SDLP Foyle MLA and former Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has repeated his call for Climate Change legislation specific to Northern Ireland during World Environment Day this week.
His call follows ambitious new targets recommended by the UK Committee against Climate Change, which suggests a complete shift away from fossil fuels in an attempt to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Mr Durkan commented: “The climate crisis is the single greatest challenge facing communities across the world. The rapid warming of our planet, at a faster rate than anticipated, will have a catastrophic impact on weather patterns, human settlements and economies across the globe. 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 Northern Ireland’s record that we have no specific legislation compelling a contribution to preventing the climate catastrophe through emissions reduction targets, working toward carbon neutrality or preparing industry for tomorrow’s economy.”
Mr Durkan said the climate crisis should be a material consideration in the planning of government programmes, investment and broader decisions. “It certainly was when the SDLP introduced a levy on single use carrier bags,” he said. “It 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.”