When the government’s Net Zero Strategy was published in October last year, it was criticised for falling short of what was needed. On Tuesday the High Court found the UK government’s Net Zero strategy to be inadequate and unlawful, lacking any explanation or quantification of how it would allow the UK to achieve the emissions targets within it, and as such, it had failed to meet its obligations under the Climate Change Act of 2008. The Act requires the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
What’s next for the UK’s Net Zero strategy
Now the High Court has ordered the UK Government to do better. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have been ordered to update their climate strategy, build a detailed report to address the shortcomings and present it to Parliament by April 2023. I hope this triggers a well-considered and deeper Net Zero commitment.
Joanna Wheatley, who brought the legal challenge alongside Good Law Project, Client Earth and Friends of the Earth, said: “What’s needed is bold practical action across every aspect of our lives, right now. The High Court decision throws a lifeline, a very last chance for Government to do the right thing.“
“What’s needed is bold practical action across every aspect of our lives, right now. The High Court decision throws a lifeline, a very last chance for Government to do the right thing.”
— Joanna Wheatley
Why the ruling is so important
Being able to hold our governments to account is vital to confronting the climate crisis. This ruling sends a strong message to the UK government and others around the world that they are not above the law – there is no more hiding from greenwashing scrutiny. My hope is that other governments and corporates will see this as yet another reason to tighten up their Net Zero Strategies.
Many congratulations and thank you to Joanna Wheatley, Good Law Project, ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth for their work on this landmark ruling. This is an important victory for climate justice.
Of course, this is not the end. We must keep up the fight. As citizens and business leaders, we must continue holding our governments and other entities to account for their Net Zero and carbon reduction commitments.