RSUA has responded largely positively to the Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill which is currently going through the NI Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (AERA) Committee.
The Bill, which follows the declaration of a climate emergency in the Assembly on 3 February 2020, aims to mitigate the impact of climate change in Northern Ireland by establishing a legally binding net-zero carbon target, introducing a Climate Commissioner and Office, and guaranteeing existing environmental and climate protections.
RSUA supports the policy’s plan to guarantee existing protections, acknowledging that in the current politically transient time there is a high risk of environmental gains being diluted by amended policy.
The legally binding carbon target is also seen as an excellent goal, with slight concern that carbon offsetting schemes could be used which would reduce the overall benefit.
RSUA flagged up a potential resistance, at least initially, to the changes proposed in the construction industry, and how these may be overcome by offering alternative selling points like improved occupant comfort rather than the environmental benefits.
Thanks are due to RSUA Climate Emergency Committee member Maeve Gorman who drafted the response on behalf of the organisation. The full document can be viewed here.