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Northern Ireland not doing its share on climate change

18 Jul 2012

Press release from Friends of the Earth Nothern Ireland

Commenting today on the release of Northern Ireland's Greenhouse Gas Inventory [1], Friends of the Earth said Northern Ireland was not doing its share on climate change. The campaigning group said it is time for legally binding emissions targets.

According to the Inventory, released by the Department of the Environment, Northern Ireland's climate changing emissions went up by 4 per cent in 2010. Since 1990 Northern Ireland's emissions fell by nearly 15 per cent, compared to the UK average of a 24 per cent cut. This puts Northern Ireland at the bottom of the UK [2] performance table.

Friends of the Earth Campaigner, Declan Allison, said the rest of the UK was taking up Northern Ireland's slack. Mr Allison continued:

"Once again we find ourselves languishing at the bottom of the emissions league table. A 15 per cent cut in 20 years is simply not good enough. The science tells us we need to reduce our emissions by about 50 per cent by 2025. We are not cutting emissions fast enough. We need to up our game."

Mr Allison said Assembly policy was going in the wrong direction:

"Time after time the Assembly squanders opportunities to make meaningful emissions cuts and instead goes for business as usual. Instead of funding the Green New Deal, which would have cut emissions significantly, created jobs, and helped to tackle fuel poverty, the Executive opts for a boiler replacement scheme, which will do little for the fuel poor or climate change. Instead of investing in public transport, walking, and cycling, we have proposals for more roads, and yet more emissions. Instead of leap-frogging ahead of the rest of the UK and introducing a comprehensive renewable energy strategy, we have Ministers seduced by the empty promises of the fracking industry."

He continued:

"Northern Ireland needs legally binding emissions reduction targets. The Environment Minister has stated he wants to introduce a Climate Change law. He is showing much needed leadership, but the rest of the Assembly must get behind him and ensure it happens, sooner rather than later. Northern Ireland can clean up its act from the dirty man of the UK, to a vibrant, thriving low-carbon economy. A climate change law would provide the framework for this transformation to happen."

ENDS

Notes

[1] Details of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory can be found at http://www.doeni.gov.uk/news_Details.htm?newsRef=2113

[2] The UK Climate Change Act 2008 sets targets of 50 per cent cuts by 2027, and 80 per cent cuts by 2050. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 also sets a target of 80 per cent cuts by 2050, with an interim target of 42 per cent by 2020. The Welsh Delivery Plan for Emission Reduction includes a target for a year-on-year cut of 3 per cent, with an overall cut of 40 per cent by 2020.

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