UK faces a legal challenge over post-Brexit Emissions Trading Scheme

The government faces a legal challenge following their decision to exclude municipal waste incinerators from the UK Emissions Trading Scheme after Brexit. 

Ms Elliott-Smith, an environmental consultant who is represented by solicitors Leigh Day has sent a pre-action letter to the government.

The letter makes the case that in creating the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, the government has unlawfully excluded municipal waste incinerators.

The letter also includes a challenge to the government’s decision to roll forward carbon emissions allowances to future years.

According to Leigh Day, by excluding waste incinerators and rolling forward carbon allowances, the UK will fail to achieve its obligations under the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C.

The lawyers have outlined that the UK signed and ratified the Paris Agreement commitments, and failing to consider these commitments is an unlawful failure.

Rowan Smith, a human rights lawyer at Leigh Day said: ‘The Defendants have sought to argue that the net-zero by 2050 commitment is co-extensive with the Paris Agreement.

‘This is wrong in law. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear on numerous occasions that the Paris Agreement requires substantial emissions reductions to be made in the short term.

‘Our client states that this cannot be achieved by excluding municipal waste incinerators from the emissions trading scheme. Rolling forward carbon emissions allowances to future years, and the setting of a cap on allowable emissions which will be above the level of existing emissions, also work against the fundamental requirements of the Paris Agreement.

‘The excuse presented by the Government, that the scheme has been designed in this way to make Brexit easier, is not a lawful reason for ignoring international climate change commitments.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Pippa Neill


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