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Friends of the Earth re-challenges government in court over their revised climate plan

FoE

The UK government is bound by the Climate Change Act of 2008, which dictates that “it is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 100% lower than the 1990 baseline”. In other words, since 2008 the UK has been working towards the achievement of net zero emissions, and in doing so the governments have produced various policy plans to ensure the target is adhered to.

However, Friends of the Earth (FoE) took the government to court in 2022 to challenge their Net Zero Strategy, believing it to be thoroughly inadequate. Alongside ClientEarth and the Good Law Project, FoE won their case, and the government was forced to re-write their strategy and produce a plan that would outline exactly how we are going to meet the 2050 target. The result of this was the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, published in March 2023.

FoE, however, are back in court this week to re-challenge the Plan, believing it to still be lacking key details and strategies that will lead to tangible reductions in carbon emissions. They aren’t the only ones who think so; the Climate Change Committee (CCC), upon analysing the Plan, found that only 19% of the proposed plans are credible and will lead to actual reductions. Lord Deben, former chair of the CCC, has “made a dramatic intervention” in the case by providing a witness statement in support of FoE.

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) is contesting the claim at the High Court. Jonathan Moffett KC, representing DESNZ, said Grant Shapps (former Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero) had “sufficient information” when he approved the publication of the Plan. David Wolfe KC, for FoE, countered that the information and risks highlighted in the Plan were not made available for adequate public or government scrutiny.

The ultimate judgment for this case may take 2-4 months. The likelihood of a “greener and healthier world” rests upon it.

To keep up to date with the work of Friends of the Earth, follow them on Instagram/Twitter: @friends_earth, or visit their website (www.friendsoftheearth.uk).

 

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