Government’s plan to combat climate change flawed, High Court told

Friends of the Irish Environment granted permission to bring action to challenge plan

An environmental group has taken a High Court challenge alleging the Government's plan intended to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change is flawed, unconstitutional and in breach of human rights law.

Friends of the Irish Environment CLG has brought the case over the National Mitigation Plan, published last July.

The plan sets out measures described as the first steps on a path designed to transition Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.

The plan concerns all sectors of government, with a particular focus on key areas including electricity generation, transport, and agriculture.


In its proceedings against the Government, Ireland and the Attorney General, FIE says the government’s approval of the plan should be quashed on several grounds including it fails to specify any measures to urgently reduce greenhouse emissions as it is required to do.

The plan does not comply with the requirements of the 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, it claims.

At the High Court on Monday, John Kenny BL, for the group, said the plan does not contain any mitigation measures by which the State can satisfy its international or EU obligations.

Without such measures, the plan counsel said is unreasonable, unconstitutional, and in breach of human rights law.

The Government was under an obligation to specify the manner in which that national transition objective would be achieved but measures, such as specifying how greenhouse gas emissions would be managed to appropriate levels, were not included in the plan.

The group wants orders quashing the government’s approval for the plan and remitting the matter to the government for revision in accordance with the requirements of the 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act.

It also seeks various declarations including the plan does not take any adequate account of the State’s obligations under EU laws or various international agreements including the 2015 Paris Accord on climate change.

Permission to bring the proceedings was granted, on an ex parte basis (one side only represented), by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan who returned the case to December.