Young people take legal action against Boris Johnson over climate crisis

Three young people are taking legal action against the prime minister Boris Johnson, accusing him of failing in his legal obligations to take “practical and effective measures” to tackle the climate crisis.

The hearing on Thursday was an application to allow the case to go to a full hearing. The judge presiding on the case, Mr Justice Bourne, reserved the judgement, meaning he will take some time to decide whether the case is arguable.

According to the Guardian, Adetola Onamade, 24, Jerry Amokwandoh, 22, and Marina Tricks, 20, claimed the government was breaching their rights under the Human Rights Act right to life and to family life by failing to do what was necessary to avert environmental disaster.

The claim is being backed by the charity Plan B Earth.Tim Crosland, an environmental lawyer and director of Plan B Earth, told the court the three claimants’ case was “compelling, vital and deserves a fair hearing”.

“The defendants know that climate change is an urgent threat to life. They know its impacts hit hardest for groups exposed to disproportionate and discriminatory risks, including the claimants. They know what needs to be done but [the government] is not doing it,” he said.

According to the Guardian, Onamade said it was “cynical and condescending” for the defendants to suggest the claimants motivations for bringing the case to court were “disingenuous” or that they were “being tokenised” as young people of African heritage.

Reading from her witness statement, she said: “When I see the government breaking its own commitments under international law, including the Paris Agreement, and the duty to prevent harm, the impact on me is profound.

“Those breaches are directly impacting my own family and heritage communities, which are an inextricable part of my own family life. My own mental health is bound up with the impact and experiences of my global family,” she added. 

Richard Honey QC, representing the prime minister, the Treasury and the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, told the court  there should be no full hearing on the ground that “the Human Rights Act does not give legal effect to the Paris Agreement provisions and the court has no power to consider if the UK is acting in breach of it”.