Climate Change Bill: Consultation

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:45 pm on 13th April 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jemma Dolan Jemma Dolan Sinn Féin 12:45 pm, 13th April 2021

T1. Ms Dolan asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to confirm whether, when developing his proposals for a climate change Bill, he consulted environmental experts other than the Climate Change Committee. (AQT 1161/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

The Climate Change Committee is the expert independent panel set up by the UK Government. They have appointed independent experts to give that advice. Our Department works closely with all the bodies and NGOs involved in environmental issues. We provide them with significant financial support, and we listen to what they have to say and engage with them on the issues. I suggest that the evidence that the Department has taken is much greater than the evidence of those behind the private Member's Bill. I wish that the Members who support that Bill would indicate to me and the general public in Northern Ireland what independent evidence they want to bring to the table. Saying that Scotland is doing it by 2045 is not evidence; it is an indication of what another country can achieve. By the way, the Climate Change Committee supports that and recommends it, while recommending something different for Northern Ireland. I would be interested in the evidence, and I await the Members' evidence coming forward.

Photo of Jemma Dolan Jemma Dolan Sinn Féin

I thank the Minister for his answer. The Minister's proposals do not commit us to net zero by 2050. There is a wealth of expert advice that the North is capable of reaching true net zero by 2050 without unfairly affecting sectors such as agriculture. Given the severity of the climate crisis, does the Minister think that it is appropriate that we do the legally required minimum when more ambitious alternatives exist?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I do not believe that it is appropriate that we do the minimum; I believe that it is appropriate that we do the maximum. I note that the Member says that there is "a wealth" of evidence. I look forward to hearing the evidence as opposed to people pontificating about its existence without actually producing it.