Durkan emphasises importance of a Climate Change Act

Mon, 20/07/2020 - 11:50 -- Editor

SDLP Social Justice Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA says that climate change legislation for the North is a long-overdue necessity.

He said the motion on the Climate Change Act due for debate in the Assembly Tuesday 21 July, is integral to ensure targets for zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 are achieved.

The Foyle MLA commented:

“The climate crisis is the single greatest challenge facing communities across the world. It’s critical that we all take action.

“Facing up to the challenge of avoiding a climate breakdown demands action at a local and global level. That’s why, during my time as Environment Minister, I proposed a radical Climate Action Bill. It remains a stain on the North’s record that specific legislation on the prevention of climate catastrophe through emissions reduction targets, working toward carbon neutrality or preparing industry for tomorrow’s economy, has not yet been implemented.

“For many of us, the pandemic has forced is to view our world differently, to acknowledge and appreciate the natural environment around us. It is essential that green recovery is a material consideration in the planning of government programmes, investment and broader decisions going forward. It certainly was when the SDLP introduced a levy on single use carrier bags and more recently with Minister Mallon’s continued focus on greenway infrastructure.

“The climate crisis should form the basis of a new strategic direction for energy policy, looking at the potential for local industry diversification through offshore wind mapping, geothermal tech production and an enhanced renewables sector. We should be positioning ourselves as a global leader in these emerging fields.

“We owe it to our future generations to act now. Climate change is no longer a theory but an irrefutable fact. We all have a responsibility to face up to the biggest threat facing our planet and demand change. A climate Act for Northern Ireland will be a small but critical cog in that fight back.”