20 May 2021
Green Party NI Leader Clare Bailey MLA has said that the Northern Ireland Environmental Statistics Report released today shows that Northern Ireland is falling behind on a raft of indicators, including crucially an abject failure to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG).
Clare Bailey MLA said: "Northern Ireland is failing to address climate breakdown at a local level as evidenced by an abject failure to reduce greenhouse gases.
"Greenhouse gases trap heat in our atmosphere, turning up the dial on global temperatures and altering our climate systems in unimaginable ways.
"Reaching net zero is recognised as a critical response to climate breakdown yet this report shows that our Executive and in particular, our Environment Department appear devoid of ideas and commitment around driving down rates of GHG emissions.
"Scotland, Wales and England are all managing to reduce emissions, yet Northern Ireland remains a place apart, once again, with an abject failure to play our part and make a just transition to low a carbon economy and society.
"The Climate Bill for Northern Ireland proposes sets a target for net zero by 2045. The Bill recently received cross party support during its second stage reading but was opposed by the Environment Minister and DUP colleagues.
"Addressing climate change can't be put on the long finger. We shouldn't expect other UK regions to pick up the slack for Northern Ireland as we fail to reduce emissions. It's time we played our part and that's why I'm working hard as lead sponsor of the Climate Change Bill to get this much needed legislation through before the end of this Assembly mandate."
Clare Bailey MLA continued:
"It's also notable that this report details no improvement in river and marine quality. Pollution incidents in our rivers and waterways are depressingly common, yet there has been on movement in creating a system of independent environmental protection and regulation through a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"Similarly, only three out of nine designated shellfish water protected areas complied with the Water Framework Directive guideline E.Coli standard in shellfish in 2020. That's a shocking indictment of the ability of the Environment Agency's capacity to protect our natural world as well as public health."
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498