The last 12 months has seen a huge community and political effort to tackle the dangers of Covid-19.
The efforts by frontline workers, particularly the health service, to keep us all safe have been inspirational, and are rightly applauded by all. It has been a universal issue and is being met with a universal response.
We are living in the face of another universal crisis, the single greatest issue facing the planet and the population - climate change.
The need to urgently address climate change and ensure that meaningful policies are in place to reduce carbon emissions is now widely accepted, and there remains a pressing need to take action to protect the planet for future generations.
In Northern Ireland we have come a long way in the last decade in revitalising how we source and produce energy. More than 45% of our electricity comes from renewables - mainly wind.
With our 236 colleagues based in Northern Ireland we are proud to have played a leading role in harnessing this most natural of resources, by developing 121MW wind farms including at Slieve Kirk in Co Derry and Tievenameenta in Co Tyrone.
Our commitment to being a driving force for decarbonisation inspires our company purpose: to provide energy needed today while building a better world of energy for tomorrow.
This commitment is reflected in our role as principal partner for COP26 in Glasgow in November, where the world's heads of state, climate experts and campaigners are expected to come together to discuss action to accelerate towards the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Northern Ireland's role in this global effort is shaped by companies like ours and also by the Department for the Economy. It is at an advanced stage in the development of a new energy strategy, which we at SSE hope will raise our ambitions even further in the development of renewable energy , which will play a leading role in NI's decarbonisation and will build a sustainable local supply for our energy.
SSE welcome the engagement undertaken to date by both the Department for the Economy and the Department for Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs in developing the energy strategy and in shaping a Climate Change bill.
The NI Climate Change legislation will set NI-specific greenhouse gas (GHG) targets in law for the first time and is a fitting action to follow NI declaring a climate change emergency in February last year.
We strongly support the creation of new legislation and the setting of evidence-based targets for greenhouse gas reductions, using the expertise of the UK's Climate Change Committee.
This will set the right level of ambition for Northern Ireland and provide investment certainty to businesses such as ourselves.
This is an area where the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly can have a demonstrable and positive impact on the lives of its citizens while being a productive member of the global community.
The targets must be ambitious - at least 80% renewables by 2030, alongside roll-out of energy efficiency measures in homes and the decarbonisation of transport. To achieve this we will need 1000MWs of new renewable generation.
These major policies must work hand in hand with the practicalities of how the targets will be met, which means we need planning system which is fit for the purpose of meeting the targets and tackling climate change.
Success will require a co-ordinated, and strategic approach across the whole of the NI Government, underpinned by legally binding targets, which all Departments must be responsible for delivering. This will be a major diversion from the silo mentality which in the past has hindered strategic policy delivery in Northern Ireland.
This would be a major diversion from the silo mentality we are used to in Northern Ireland.
SSE is committed to doing our part, and we will use our position this year as a partner for COP26 to continue to promote a green recovery as a core strategy to underpin efforts to tackle climate change.
We all must commit to working together - governments, businesses and society - to deliver a net zero future with a green recovery at its core.
This will enable us to face down the crises of climate change and Covid-19 in a way that is just, resilient and both socially and economically responsible.
Northern Ireland has made a good start to the road to decarbonising our energy sector. Let this be the year we use our imagination, energy and creativity to put the structures and policies in place to deliver on our net zero future.
Mark Ennis is chairman of SSE Ireland