On 8 December 2017 solicitors acting for the charity ‘Plan B Earth’ applied for a Judicial Review of government’s climate change policies in the High Court. The case argues that government is not cutting greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to meet the requirements of the 2008 Climate Change Act and is a very long way short of doing what is required to meet the COP21 Paris agreement. The UK has ratified the Paris agreement saying that the UK will do its fair share to “keep temperatures well below 2C” and pursue efforts to limit warming to no more than 1.5C. However, the UK has started Fracking and still supports the expansion of aviation. Government has also slowed action on the zero carbon homes plan and reduced funding for energy efficiency measures including home insulation. The Committee on Climate Change has told government that it needs to do more but so far the government has failed to respond.
Given the undeniable fact that the government is not doing what it should be doing to meet UK legislation and its international commitments, Plan B Earth reached the logical conclusion that it should seek a Judicial Review of government’s policies. This worked successfully for the lawyers ‘Client Earth’, who challenged government’s air quality targets, so Plan B Earth hopes to do the same for climate change policy. Success in the courts is never guaranteed, however, because the legislation allows for a degree of ministerial discretion. But the case being made to the courts is that the government is not acting reasonably and is endangering the lives of millions of people. We have a right to life and government is not permitted in law to kill us!
The work required to bring a Judicial Review is complex and enormous; and so Plan B Earth had to employ solicitors (Bindmans) to bring the case. To get us to the first stage of the proceedings was going to cost £35,000 so Plan B Earth launched a Crowdfunder appeal. Here in S E Essex a number of us made a huge effort to publicise the appeal and we succeeded is getting the money in early January. Jonathan Crow QC will be the barrister who represents the claimants in court and will be acting pro-bono. He is QC to Prince Charles and will doubtless do a superb job in arguing our case.
Please do follow the case at it proceeds. You can get news on the website or the group’s Facebook page: –