Group seeks to appeal failed challenge to ‘flawed’ climate action plan

Court previously ruled it could not interfere with strategy due to separation of powers

An environmental group is seeking a Supreme Court appeal over the High Court’s dismissal of its claims that a Government plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change is flawed.  Photograph: Getty Images.

An environmental group is seeking a Supreme Court appeal over the High Court’s dismissal of its claims that a Government plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change is flawed. Photograph: Getty Images.

 

An environmental group is seeking a Supreme Court appeal over the High Court’s dismissal of its claims that a Government plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change is flawed.

The High Court’s Mr Justice Michael MacGrath had last September dismissed judicial review proceedings by the Friends of the Irish Environment CLG (FIE) over the National Mitigation Plan.

The plan, published in July 2017, 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.

It concerns all sectors of government, with a particular focus on certain key areas such as electricity generation, transport, and agriculture.

FIE claimed the plan was flawed on several grounds and wanted the court to quash its adoption by the Government.

Mr Justice MacGrath held the Government must be afforded broad discretion in adopting plans under the Climate Act. On the basis of the constitutional separation of powers, the court could not interfere with the plan, he ruled.

‘Leap-frog’

FIE this week lodged an appeal against his judgment to the Court of Appeal. It is also seeking to have that normal appeal route “leap-frogged” and for the appeal to be heard directly by the Supreme Court.

Before the Supreme Court will hear such a “leap-frog” appeal, judges of the court will meet to consider whether the appeal at issue meets certain criteria.

After such a consideration, the court will publish a determination setting out whether or not it will hear an appeal.

In its proceedings against the Government, Ireland and the Attorney General, FIE sought to quash the decision to approve the National Mitigation Plan. It also asked the court to direct the Government to produce a plan that will properly tackle the risks posed by global warming, including flooding, fires, ecological destruction and loss of life.

It argued that the plan fails to specify any measures to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions as it is required to do. In opposing the action, the State respondents argued the plan was not justiciable, meaning its adequacy or otherwise cannot be decided on by a court of law.

They also argued the group was impermissibly advancing a prescribed policy and seeking to impose a positive obligation on the State to deliver such a policy.