British-Irish Council: Summit

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 am on 30th November 2021.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 10:30 am, 30th November 2021

That was not the key focus of this summit. There is certainly significant potential for it to be the key focus of the next summit. The issue took over a lot of the conversation and discussion at the summit, however. The Governments who were at the summit are totally committed to reforestation and to moving away from the use of coal, particularly in power stations. They are committed to reaching net zero and taking the actions that will help us to achieve that.

Unfortunately, the biggest emitters in the world were not at the summit. In fact, the biggest emitters in the world were not at COP26 either. Therein lies part of the problem. If you want to deal with a problem, those who make the biggest contribution to that problem need to come to the table and step up to the plate. Northern Ireland's contributions account for 0·04% of greenhouse gases, whereas China has 53% of the coal-fired power stations in the world. Therein lies the problem. If the big players do not step up to the plate, that undermines the work of everybody else. I am not saying that we should not do that work, but that considerably undermines it.