Historic high court ruling of UK government’s net zero strategy as insufficient and ‘unlawful’

Last week’s soaring temperatures served as a stark reminder of the very real threat climate change poses, and just how much needs to be done in order to reach net zero emissions. 

In October 2021, the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published its Net Zero Strategy, setting out to clarify how it would deliver on commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2050. But the Good Law Project, ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth argued that it omitted sufficient detail on how key objectives would be reached, and that as such it has contravened the 2008 Climate Change Act. Justice David Holgate found in favour of several of the environmental and legal campaign groups’ claims, noting that the BEIS strategy left out  “the quantitative effects of individual policies”. The ruling published by the court stated that “the NZS lacked any quantitative assessment of the contributions expected to be made by individual policies to reductions in GHG emissions, and also because the report did not reveal that the quantitative analysis put before the Minister left a shortfall against the reductions required by CB6, or how that shortfall was expected to be met.”

Ministers must now publish a revised draft of the strategy by the end of March 2023, including details on time scales and how the policies might affect different sectors of the economy, in order to allow Parliament to scrutinise the policies, and to provide transparency to the public on the government’s plans to reach net zero.

The team at SI Engage look forward to more substantive guidance on environmental impact within the financial industry. We’re here to help investment teams effectively capture engagement data and progress, ensuring positive change for funds, companies and the world.

Image credit to Vecteezy.com.

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