Council agrees climate plan to slash emissions in Belfast
Belfast City Council is taking a lead in the battle against climate change after agreeing to develop an 18-month programme to tackle the environmental crisis.
Council members yesterday agreed to start work immediately on a climate plan, which will include a future date for the elimination of carbon-dioxide emissions in the city.
The move follows council members declaring a climate emergency in October.
Thousands of young people also turned out in central Belfast in September as part of a nationwide Climate Strike campaign to highlight the crisis.
Councillor Brian Kingston, chair of the council's strategic policy and resources committee, said the city has some ground to make up when it comes to preparing for climate change.
"Now the council is showing leadership by considering its own role, and the impact our decisions can have on the city's climate resilience," he said.
"Climate change has reached a point where we need to make urgent and concerted efforts to understand and prepare for its impact, both through research and considering good practice from other cities."
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The plan will establish targets for decarbonisation and look at ways that Belfast City Council can move to a low carbon economy within a generation.
"Many organisations produce two separate plans, one around adaptation and one around mitigation, but due to the climate crisis we're facing and the level of urgency, we will take forward both plans in tandem," said Mr Kingston.
"They will also be aligned with the city's wider resilience strategy."
SDLP councillor Seamas de Faoite, who chairs the council's climate crisis working group, welcomed the new agreement as a positive step for the city.
"The climate crisis is a profound generational injustice," he said.
"We are faced with a choice on whether to act to limit the damage of climate chaos or leave behind a dangerous and unsustainable world for future generations."
Cllr de Faoite said the hope is that Belfast will now become a leader in Ireland in the fight to tackle the effects of climate change.
He added: "Belfast councillors agreed to take action, beginning an 18-month programme of work to develop a clear and robust plan to ensure our city and our council is climate resilient and acting to limit its impact on the environment.
"Belfast can become a leader across these islands in the fight against climate chaos.
"Action is what is required from government, society, industry and business to end our addiction to fossil fuels, deliver the Green New Deal and build a truly sustainable future," Cllr de Faoite added.
"No longer can conspiracy theorists or climate deniers be allowed to prevent this action from taking place."
Belfast will further benefit from its membership of the 100 Resilient Cities Network to learn from established practice, and will also consult with other UK cities.