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New report supports climate change law for Northern Ireland

3 Nov 2011

Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland

Press Release


Friends of the Earth today welcomed the report from the Committee on Climate Change [1], the UK Government's advisory body, on a climate change law for Northern Ireland. The report describes Northern Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions trends and sets out the case for emissions reductions targets.


The Committee advises Northern Ireland should be moving towards a low-carbon future and suggests, 'to continue on a business as usual path, would result in increasing costs in line with rising carbon prices, and reliance on imported fossil fuels around which there are security of supply concerns.'


The report concludes by stating, 'Experience at the UK level and in Scotland suggests that legislation is helpful in underpinning low carbon objectives, by making long term commitments to reduce emissions, including through providing certainty to business and policymakers.'


Commenting on the report, Friends of the Earth Campaigner Declan Allison said:


"This report from the Committee on Climate Change is a welcome addition to the debate how Northern Ireland should play its part in tackling climate change. The Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, is considering the option of introducing a Climate Change Act. This report eloquently sets out the case for such a law. The Minister should now make this his top priority."


The report describes uncertainties over Northern Ireland's emissions figures. Mr Allison continued by saying such uncertainties should not be a barrier to introducing legally binding emissions reductions targets.


"We have very good information on Northern Ireland's emissions and the science is clear about what they should be. Any uncertainties are likely to alter the figures by a few percentage points here and there. The Minister should introduce a climate change law as soon as possible. The targets can be adjusted as uncertainties are ironed out. We know we should be heading for a low-carbon future so we shouldn't let small uncertainties hamper our progress."


View the report here


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