This evening, the Assembly held the second reading of the Climate Change (No. 2) Bill, introduced by the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots. Green Party NI Leader Clare Bailey MLA is the lead sponsor of the Climate Change (No.1) Bill, which passed its second stage in May 2021 and is due to come back to the Assembly for further consideration in December.
Speaking after the debate, Clare Bailey MLA said: “The recent IPCC report, and the increase in extreme weather events around the world have reminded us of the importance of taking serious action to combat climate change. But Northern Ireland hasn’t been pulling its weight to reduce emissions, with just an 18% reduction in emissions since 1990, compared to the UK average of over 40%. We can and we must do better.”
The Green Party NI Leader explained why she could not support the Minister’s Bill in its current form: “Edwin Poots’ Bill lacks in ambition, aiming for a mere 82% reduction in emissions by 2050, with no commitment to pursuing a net-zero target. The Bill also gives the Minister the power to amend the target, with no measures to guarantee against the Department lowering the 82% target.
“My Private Member’s Bill, the Climate Change (No.1) Bill has cross-party support, co-sponsored by Sinn Féin, SDLP, UUP, Alliance, PBP and independent MLAs. My Bill creates a pathway for a just transition to net-zero by 2045, and is the best option for delivering the legislative framework for tackling climate change in Northern Ireland.
“Are we not tired of Northern Ireland constantly being a laggard, of being told we cannot achieve on ambition? It is not unreasonable to aspire to something better. The climate legislation that will be delivered by the end of this mandate must reflect the fact that we can do better, we can be ambitious, and we will achieve net-zero. Our very future depends on it.”
Press contact: Jack O'Dwyer-Henry (07504410770)