Press release: 3 March 2022

UK Government must defend net zero strategy in court following case permission

ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth and Good Law Project have been granted permission to proceed with their lawsuits challenging the UK Government over its flawed net zero strategy.

The organisations filed their claims early this year, arguing that the Government has breached its legal obligations under the Climate Change Act to demonstrate its climate policies will reduce emissions enough to meet the legally binding carbon budgets.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the cases have been granted permission to proceed to a full hearing in the High Court, where they will be heard together.

ClientEarth Senior Lawyer Sam Hunter Jones said: “We welcome the court’s decision to grant permission for our case to proceed, together with the challenges brought by Good Law Project and Friends of the Earth.

“The onus is now on the Government to demonstrate that its policies are sufficient to deliver the UK’s carbon budgets. By having failed to do so, we argue that its net zero strategy is unlawful, and lacks the credible plan to meet carbon budgets that the Act requires.

“As eye-watering energy prices cripple UK households – and the latest IPCC report issues yet another stark reminder of the costs of failing to act – it’s never been more critical that the Government takes real-world action to cut emissions and reduce reliance on expensive fossil fuels, whilst delivering near-term benefits for people and communities now.”

Jo Maugham, Director of Good Law Project, said: "When it comes to tackling climate change this Government is the drunk who promises to give up alcohol – tomorrow. The problem is, we're fast running out of tomorrows.

"Parliament legislated that Government should take net zero seriously – and we're asking the Court to ensure it does."

The lawsuit argues that the Government has failed to introduce sufficient and credible policies to ensure the net zero strategy will succeed, while betting on speculative and unproven technologies that risk the UK having to introduce more drastic measures in future.


Notes to editors:
  • ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth and Good Law Project’s legal challenges claim focuses on the Government’s duties under sections 13 and 14 of the Climate Change Act 2008.
About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.