New court case to challenge government on climate targets


"On 20th March we have our first Court hearing - we must persuade the Court we have an arguable case that merits a full hearing. We are confident that once the Court understand that our governments inaction on climate change is based on a mistake, our case will proceed to a formal hearing. While we expect to be successful with this, in theory this could be our only Court hearing, so we must make the most of it. Permission hearings usually take place at 10am or 10.30 am, but we won't know the precise time or Court number until the afternoon of 19 March. So, whatever the time of the Court hearing we're going to stage a solidarity event outside the Royal Courts of Justice between 9am and 10am."

Facebook event

As a member of the Paris climate agreement, the UK has signed up to play its part in the overall aim: "Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change."

The UK's emissions targets under the Climate Change Act are to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Emissions budgets for five year periods are determined by the Committee on Climate Change. It's extremely concerning that according the Committee we are well off track to meet the cuts we need to make by 2030, let alone 2050.

But the organisation Plan B have been asking a different question - are the targets themselves sufficient to meet the aims of the Paris climate agreement?

In fact the Committee on Climate Change themselves have agreed that the UK's current targets are less ambitious than the Paris agreement. Plan B are supporting eleven concerned citizens, aged between nine and 79 to take the government to court to revise our emissions reductions targets to make them more ambitious. They include a Rabbi, a  medical doctor, university students worried about their futures, a single mother in social housing, and a lawyer from the British Virgin Islands who witnessed the destruction of Hurricane Irma at first hand.

Supporters of the case include Professor Sir David King, the government's former Chief Scientific Advisor. It is part of a trend of citizen climate cases aiming to make governments act, and if successful would set a very important precedent.

You can find out more here including the detailed rationale behind the case as set out in the letter to Secretary of State Greg Clark.

If you would like to support the case, they have a crowdfunding page.