Latest reports suggest that the UK is one of 32 countries being taken to the European court of human rights on Wednesday by a group of Portuguese young people. They are expected to argue in the grand chamber of the Strasbourg court that the nations’ policies to tackle global heating are inadequate and in breach of their human rights obligations.
The UK government argues, In its defence to the legal action, which is the biggest climate case yet taken across the globe, that it is taking world-beating action to tackle climate change, with a legally binding target to reach net zero by 2050.
In documents submitted to the court, Kate Hughes, the director of international climate change at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, raises in evidence the government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, as proof of the tough policies being taken by the UK. She was quoted as saying that the plan has set out some of the concrete steps we will take to reach net zero emissions by 2050”.
But key policies in the plan, which was introduced by the former prime minister Boris Johnson, have now been scrapped by Sunak. These include the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and the policy to phase out the installation of gas boilers by 2035.
Lawyers who are representing the six young people taking the legal action are to present evidence that the current policies of the 32 countries mean the world is on track to reach 3C of global heating within their lifetimes and argue that the governments’ failure to act quickly enough to reduce emissions breaches the human rights of their clients.
The case will be heard on Wednesday at a full-day hearing in front of 17 judges when the removal of what is a key defence in the UK government’s case could become significant.
Gerry Liston, who is the legal officer at Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), which is supporting the claimants described the UK’s emissions targets as inadequate, noting that If every country pursues the same ambition level as the UK’s targets reflect, global warming would reach a catastrophic 3 degrees by the end of this century.
“Now is the time to be increasing ambition, not rolling back on existing commitments – especially when the Climate Change Committee has for some time now been sounding the alarm that the UK is well off course to meet its 2030 target. Rishi Sunak’s announcement is not only senseless and immoral, it is also illegal.”
Story was adapted from the Guardian.