Who are we? 

We are the charity Plan B and a group of 11 concerned citizens aged between nine and 79. We are all worried about our futures. 

The case

Climate change represents the most significant threat of our time. Even with the current 1˚C of warming, hurricanes, drought, flooding and wildfires are gathering momentum, stoking conflict, driving mass displacement of people and destabilising our way of life. If we go much further, we risk crossing ‘tipping points’ in the climate system (such as Arctic meltdown and rainforest burn) with dire consequences for humanity and life on earth.

But if the Government acts now, there’s also an immense opportunity. An urgent transition to a new energy base will deliver millions of new jobs and businesses in clean technologies. 

The UK Government claims to "lead international action against climate change". In reality it's leading us and others only closer towards the brink - we want to change that and change it urgently.

More specifically the Government knows its 'carbon target' for 2050 doesn't match the science or its legal obligations. It knows it’s not enough to keep us safe. So we’re taking it to court.

The purposes of the Climate Change Act and the carbon target are:

(i) to avoid serious harm to human welfare, now and in the future, and

(ii) to implement the Government's international obligations.

The Government is acting contrary to those purposes, which is unlawful. We argue it is also irrational, based on an error of law and a breach of human rights.

 

What are we trying to achieve?

If successful, the case will prompt Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to increase the ambition of the UK’s 2050 carbon target, in line with the Paris Agreement, helping to:

(i)  safeguard the future for people and life on earth

(ii) drive the investment and technical innovation needed to stay safe and to transition to a clean economy.

The case is part of a growing global movement to hold governments and corporates accountable for climate change through the Courts.

 

Meet the Legal Team

We are represented by some of the country’s leading lawyers, including Bindmans and Jonathan Crow QC. Jonathan is a Deputy High Court Judge and the Attorney-General to Prince Charles. 

What is the next step in the case?

We have now served the Government (the Defendant) and the Committee on Climate Change (interested party) with our Grounds of Claim. Both must respond in writing by the end of January. A High Court Judge will make an initial decision on whether our claim is arguable some time between February and April (this is called the 'permission' stage).


You can follow us on Facebook: @ThereIsAPlanB and Twitter: @PlanB_earth for regular updates on case progress.

 

Case Correspondence & Documentation

 

On 13 April 2017, Plan B wrote urging the Secretary of State to:

(a) exercise his power to revise the carbon target for 2050, aligning it to the global climate obligation and the Paris Agreement; and

(b) take reasonable and proportionate measures to safeguard the right to life. 

Also on
13 April 2017, Plan B wrote to the CC Committee urging it to revise the 2016 Committee Recommendation.

The
CC Committee responded on 2 May 2017 asking Plan B to provide some further analysis in support of its case.

 

Plan B responded to that request on 19 May 2017.

Plan B
chased a response from the Secretary of State and received a brief acknowledgement on 29 June 2017 indicating a substantive response would be received “shortly”. Plan B responded the same day to highlight the urgency of the matter.  No further response has been received.

On
7 August 2017, the CC Committee again acknowledged in a letter to Plan B that:

“… the Paris Agreement describes a higher level of ambition than the one that formed the basis of the UK’s existing legislated emission reduction targets.”

 

26 September 2017Plan B serves UK Government with formal 'Pre-Action Protocol Letter' challenging its ongoing failure to set a carbon target that accords with science and international law.

 

24 October 2017: The Government sends Plan B its response, confirming its refusal to revise the carbon target.

 

8 December 2017: Plan B files its Claim Form and Grounds of Judicial Review, commencing the formal legal process. 


3 January 2018: High Court seals our Claim form, which we serve on Secretary of State for BEIS (the Defendant) and the Committee on Climate Change (the interested Party). Both have 21 days to submit their responses.​​


Supporting peer-reviewed publications (published here with kind permission of Lawtext)


​Environmental Liability, Law, Policy and Practice, Vol 24, Issue 3, 2016
The Paris Agreement Implementation Blueprint: a practical guide to bridging the gap between actions and closing the accountability deficit (Part 1)
Tim Crosland Plan B, UK

Aubrey Meyer The Global Commons Institute, UK 

Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh University of the South Pacific, Vanuatu


​​Environmental Liability, Law, Policy and Practice, Vol 24, Issue 5, 2016
The Paris Agreement Implementation Blueprint: a practical guide to bridging the gap between actions and closing the accountability deficit (Part 2)
Tim Crosland Plan B, UK
Aubrey Meyer The Global Commons Institute, UK 
Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh University of the South Pacific, Vanuatu​

People all over the world are now heading to court to hold governments and corporates to account for Climate Change. As part of this gathering, global movement Plan B and 11 UK citizens (aged 9 to 79) are suing the UK Government for failing to set a safe climate target. This case is for everyone and everything! Please get behind us at: 

                                                                  https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/planb/

​​Press Releases


26.9.17 Press release (pre-action letter)


8.12.17 Press release (filing claim)


Press Coverage


27.9.17 "Ministers who fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions should face legal action, says former chief government scientist" (The Independent)


​27.9.17 "​Climate change: Ministers should be 'sued' over targets" (BBC)​


27.9.17 "Ministers should cut carbon emissions to ZERO by 2050 or face legal action, says UK's former chief scientific adviser" (Daily Mail)


28.9.17 "Theresa May’s government faces more court action, this time for allegedly breaking international law"(The Canary)


15.11.17 "Climate Litigation Needs to Become a Mass Movement"(Slate)


7.12.17 "Leading doctors back legal action to force UK government to cut carbon emissions" (The BMJ)


8.12.17 "Top doctors back legal action against Government on carbon emissions" (Daily Mail)


10.12.17 "We Need Not Be Spectators In the Climate Catastrophe" (Common Dreams)


19.12.17 "Why there’s a moral duty to sue our government over climate change" (Open Democracy UK)


What people are saying about the case











 





























8.12.17, Friends of the Earth: "Government taken to court over failure to deal with climate change"


Craig Bennett, CEO Friends of the Earth, 28 September 2017:


"Today the charity Plan B has threatened the Government with legal action if it does not align its climate change strategy with the Paris Climate Agreement. They're spot-on for highlighting this."


Tanya: "By far the best hope we currently have of creating serious domino effect governance action towards a coordinated reduction of emissions."


Someone: "Thank you for this beautiful action on behalf of life. May you have support and success at every step, even the hard ones."


Sophie: "Save us!!!! I believe in you."


Hilary: "This is EXACTLY what needs to happen and what I've been hoping for! Well done for this brilliant initiative and wishing you the very best of luck for all our sakes...."


Lesley: "The world has no time for politicians whose #climateresponsibilitydenial will complacently allow climate breakdown to be our future. All solidarity with your fantastic initiative."

 

Jill:"I'm very willing to support such an important campaign"

 

Celia: "It will be disastrous if the UK, one of the richest countries in the world, doesn't play its full part in the global action needed to make the world habitable for future generations."

 

Andrew: "This is fantastic initiative. Thank you Plan B and you 11 global citizens. You can beat the cynicism of policymakers and politician and show law requires serious climate action now. Thank you!"

 

Hayley: "I’m disgusted and enraged that our government is failing to act on overwhelming evidence of climate change and the terrible future this locks in for our children."

 

Linda: "Government is blatantly in dereliction of its duty to act in the public interest, and is wantonly careless of life, so very glad this is happening at last."

 

Andrew: "Thank you for doing this for the World. Much respect!"

 

Someone: "The most important case of our time! Good luck good luck good luck!"

 

Mette: "This is important for the future of the world. I'm happy to support from Denmark:-)"

 

Hannah: "Thank you so much CAM, for acting to save lives and our planet, and for caring enough to do something"

 

Stuart: "Thank you and good luck. You are on the right side of history!"

 

Josey: "Power to the people! Time to show the government they can't get away with this shit any more"

 

Richard: "A donation for our all our Children and all inhabitants of Planet Earth."

 

Someone:"Well done Plan B. About time our politician are reminded that our beautiful planet is worth fighting for and that there are people like yourselves who will take them on. Thank you!"

 

Simeon: "Whilst the government continue to ignore climate change, the risks grow. Not just morally, but legally, they can no longer ignore this issue."

 

Richard: "This isn't just a donation, but an investment for a better future! Time the UK stepped up"

 

Karen: "There seems no other way than court action to make our Government face their responsibilities to act on climate change - this is an urgent and top priority."

 

Shambala: "What an amazing group you are. Thank you for fighting so hard x"

 

Someone: "Everyone has the right to know the truth, and everyone has the right to life."

 

Someone: "When I read about the effect that climate change will have on the planet, I feel very sad for the future. Thank goodness there are people like you who are prepared to stand up for what is right."

 

Bernie: "Thank you for trying to save the planet!!!! This is all my money but I don't care. Bernie age 11"​​

If you'd like to support this historic case, please visit:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/planb/

LEGAL ACTION FOR THE CLIMATE GOAL: TOWARDS EQUITY, SURVIVAL AND THE RULE OF LAW

“PRESIDENT TRUMP MAY HAVE HIS ALTERNATIVE FACTS,
      BUT ALTERNATIVE FACTS DO NOT WORK IN A COURTROOM”