Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland lagging behind on its climate commitments

By Michelle Weir

Northern Ireland is falling behind on climate change commitments, as outlined by the Committee for Climate Change in its report to Parliament.

Despite targets for greenhouse gas reductions, in the last year of data we saw an increase in emissions.

Overall, the UK saw a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, while the province saw an increase of 1.3%.

NI transport emissions are 29% higher than in 1990, and while at 470, the number of electric vehicle charging points was similar to Wales, last year saw only a 3% rise in the number of charging points.

Recycling figures are improving "significantly", although these are also lower than Wales and Scotland, at 44% compared to 64% and 61% respectively.

Emissions from the power sector rose in 2016 by 5%, largely due to the fact that we haven't yet seen the switch away from coal that other parts of the UK have seen.

The Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group said: "We have a target to reduce emissions in 2025 by at least 35% compared to 1990 levels. In 2016, levels were 16% below 1990 levels.

"The NI Executive's own projections suggest that progress is falling short of what is required.

"It's not only the environment that suffers from this state of limbo.

"Energy consumers suffer, too, as renewable energy offers the best value for money for bill payers.

"Onshore wind is the cheapest way to generate electricity - bar none - so it has an important role to play in our energy mix, along with other low-carbon technologies."

Belfast Telegraph

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