Ireland’s supreme court quashed a government plan to tackle climate change on Friday, finding the blueprint for transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy by 2050 lacked specific detail.
The government will now be forced to redraft its plan. The legal challenge, brought by Friends of the Irish Environment, contended a 2017 government climate action scheme breached legislation requiring the state to specify its proposals.
In his written finding, chief justice Frank Clarke said there was “a clear present statutory obligation on the government, in formulating a plan, to at least give some realistic level of detail”.
“In my judgement the plan falls a long way short of the sort of specificity which the statute requires,” he added — quashing the plan on the grounds it failed to meet its “statutory mandate”.
During proceedings the government argued that the legal challenge amounted to a challenge of its policy decisions which are “not within the scope of questions which can properly be the subject of litigation”.
The government has also called its 2017 plan a “living document” which does not “provide a complete roadmap to achieve the 2050 objective, but begins the process”. However Clarke said “the public are entitled to know how it is that the government of the day intends to meet” the 2050 commitments.