UK court sends government back to work on climate plan

By Lesley Clark | 05/06/2024 06:18 AM EDT

The plan relies on “vague and unquantified” data to set its carbon reduction goals, a judge said.

UK heat wave.

People take a break in London during a 2022 heat wave. Carl Court/Getty Images

The British government will once again need to revise its climate plans, following a court ruling that said officials relied on “vague and unquantified” information to set carbon reduction measures.

London’s High Court on Friday found the government’s plan unlawful, siding with three environmental organizations that last year sued the government over new carbon emissions targets under the nation’s 2008 Climate Change Act. U.K. officials set the limits after a 2022 court ruling found that the climate plan championed by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was insufficient to meet the government’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and the Good Law Project had argued in court that the government failed to show how the goals of its new plan — enacted in 2023 under then-Secretary of State Grant Shapps — could be achieved.


The decision to approve the plan was “simply not justified by the evidence,” wrote Judge Clive Sheldon in the court’s ruling.