On Monday, the High Court of the UK deemed the Government’s Net-Zero Strategy ‘unlawful’ in what has been characterized as a historic ruling.
The High Court ordered policymakers to revise the Government’s landmark Net-Zero Strategy that was first announced in October 2021, ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Following the strategy’s publication, several organizations, including the Good Law Project, Friends of Earth and Client Earth, spoke out against the new set of policies and challenged them in court.
In its ruling, the High Court deemed the strategy ‘too vague’ which was to say that it lacked assurances that the climate goals outlined within it would be met in order to help the country achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
As of now, the UK Government has 8 months to amend the Net-Zero Strategy and add more details to it, and it has also been ordered to cover the legal costs of the three environmental groups that sued it.
The main point of their argument was that the lack of legally binding targets may be in direct breach of the Climate Change Act that was first passed in 2008.
Furthermore, the UK Government’s Net-Zero Strategy notably does not have emissions reduction targets that are either sector-specific or time-bound, contrary to the expectations of most experts.
Finally, concerns were also voiced as to the ability of local businesses and authorities to launch carbon reduction measures due to a series of roadblocks, such as the pandemic.
In a statement following the Court’s ruling, the Good Law Project emphasized on the need to have a viable, legally binding climate action plan and used this week’s terrible heatwave in the UK as an alarming example of the urgency of the matter.