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Northern Ireland launches its consultation for a Climate Change Bill

Cat Sturman Writer

Announced on 9 December, Environment Minister Edwin Poots launched a consultation seeking views on policy options for the Northern Ireland (NI) Executive’s first ever Climate Change Bill, which would establish a framework to deliver commitments to the Paris Agreement and to the UK’s net zero emission target. In October 2015, the previous Department of Environment Minister sought independent advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in providing an update regarding a CCC report in 2011 which assessed the ‘appropriateness of a NI Climate Change Act’. The CCC concluded that the range of circumstances unique to NI suggest that local legislation is appropriate. Evidence and advice from the CCC has also indicated that for NI, the “earliest credible year for net zero GHG emissions [would be] Post-2050”. The government has stated that the introduction of the bill would underpin conditions for delivering international agreements and policies and become an incremental legal tool in building climate change resilience within NI. It would also support the NI Executive’s Green Growth Strategy and delivery Framework and enable greater direction for the private and public sectors to plan for investment. The Department has developed two high level options regarding the NI Climate Change legislation. Option 1 would incorporate the NI Climate Change Bill, setting interim emission reduction targets and a long-term target of net zero emissions in NI by 2050. This option would also deliver on the requirements of the New Decade New Approach (NDNA) agreement for NI Climate ...

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