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Blair troubled by UK Government leaving out Northern Ireland in climate change assessment

Alliance Environmental spokesperson John Blair MLA has said it is deeply troubling to learn the UK Government did not include Northern Ireland when assessing a framework to combat climate change.

Speaking during today’s meeting of the Assembly’s Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Committee meeting, Mr Blair quizzed DAERA officials on the Government’s Emission Trading System (ETS).

The Department admitted Northern Ireland was not included in the impact assessment for the system, which is the cornerstone of Government policy to combat climate change and limit greenhouse gas emissions across power, industrial and aviation sectors.

“It was deeply troubling for the Department to admit the UK Government’s assessment of the ETS Common Framework did not included Northern Ireland,” said South Antrim MLA Mr Blair.

“This is especially concerning considering, at the end of the Brexit transition period, we will be the only devolved nation to share a land border with the EU.

“We are the only region in the UK and Ireland without a specific net zero emissions target and despite laudable attempts, we have not reduced our greenhouse gas emissions in line with the scientific advice. Since the introduction of the UK Climate Change Act, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 27 per cent across the UK, but for Northern Ireland emissions have only fallen by nine per cent

“It is imperative we introduce legally-binding legislation to protect our environment and halt the climate crisis.”