ClientEarth sues Government over ‘inadequate’ climate strategy

ClientEarth is taking the UK government to court over its ‘inadequate’ net-zero strategy. 

The environmental law charity says the government has breached its legal obligations under the Climate Change Act to demonstrate how its policies will reduce emissions enough to meet the legally binding carbon budgets. 

ClientEarth lawyers argue that the government has failed to introduce sufficient and credible policies to ensure that the net-zero strategy will succeed. 

They state that not only does the net-zero strategy lack sufficient policies and rely on unproven technologies, but it also overlooks near-term solutions that would have an immediate impact, including those recommended by the government’s own advisors, the Climate Change Committee.

photo of black metal framed glass street post near gray concrete building during daytime

According to ClientEarth, failing to meet carbon budgets will exacerbate the severe risks and costs of climate instability. 

They also say failing to act will disproportionately impact young people’s right to life and to family and private life under the European Convention of Human Rights. 

ClientEarth Senior Lawyer Sam Hunter Jones 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.

‘The Government claims that those producing pollution should bear the cost of managing it. But its pie-in-the-sky approach to net-zero pushes that risk onto young people and future generations who stand to be hit hardest by the climate crisis.

‘Energy bills are currently soaring, in part because of the UK’s over-reliance on fossil gas for heating and poor levels of insulation. Government failure to deliver real climate action is resulting in higher bills for people.

‘The UK is kicking the can down the road by failing to set out real budget-compliant policies, and betting the public’s future health and prosperity on long-shot technologies unlikely to deliver necessary emissions cuts.

‘While the Government should of course invest and encourage innovation, the early-stage solutions featured in the strategy can’t make up for the lack of credible near-term action.

‘Inadequate climate policies should concern us all. But the UK’s inadequate net zero strategy is a particularly serious risk and injustice for today’s young people and future generations. What’s more, the strategy also fails to deliver near-term benefits for people and communities – particularly those on low incomes currently struggling with soaring energy prices.’



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