14 July 2022: While the temperature soars in the UK and around the world, drought threatens famine in Afghanistan and East Africa, and rivals to replace Boris Johnson vie to bury their heads in the sand, three young people and the climate litigation charity, Plan B, have taken the fight for their lives and their families to the European Court of Human Rights.

In breach of its legal obligations arising under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, the UK Government is systematically failing to take practical and effective measures to address the threat from man-made climate breakdown. Articles 2, 8 and 14 of the Convention impose on governments the positive obligation to take reasonable and proportionate steps to safeguard the right to life and to family life and to do so without discrimination. That means: i) aligning emissions reductions to the 1.5˚C Paris objective; ii) preparing for the impacts of climate change, so far as that is possible (including by providing the public with good information); iii) aligning public and private finance flows to the 1.5˚C Paris objective; and iv) making the polluter pay, with effective mechanisms to ensure compensation and reparation for the victims of climate change.

But even according to the Government’s own statutory adviser, the Climate Change Committee, the Government is failing completely on all counts. In the words of the Committee: “The targets(Britain) set are not going to be achieved by magic”; “We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices”; “UK plans have failed to prepare for even the minimum climate risks faced”.

It can take time for cases to progress through the European Court, but given the urgency of the situation, the Claimants have applied for the claim to be expedited (as it has been in the climate case brought by Portuguese young people).

See press release in full