The UK government’s Net Zero strategy published in October 2021 has been ruled inadequate and unlawful by the High Court. Three environmental campaign groups – Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth, and Good Law Project – had put up separate legal challenges to the strategy in January 2022.
The campaign groups argued that the strategy published did not provide sufficient measures for delivering the legally binding emissions targets that the UK Government committed to. The UK government had earlier enshrined the 2050 Net Zero target in law.
While Net Zero commitments, whether by states or by corporations, have been welcomed, there has been skepticism and concern on whether these commitments would actually be followed through by the relevant parties. Without time-bound, sector-specific targets, these pledges till 2050 could merely be limited to false promises made by a government and officials who would not be held accountable come 2050.
The High Court ruling forces the government to set proper steps to reach the committed pledges. Could this court ruling promote similar civil society accountability efforts in other jurisdictions? Could such a ruling also influence how corporations create and promote their own Net Zero commitments?