DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA is leading the way on COP26, pledging that NI will play its part on the global stage to tackle climate change.
The Minister outlined his pledge as he launched a digital climate action campaign led by MyNI. The announcement comes as, for the first time, the UK will host and preside over the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 1-12 November 2021. There are high ambitions for the conference as it marks six years since world leaders committed to the historic Agreement at COP21.
Minister Poots said: “The aim of COP26 is to accelerate global action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and I want Northern Ireland to be a leader when it comes to tackling climate change. I believe we can make huge strides towards this goal via our contribution to COP26 and supporting the UK COP26 Presidency objectives. My primary focus as DAERA Minister is to find ways we can all work together to achieve positive outcomes for nature and business whilst addressing the challenges of climate change and the impacts on our natural environment.
“The UK Presidency for COP26 is a great vote of confidence in the UK’s global reputation on environmental protection issues. The New Decade New Approach deal commits the Executive to tackle climate change head on. Northern Ireland needs to play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the pathway to the UK Net Zero target.
“There is tremendous amount of good work that is already underway or planned here at home – in DAERA alone we are leading on the development of the Executive wide Green Growth Strategy and Delivery Framework, the development of a NI Climate Change Act, the Forests for the future initiative, a clean air strategy, the development of a Peatlands Strategy for NI, the NICS Single Use Plastic plan and the roll out of an NI Environment Strategy amongst other activities.”
COP26 is an opportunity for the UK as a whole to demonstrate global leadership on climate change and to set the route towards the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target. With the COP26 Presidency, the UK Government has outlined its aim is to ramp up global ambition towards climate-resilient, zero-carbon economies. It has identified five areas that need particular attention: clean energy, clean transport, nature-based solutions, adaptation and resilience, and finance. Our natural habitats, such as peatlands and forests, not only have a key role to play in terms of the climate change through the significant carbon storage benefits they offer, but also the biodiversity and natural flood alleviation benefits they also provide which is important to highlight as the COP15 on Biodiversity also takes place later this year.
He added: “COP26 offers Northern Ireland the opportunity to tell our climate action story and to build on our successes to continue to address climate change. It is imperative as a devolved administration we fully showcase all the good work the NI Executive is doing and cut our carbon footprint alongside our fellow DAs and the UK government. To support this, my Department is leading on a Northern Ireland-wide digital climate action campaign delivered by MyNI in the run up to the COP26 conference later this year. It aims to raise climate awareness, encourage change, enabling action, and exemplifying through leadership.
“The launch of this campaign is the first step in our activities in the lead up to the COP26 summit. It starts by encouraging us all to think about why and how we can change for Nature. I look forward to seeing NI riding high on the global stage this year as we demonstrate our leadership in tackling climate change and caring for the environment.”