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UK government's Net Zero strategy is inadequate, High Court finds

FoE

Amid soaring temperatures and emergency heat warnings, three climate justice groups (Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth, and Good Law Project), alongside environmental campaigner Joanna Wheatley, celebrated a landmark victory in a ruling from the High Court yesterday.

In June of this year, they brought their case forwards against the UK government and Greg Hands, the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The groups challenged the adequacy of the government’s Net Zero strategy, arguing that the Net Zero policies would not fully meet the legally-binding emissions reductions targets.

The strategy, the High Court concluded, was incompatible with the 2019 Climate Change Act, which bound the government to achieve Net Zero by 2050. The 2019 Act also required them to enshrine formal carbon policies in law; the climate justice groups believed that the government lacked specificity, and that by 2050 the reduction targets would not be met.

This High Court ruling will force the government to expand and refine their Net Zero strategy. Katie de Kauwe, lawyer for Friends of the Earth, said: “We’re proud to have worked on this historic case. Taking strong action to cut carbon emissions is a win-win. Not only is it essential to preventing climate breakdown, but we can also tackle the cost of living crisis with cheap, renewable energy.

“This landmark ruling is a huge victory for climate justice and government transparency. It shows that the Climate Change Act is a piece of legislation which has teeth, and can, if necessary, be enforced through our court system if the government does not comply with its legal duties.”

Following the ruling, Good Law Project said: “The illegality of its landmark climate change strategy is a huge political embarrassment to the Government… The Net Zero target must be a road map to a sustainable future – not a lie we tell our children.”

To read the full hearing report follow this link - https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/FoE-v-BEIS-judgment-180722.pdf 

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