The government’s key policies may not be met within the legally binding timeframes, but ministers are refusing to disclose crucial information in order to avoid embarrassment.

“The current state of our planet and economy demands a change. In order for the government to address the flaws in its net zero strategy and take necessary actions, it is crucial for us to have a clear understanding of the risks involved. Therefore, once the risk tables are brought up in court, we intend to make them publicly available.”

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s representative defended the government’s accomplishments. They stated, “The UK has successfully reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% since 1990, all while experiencing a nearly 80% growth in the economy.”

The government has successfully exceeded all previous carbon budgets and is on course to reach our upcoming targets, which are among the most challenging globally.

“I am unable to provide any additional statements regarding ongoing legal proceedings, but our goal of achieving net zero in a practical manner remains steadfast. This will not only decrease energy costs, but also generate employment opportunities throughout the UK and decrease emissions.”

Source: theguardian.com