Activists are Suing the Government Over Climate Change on Behalf of Future Generations

By Tom Pritchard on at

This is a story you probably didn't expect to see today, but here we go. An activist group has accused the government of discriminating against future generations by failing to cut carbon emissions fast enough. So it's suing the government on their behalf.

Plan B is arguing if the government postpones its emissions cuts, future generations will be left to deal with the consequences. That's why its seeking permission from a judge to launch formal legal action, and stop the UK government from doing such a thing - potentially breaking the terms of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. A hearing is currently scheduled for tomorrow in the High Court - if successful the case will go to trial.

While the government has promised to review its emissions agreements, specifically reducing emissions by 80 per cent before 2050, Plan B says this target isn't enough to meet the terms of the Paris agreement. Its key arguments are that the government is failing to make a fair contribution in the fight against climate change, is acting irrationally given the severity of the situation, discriminating against the young who will be faced with the consequences, and breaching people's rights to family life and property.

I do not know how that last one plays into thing, but I imagine Plan B wouldn't be mentioning it if it didn't have some sort of solid argument.

Plan B's founder Tim Crosland told BBC News:

"The government has got to take this issue more seriously. We're worried that the Treasury is trying to put a block on measures to protect the climate."

He also said, in a statement:

 ‘The UK Government claims international leadership on climate change and cites the Paris Agreement as an example of this leadership.

Yet in October 2016 and January 2018, Business Secretary Greg Clark took a deliberate decision to keep the UK carbon target tied to the 2˚C goal rejected as inadequate by both scientists and governments – including his own. He has kept these decisions hidden from the general public, which have now come to light only as a result of these legal proceedings."

A government spokesperson told BBC News that it would be inappropriate to comment on the case at this stage, but confirmed the government would be seeking advice on reducing its targets after an international meeting later this year, designed to discuss the 1.5C target laid out in the Paris agreement.


Plan B has outlined details and documents relevant to the case on its website, which also lets people donate towards the cause. [BBC News]