ClientEarth has challenged the UK government over its continuing delay on publishing a new emissions reduction plan.
In a letter to business and energy minister Nick Hurd, ClientEarth called on the government to:
- Confirm a timeframe for the plan, which was due in late 2016 and has been continually delayed since;
- Explain how it will meet the requirement to publish the plan “as soon as is reasonably practicable”, as the Climate Change Act does not authorise an infinite delay;
- Launch a consultation on the plan, as government said it wanted to consult widely with business and civil society, but has shown no sign of this so far.
ClientEarth chief executive James Thornton said: “Government is long overdue to bring forward an ambitious plan that will close the persistent and unlawful gap between legally binding carbon budgets and current plans and policies. An ambitious plan will drive investment and deliver the UK’s climate change commitments. The plan was due in 2016. Businesses need certainty, investors need to know where to put their money, and people need to be protected from climate change.”
“We want to work with the government on a strong, effective emissions reduction plan, but all we get is never-ending delays. Government must publish the plan, and must consult with industry and civil society. If it continues to kick this can down the road, we will have no option but to consider legal action.”
The emissions reduction plan was due to be published by the end of 2016. The plan is required to set out how the UK will meet the legally-binding fourth and fifth carbon budgets it has set under the Climate Change Act. The latest government projections (2016) show the UK is heading towards missing its fourth carbon budget by 146 MtCO2e and the fifth carbon budget by 247 MtCO2e.
ClientEarth has called on the government to respond within 21 days.