Ulster Grocer

| 13.8°C Belfast

Two climate change bills now tabled by NI Assembly

Close

David Brown, deputy president, UFU, is encouraging members to submit responses to a call for evidence on the private member’s Climate Change Bill by July 15.

David Brown, deputy president, UFU, is encouraging members to submit responses to a call for evidence on the private member’s Climate Change Bill by July 15.

David Brown, deputy president, UFU, is encouraging members to submit responses to a call for evidence on the private member’s Climate Change Bill by July 15.

Two rival climate bills are now progressing at Stormont, with Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots’ draft bill yesterday joining Green Party MLA Clare Bailey’s existing private member’s bill.

Former DUP leader Poots’ bill proposes less ambitious goals than the private member’s bill, which passed its second reading before the Northern Ireland Assembly in May with an NI target of net zero emissions by 2045.

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has expressed concern the private member’s bill targets are too ambitious and could potentially decimate Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector.

And representatives from the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters' Association and meat firms Dunbia and ABP echoed UFU’s fears, giving evidence to a Stormont committee earlier this week.

“I am pleased that my draft Climate Change Bill has been agreed by my Executive colleagues,” said Poots. “I now intend to move it swiftly to the next stage as my ultimate aim is to see my Bill complete its legislative passage within the current Assembly mandate.

“I believe my Climate Change Bill is right for Northern Ireland and it is a balanced and sustainable Bill which has the right level of ambition and credibility. Current independent scientific evidence and advice from the UK Climate Change Committee is clear - a just transition to a low carbon economy can be achieved in Northern Ireland via a balanced pathway to UK-wide net zero by 2050.

“This can be achieved through the highly ambitious but achievable target, set within my Bill, of an at least 82% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Ireland by 2050.

“This is a target that the UK Climate Change Committee have advised is a credible and fair contribution by Northern Ireland that delivers on UK net zero and the commitments of the Paris Agreement accord. The UK Climate Change Committee’s chair Lord Deben has went further to say that setting a target which we in Northern Ireland cannot reach would be ‘morally wrong’.”

Earlier this week, Lord Deben expressed concerns the suspension of Stormont for three years following the RHI scandal, and ongoing instability, has left Northern Ireland behind where it should be in addressing climate change.

UFU is encouraging members to respond to the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (AERA) Committee’s ‘call for evidence’ on the private member’s Climate Change Bill.

David Brown, deputy president, UFU, said: “With the climate change bill tabled by Green Party leader Claire Bailey MLA undergoing Assembly scrutiny, we must continue to make the case for a fairer framework. One that is backed up with expert advice relevant to NI and allows our local farmers to reduce emissions on farm without drastic livestock reductions while allowing them to continue to feed the nation.

“At the present time, this bill does none of these things and the AERA committee’s call for evidence is a crucial part of achieving essential revisions.

“Exporting our agri food industry overseas is a major concern about this bill, especially when our emissions are less than half of the world average.”

UFU said it was still reviewing Poots’ draft bill but found its targets to be more realistic and less likely to devastate the NI agri-food industry.

UFU members are encouraged to submit their responses to the AERA committee’s call for evidence by July 15.


Related topics


Privacy