EAI welcomes the opportunity to respond to the public discussion document on policy options for Northern Ireland’s Climate Change Bill. Like many jurisdictions, Northern Ireland is facing significant environmental challenges, such as decarbonising the economy, preserving biodiversity, and providing clean air and water to its citizens. Climate change mitigation is crucial to preserve and improve the natural and physical environment in Northern Ireland and increase the standard of living, not only for its current citizens, but also for the future generations of Northern Ireland.
Under the UK Climate Change Act, the UK has a 100% GHG emissions reduction target by 2050, based on 1990 levels. In 2018, Northern Ireland accounted for 4.3% of total UK emissions, while representing 2.9% of the UK population. While it is to be welcomed that GHG emissions in Northern Ireland in 2018 were 20% lower than 1990 levels, it is notable that this level of reduction falls short of level of GHG emission reduction in the wider UK, which as a whole had reduced by 43% in 2018 based on 1990 levels. This Climate Change Bill and the upcoming Energy Strategy provide an opportunity for Northern Ireland to take a leadership position in the protection of the environment and the decarbonisation of society.