should UK government be worried about legal action on climate commitments?

A Dutch environmental group recently took the Dutch government to court over failure to meet its climate commitments – and won. (1)

In Washington a judge ordered Washington Department of Ecology to reconsider a petition asking for carbon dioxide reductions organised by eight young people. (2)

Should the UK government be worried about similar legal action?

Let’s examine the evidence.

In recent times the Tories have –

– announced the expansion of the Climate Change Levy to renewables, combined with further tax breaks for fossil fuels (3)

– made changes to planning laws that will make it more difficult if not impossible to build new onshore wind, whilst bending over backwards to facilitate the development of fracking in the UK (4)

– announced that the zero carbon homes policy will be scrapped (5)

– shown signs of a possible U-turn on airport expansion

They’ve been able to do this without any significant political opposition. Labour are still in a state of disarray, and the Lib Dems’ influence has been dramatically reduced.

If the Tory cabinet continue to show this level of disdain for their obligations in terms of climate legal action may well become appropriate.

A coalition of environmental groups and progressive business could already be starting to prepare the case against.

Know anyone who can help..?

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(1) https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27774-dutch-government-loses-worlds-first-climate-liability-lawsuit/#.VZ_h_6ESwr1

(2) http://www.westernlaw.org/article/washington-state-youth-win-unprecedented-decision-their-climate-change-lawsuit-press-release

(3) More on this here from the Campaign Against Climate Change- http://www.campaigncc.org/emergencybudget & here from Friends of the Earth – http://www.foe.co.uk/blog/like-making-apple-juice-pay-alcohol-tax-clean-energy-faces-carbon-tax

(4) http://www.campaigncc.org/fracking_wind_local_democracy

(5) http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/10/uk-scraps-zero-carbon-home-target

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Some responses –

Screenshot from 2015-07-14 08:38:17 Screenshot from 2015-07-14 08:38:52 Screenshot from 2015-07-14 08:39:33 Screenshot from 2015-07-14 08:55:52Screenshot from 2015-07-14 09:48:04Screenshot from 2015-07-14 12:20:29Screenshot from 2015-07-14 12:21:09

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About hughchapmansblog

Poet and performance maker based in Cambridge and London

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