Government will not appeal against legal ruling that net zero strategy is unlawful

The government has confirmed it will not appeal against the High Court ruling that its Net Zero Strategy is unlawful.

Campaigners outside the High Court for the hearing in June 2022. Photo: Friends of the Earth

In a landmark judgment in July, the High Court agreed with Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project that the strategy failed to show how the UK’s legally-binding carbon budgets would be met.

Mr Justice Holgate ruled that this did not meet the requirements of the Climate Change Act.

The judge said the then energy minister, Greg Hands, who signed-off the strategy, did not have legally-required information on how carbon budgets would be met.

Parliament and the public had been kept in the dark about a shortfall in meeting a key target for cutting emissions, the judge also said.

Friends of the Earth lawyer, Katie de Kauwe, welcomed today’s news from the government:

“Ministers must now focus their energies on the action and detailed policies needed to address the climate crisis.

“The government has until the end of March next year to come up with a revised Net Zero Strategy that shows how the UK’s legally-binding climate targets will be met.

“The existing strategy is far too weak. The Climate Change Committee warned in June that there are only credible policies to achieve 39% of the emission cuts needed.

“Since then, the government has announced plans for fracking, new gas and oil developments and more roads, which are the opposite of what’s needed to meet our climate targets.

“The best way to put our climate goals back on track and ensure long-term sustainable growth, is to pull the plug on new fossil fuel developments and invest in the real solutions to the myriad crises we face: developing the UK’s immense renewable energy potential and insulating people’s homes.”

Sam Hunter Jones, senior lawyer at ClientEarth, said:

“Skyrocketing energy prices and the worsening climate crisis make it abundantly clear: the government must move further and faster away from expensive and polluting fossil fuels and have a credible plan for net zero.”

Jo Maugham, director of Good Law Project, said:

“Rather than threatening communities with fracking, Liz Truss and Jacob-Rees Mogg should focus their efforts on improving the strategy so they meet the UK’s legally-binding climate targets and move away from expensive fossil fuels to deliver on affordable energy.”

30 replies »

  1. Ahh, another withdrawal.

    Withdrawal from what? Taking part in discussion, using plastic, to bash fossil fuels, whilst someone else reminds about the benefits of fossil fuel! Do you care, 1720? Obviously not enough to give up your use of plastic. Do I care? Yes, I do, but don’t believe fossil fuels are the baby to be thrown out with the bath water, so I have no guilt about using plastic. I do care enough that all the plastic I use is disposed of in a suitable manner.

    Meanwhile, I have my Covid booster jab booked for a couple of weeks’ time. I don’t think I will withdraw from that as plastic will be involved. What will I be unleashing, and millions of others doing the same? Oh yes, survival-thanks, in part, to fossil fuel. I do also hope that all the other millions who require other health support around the world do get the support that is based upon fossil fuels and those who can’t access that-good luck, but you should be buoyed by the belief you are at least avoiding intrinsic evil, albeit for a short lifespan.

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