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ClientEarth brings legal action over “unlawful” net zero plans produced by Government

Environment law group ClientEarth has launched a legal action against the Government over what it calls an “inadequate” net zero strategy.

ClientEarth claimed the Government had failed to set out sufficient policies to tackle climate change and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The group said: “The Government is not taking action at the pace needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Its current policies will not reduce emissions enough to meet its legally binding carbon budgets – targets which limit the total amount of greenhouse gases that the UK can emit over five year periods on the road to net zero.

“We believe these failings mean the UK Government has breached its legal duties under the 2008 Climate Change Act. What’s more, its approach risks the UK having to introduce more drastic measures in future and pushes the burden onto future generations, with disproportionate impacts on young people’s rights to life and to family and private life under the European Convention of Human Rights.”

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Sam Hunter Jones, Senior ClientEarth Lawyer, said: “It’s not enough for the UK Government simply to have a net zero strategy, it needs to include real-world policies that ensure it succeeds. Anything less is a breach of its legal duties and amounts to greenwashing and climate delay.”

ClientEarth claimed that the Government’s own baseline forecasts showed that the UK’s projected emissions in 2037 would be more than double the levels the Government was legally required to adhere to.

It also argued that the Government was relying heavily on unproven technologies "whilst overlooking viable current solutions that would have immediate impact".

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