UK High Court Rules Climate, Action Plan Unlawful

UK High Court rules government's Carbon Budget Delivery Plan unlawful due to lack of detail on policy delivery. The court orders a new plan within 12 months, marking the second High Court victory for environmental groups against the government's climate policies.

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UK High Court Rules Climate, Action Plan Unlawful

UK High Court Rules Climate, Action Plan Unlawful

The UK High Court has declared the government's Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP) unlawful in a landmark ruling. The court found that the plan, approved in March 2023, lacked sufficient information on how individual policies would be delivered to ensure the UK achieves its legally binding carbon budgets and pledge to cut emissions by more than two-thirds by 2030. Environmental charities Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth, and the Good Law Project took joint legal action against the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) over the plan's approval.

Why this matters: This ruling highlights the UK government's failure to provide a credible plan to address the climate, change, high crisis, which has significant implications for the country's ability to meet its carbon reduction targets and contribute to the global effort to limit global warming. The lack of a comprehensive plan also raises concerns about the government's ability to lead by example in international climate negotiations.

Mr Justice Sheldon ruled in favor of the charities, stating that the then-secretary of state, Grant Shapps, acted unlawfully by approving the plan without sufficient information on whether individual policies could be delivered in full. "If, as I have found, the Secretary of State did make his decision on the assumption that each of the proposals and policies would be delivered in full, then the Secretary of State's decision was taken on the basis of a mistaken understanding of the true factual position," the judge said. The court has ordered the governments, climate, high to produce a new plan within 12 months.

The judge found that the plan's details were "vague and unquantified" and did not provide Mr Shapps with "sufficient" information on whether the plan should be approved. This marks the second High Court victory for the three environmental groups against the Government over its climate policies. In 2022, a different judge ruled the Government's Net Zero Strategy was unlawful as ministers were not properly briefed on how individual policies would help meet climate targets set out in the sixth carbon budget, as required by the 2008 Climate Change Act (CCA).

Katie de Kauwe, a lawyer for Friends of the Earth, reacted to the high, governments, climate decision, saying, "This is another embarrassing defeat for the government and its reckless and inadequate climate plans. We urgently need a credible and lawful new action plan that puts our climate goals back on track and ensures we all benefit from a fair transition to a sustainable future."

Politicians from the opposition also criticized the government's handling of climate, action, high. Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary, stated, "This is a new low even for this clown show of a government that has totally failed on energy and climate for 14 years." Caroline Lucas, a Green party MP, echoed the sentiment, saying, "Once again the government's climate plan has been ruled unlawful. When dealing with the climate emergency, simply 'hoping for the best' and putting your faith in unproven technologies and vague policies is not good enough – we need concrete plans and investments and there is no time to lose."

In response to the decision, a DESNZ spokesperson stated that the UK can be proud of its record on climate change and that the claims in the case were largely about process. The Government will publish a new report within 12 months following the judge'sgovernments, high, climate. The ruling highlights the urgent need for the UK government to develop a comprehensive and legally sound plan to tackle the climate crisis.

With time running out to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the Paris Agreement, the government must act swiftly to put in place robust policies that will enable the country to meet its carbon reduction targets and contribute to the global fight against climate change. The UK's failure to deliver a credible plan raises concerns about its ability to lead by example in the international effort to address the climate emergency.

Key Takeaways

  • UK High Court rules government's Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP) unlawful.
  • Plan lacked sufficient info on individual policy delivery to meet carbon reduction targets.
  • Court orders government to produce new plan within 12 months.
  • This is the second High Court victory for environmental groups against the government's climate policies.
  • UK government must act swiftly to develop a comprehensive and legally sound climate plan.