Climate Change Bill: Consultation

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

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 12:45 pm, 13th April 2021

I believe that Mr Aiken, who is to my right, thinks that we can do it by 2035. I am not sure where his expertise comes from, but the climate change experts say that a larger reduction in output from the Northern Ireland livestock sector would be required, compared with the rest of the UK. Even our most stretching tailwind scenario, which entails a 50% fall in meat and dairy production in Northern Ireland by 2050 and significantly greater levels of tree planting on the land that is released, is not enough to get Northern Ireland to net zero emissions by 2050. Without a corresponding reduction in the consumption of such produce, this would simply shift emissions overseas.

I want to listen to climate change experts, but I suspect that there are a lot of climate change experts in the Chamber to whom I would be slightly less inclined to listen. I prefer to listen to the Climate Change Committee, which has some expertise and background in these matters. We would do well not to destroy the Northern Ireland economy and put 50,000 families — there are 100,000 people involved in agri-food — into unemployment because we want to grab a headline.