The UK government has lost a landmark case in High Court over its inadequate climate plans.

The legal dispute, brought about by Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project, signifies a critical and historic victory in terms of holding governments accountable for their climate plans.

The court hearing came about following claims that the UK Government’s climate plans failed to provide enough evidence to prove the efficacy of its policies and strategies. There were also concerns that the climate plan relied too heavily on technologies that are yet to exist or have proven their effectiveness. Ultimately, the government t was defeated on the grounds that the energy minister signed-off on the climate plan without evidence that it could be achieved.

The High Court ruled that the UK government breached its duty under section 13 of the Climate Change Act 2008, requiring the government to adopt policies and proposals which are legally binding carbon reduction targets that need to be met.

The hearing revealed that, according to the government’s own assessments, there was significant doubt that the climate policies could be delivered and achieve the carbon savings they claimed to be capable of.

This defeat marks the second time in two years that the UK government has been found in breach of the Climate Change Act 2008. The three groups launched and won a similar legal dispute back in 2022 arguing that the government’s Net Zero Plan was not detailed enough to explain how the UK would successfully cut emissions.

The UK government has a target to reduce its emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 against 1990 levels, but an updated climate plan with more evidence as to how this can be achieved will now need to be created with sufficient detail.

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