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Clean Growth Strategy fails to resolve UK Government breach of Climate Change Act

The government’s new Clean Growth Strategy fails to put us on track to meet legally binding emissions targets, environmental lawyers ClientEarth said today.

ClientEarth lawyer Jonathan Church said: “The UK government is still in breach of the Climate Change Act. The UK is on course to miss its 2023-2027 emissions reductions targets by 116MtCO2e – equivalent to more than the Philippines’ emissions in a whole year – and the Clean Growth Strategy does not fix this. For too long the government has been undermining policy stability and failing to plan for the future. Now, we need a firm commitment to say how the UK will decarbonise. Good intentions are no longer good enough.

“The government had promised to re-start reporting, which has been on hold for the last five years. We welcome today’s commitment to update the plan annually and report against milestones, but these are just promises for now.

“One of the reasons the government managed to achieve its carbon reductions was because of the credit crunch. It must not use over-achievement in earlier years to do less, now.

“Ministers do seem to be trying to make up lost ground with their new strategy, but they have not done enough. ClientEarth will be considering its legal options.”

Six years ago, the UK admitted it was on course to miss its emissions targets. Since then, it has not corrected its course and today’s strategy has again failed to fix this.

The plan doesn’t close the policy gap – the difference between the emissions reductions needed to hit the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, and the actual reductions current policies will produce. ClientEarth analysis shows this is a clear breach of the Climate Change Act and is a legal failure.

Complying with the Climate Change Act is the most cost-effective way to cut emissions and continue the UK’s leadership on climate policy. Hitting our climate targets will save more than £100bn compared to delaying action beyond the 2020s.

The climate change minister, Claire Perry, said today that the transition to the low carbon economy is a race she wants to win, but the government still has real ground to make up.

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