Last week the Environment Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, launched a consultation on the NI Executive’s first ever Climate Change Bill. The Minister hopes that the bill will revolutionise our approach to climate change, cut greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment, create jobs and sustain our economy. Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK that does not have its own legislation dealing with climate change.
The Discussion Document suggests two high level options in respect of the proposed legislation – the main point of difference is the consideration of independent expert advice:
Option 1: Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill setting interim emission reduction targets and a long term target of net zero emissions in Northern Ireland by 2050 (long term target does not consider expert climate change advice).
Option 2: Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill setting interim emission reduction targets and a long term target for Northern Ireland by 2050, the long term target is an equitable contribution to achieving UK-wide Net Zero by 2050 (long term target considers expert climate change advice).
The consultation is aimed at a broad audience and is open until 1 February 2021.