Durkan off to Paris to help tackle climate change

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan. (DER3813PG042)

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan. (DER3813PG042)

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Environment Minister and SDLP MLA for Foyle, Mark H. Durkan, will travel to Paris later this week to attend the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP21).

Islamic terrorists killed 130 people in Paris last month and Mr. Durkan said in light of that event, he was determined to play his part in uniting with his international counterparts.

“The recent atrocities in Paris were incomprehensible to all right thinking people. Those behind the attacks want their actions to be met with hate and violence. They want to divide and separate people. The truth, however, is that as human beings we have much more in common than what divides us. That is why I am determined to travel to Paris to unite with global leaders to tackle one of the greatest challenges facing this planet and its entire people - climate change.”

Mr. Durkan will spend several days in the French capital discussing the threat climate change poses to the environment.

“I believe that we have a moral responsibility to protect the poorest and most vulnerable groups and regions across the world from the dangers of climate change and that it is critical that we lead by example and work with others to take action now.

“I will be in Paris at the CoP21 and will be making it clear that we should be striving to secure an ambitious, international agreement and that the North of Ireland will play its full part in contributing to the agreed emission reduction targets which could be a unilateral EU-wide target of a 40 per cent reduction by 2030. If agreement can be reached, I am hopeful that this will move to a 50 per cent reduction in the context of an ambitious United Nations climate deal in 2015.”

He added: “Climate change is the most urgent global justice issue of our time. If those who carried out the attacks in Paris think that through fear, they could stop us in our tracks, all they have succeeded in doing is hardening my resolve to be there.”