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High Court Rules The UK Government’s Climate Action Plan Unlawful Due to Insufficient Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policies

The High Court has ruled the UK government’s climate action plan unlawful, citing insufficient evidence to support its policies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has been tasked with revising the plan within 12 months to ensure compliance with legally binding carbon budgets and emission reduction pledges by 2030.

Environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth, challenged the government’s decision, leading to the court’s verdict. The ruling highlighted flaws in the government’s assumptions and incomplete information regarding policy effectiveness. This decision follows criticism of allowing oil and gas drilling under offshore wind turbines, deemed irresponsible by climate experts.

The government’s current plan, outlined in the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, falls short of meeting emissions targets set for 2037 and achieving net zero by 2050. The Climate Change Committee’s assessment revealed only 20% of the necessary emissions cuts are covered by credible policies. Various stakeholders, including political figures and experts, have called for a credible and urgent climate action plan to fulfil national and international commitments. Despite the ruling, a spokesperson for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero emphasised the UK’s progress towards climate goals, stating the court’s decision pertained to procedural matters rather than the substance of the plan.

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