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Sussex students help to hold UK government to account over climate change

Two students from the University of Sussex could be celebrating a legal first on 4 July, when the Royal Courts of Justice decides whether to progress with the first-ever climate change lawsuit brought against the UK government.

Sebastien Kaye and Paris Palmano, both from the School of Global Studies, are just two of 11 UK citizens, aged 9–79, who have brought the legal claim. They are calling on the government to review its current "carbon target" and to establish a new one, based on the latest scientific evidence and the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

The students have been working through a group called Plan B, which was inspired by a similar successful lawsuit brought against the Dutch government, which has now been ordered to cut its emissions by at least 25 percent within five years.

Sebastien Kaye, 20, a Human Geography and International Development student at the University of Sussex, said: "Unmitigated climate change represents the biggest global threat we face in the 21st century. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rates, we will reach catastrophic climate tipping points within my adult life.

“Young people growing up in the UK shouldn’t be faced with the decision to have children or not due to the prospect of extremely dangerous global warming brought about by political inaction.”

Paris Palmano, 23, an International Development with Arabic student from the University of Sussex, said: “I am deeply concerned that my government, despite having the financial and technical ability to truly lead the world in this area, remains reluctant to take a significant step towards effective climate change mitigation.

“We are in this urgent situation only because governments have delayed taking the necessary action for so long. The time has now come for strategic legal action.”

Plan B, which is a registered charity, is currently crowdfunding to help cover legal costs. For more information about the initiative please visit

By: Lynsey Ford
Last updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2018

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