Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Climate Change: A case to watch

Back in 2019 our parliament passed the Zero Carbon Act. The Act was modelled on the UK's Climate Change Act, and has a similar scheme of five-yearly budgets, with detailed government plans to meet them. But after initial success, its no longer working out so well in the UK - their most recent strategy lacked ambition, while key measures weren't funded. And now, the UK's high court has ordered the government to clarify its measures:

The high court has ordered the government to outline exactly how its net zero policies will achieve emissions targets, after a legal challenge from environmental groups.

Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and the Good Law Project had all taken legal action over the government’s flagship climate change strategy, arguing it had illegally failed to include the policies it needed to deliver the promised emissions cuts.

In a judgment handed down late on Monday, Mr Justice Holgate said the strategy lacked any explanation or quantification of how the government’s plans would achieve the emissions target, and as such had failed to meet its obligations under Climate Change Act (CCA) 2008.

The strategy hasn't been overturned, but the government will need to report to parliament on the details of what its measures will achieve. And if it falls below the statutory targets, then it will be overturned. Which I guess is another reason why the Tories want to get rid of judicial review...

The application to Aotearoa ought to be obvious. We have the same framework, and the government's first emissions reduction plan is craven, status quo policy which won't achieve even the weak targets they've set. It seems ripe for a challenge...