Ambitious climate change initiative launched in Belfast
Belfast has joined three UK cities in an ambitious new green initiative to drive action on climate change.
The Belfast Climate Commission was officially launched on Friday as a joint venture between Queen’s University and Belfast City Council, bringing together academics and decision-makers.
Along with Edinburgh and Leeds, it’s hoped Belfast will play a key role in helping the UK government achieve a 2050 target of reducing carbon emissions to net-zero.
The work is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council for the Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN), with the hope of translating climate policy into action on the ground.
Speaking at the launch event, Belfast Lord Mayor Daniel Baker welcomed the move to counter the “profound” impact of climate change on the city.
“It is critical that we are well prepared, and protect all of our citizens, particularly the most vulnerable,” he said.
“We must also be ambitious in the targets we set to reduce our impact on the planet. I am particularly pleased to be launching this commission today because of its focus on place-based action and on the work that we can do to ensure climate-resilient communities.”
Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, said: “The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time, and it is essential that we understand its impact for the places we inhabit.
“Queen’s University Belfast is delighted to be launching this major programme, in partnership with Belfast City Council, which brings together the research community and decision-makers in the public, private and third sectors to find solutions in a collaborative way.”
Green Party councillor Malachai O’Hara, said: “This is an encouraging move towards making Belfast a climate-resilient city and delivering a just transition for all our citizens.
“People across Belfast want a healthier, cleaner and greener city. This can only happen if we tackle climate breakdown and deliver a Green New Deal.
“I back the work of the Climate Commission in leaving no community or group of people behind as we make the just transition towards a low carbon economy.”
The commission held its first meeting in December, co-chaired by John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen’s University, and Grania Long who has been named the Belfast Commissioner for Resilience.
The other groups represented on the commission include Trankslink NI, Unite the Union, Belfast Chamber of Commerce and Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland.
As part of yesterday’s launch, interim findings were presented on a study making the economic case for decarbonisation.
The draft deal to restore Stormont published on Thursday evening also pledged a restored Executive “will tackle climate change head on” with a strategy to address the immediate and longer-term impacts of climate change.
The document stated: “The Executive will introduce legislation and targets for reducing carbon emissions in line with the Paris Climate Change Accord.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital