Commenting on yesterday’s High Court judgment on the Government’s Net Zero Strategy by Mr Justice Holgate, Professor Chris Hilson, Director of the Reading Centre for Climate and Justice at the University of Reading said:
"The judgment makes it clear that the Government has a legal duty under the Climate Change Act 2008 to show how its Net Zero Strategy policy document will actually help to deliver the interim ‘carbon budget’ targets under the Act. They need to set out quantitatively how various sectoral policies will work to do that, and any shortfall needs to be qualitatively explained. The judge also drew attention to the importance of having a clear and detailed report of precisely how the Strategy would meet the carbon budgets, both for proper scrutiny by Parliament, and also so the public can make their own assessment of the plans and vote accordingly.
"In essence, the Government cannot do a back of a fag packet job and say ‘trust us’. The Act requires it to spell its plans out clearly, showing precisely how they aim to meet the 2050 net zero UK objective. In a week where the heatwave has once again revealed the urgency of tackling our greenhouse gas emissions, we should be thankful that the courts are saying to the Government that it’s not enough just to set an ambitious climate target - you also need to show us that what you have planned is likely to meet it. The judgment holds the Government’s feet to the fire so that we can hopefully all avoid our own being unduly warmed."