Court finds Government’s Climate Strategy illegal

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Pedestrians walk along the River Thames towards Westminster Bridge in London, Britain. REUTERS/Hollie Adams

The High Court declared that the government’s plan to meet climate targets and green the economy was illegal.

The advocacy organisations pursuing the lawsuit contended that it over-emphasized the use of dangerous technology and downplayed the possibility of missing targets.

Of the five reasons in the lawsuit, Judge Clive Sheldon upheld four of them.

Despite warnings from other studies, the administration vehemently maintained that it had reached all three of its prior “carbon budget” commitments and was on course to achieve future targets.

The government’s climate initiatives have been the subject of a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth, and the Good Law Project twice now.

The government’s previous climate strategy, the Net Zero Strategy, was declared unconstitutional in July 2022 by the High Court on the grounds that it failed to provide an explanation for how targets would be fulfilled.

Campaigners claimed that the second version, the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP), was still “a complete pipe dream” and thus started a second court challenge. This case prompted officials to draft the CBDP.

In order to achieve Britain’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050, it is necessary to adhere to the carbon budgets that the government set last year.

Prior to the government starting to adjust some climate targets and claiming to be adopting a more “pragmatic” stance, it was published in March 2023.

The second plan, according to the campaigners, depended too much on “unproven” technology, such as CCS, which is the process of capturing carbon dioxide from factories or power plants and storing it underground.

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Even though there are some CCS projects and scientists think they are essential to halting climate change, they have been difficult to scale up and are still very costly.

The three groups claimed that it was illegal since Grant Shapps, the former minister of energy, was not informed of the possibility that policies aimed at reducing emissions might not be implemented.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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