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Wind farm cut ignores all reason

By Steven Agnew

Published 12/10/2015

Steven Agnew MLA is leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland
Steven Agnew MLA is leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland

Once again, renewable energy is on the agenda. DUP Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell returned to work, briefly, to announce in an apparent U-turn that he would be ending the onshore wind subsidy a year earlier than planned.

Any local action we can take to reduce our carbon footprint is important. This retrograde step from minister Bell comes in the year of crunch climate negotiations, which are critical for the futures of all countries, including Northern Ireland.

Multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies show that 97%, or more, of actively publishing climate scientists agree that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, we will pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes "severe, widespread and irreversible".

Many world leaders - political and religious - have recently given the same message: there must be action now on climate change.

To address this dire warning, governments of more than 190 of the world's nations will meet in Paris in December to discuss a new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and thus avoiding the threat of dangerous climate disruption.

What are we likely to see, if the negotiations fail? The world's climate will continue to change, prompting migration on a massive scale. Conflicts will increase over water rights and food production, and we will see increased catastrophic weather events around the world.

What is currently happening at Europe's borders is only the beginning, as more and more people begin to migrate, looking for a future elsewhere.

The other key question at the Paris talks is finance.

Poorer countries need financial help to invest in clean technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt their infrastructure to cope with damage from climate change.

We in Northern Ireland need to play our part, and the Executive must lead our transition to a low-carbon economy.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that does not have a climate Bill to hold us to legally-bound targets on the reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions.

We need to act on this now.

Steven Agnew MLA is leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland

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