Climate Change (No. 2) Bill: Final Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:45 am on 9th March 2022.

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Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party 10:45 am, 9th March 2022

I am glad that we have arrived at the Final Stage of the Bill. Climate change is clearly one of the most fundamental issues facing the human race. As we, here and now, think of what is happening to the human race, however, we tend to put things in a bit of perspective. In order to have a serene atmosphere, it is obvious that we need to have a serene and peaceful planet with serene and peaceful people in it. I think, particularly now, of the people of Ukraine; of the damage, human and atmospheric, that is being done, on this occasion, by Russian aggression; and, indeed, of the threats of nuclear destruction. I make the point again: a peaceful planet and a serene atmosphere run entirely one with the other.

I am glad that we have arrived at the point where we have a climate change Bill. It is an accommodation that recognises the importance of reducing our contribution to climate change; recognises the domestic realities; incorporates a just transition and oversight mechanisms; and presents opportunities in the green economy, one of which the Minister outlined in his speech. As a member of the AERA Committee, I thank those who contributed to the Committee's evidence-gathering sessions; as the Chair said, there were 52 in total on both Bills. I thank colleagues on the Committee for working relatively well — in fact, very well — together on the matter, and I especially thank the Chair for his steering and forbearance throughout. In particular, I thank the Committee Clerk and staff and, obviously, the staff in the Bill Office — it is good to see Barbara with us today: I am sure that she does not mind my mentioning her — for their support and efforts throughout. Through the Minister, I thank his officials, who were there to provide us with evidence and some steer as we worked our way through what turned out to be a complicated and lengthy process.

I am glad that we have arrived at the Final Stage of the Climate Change (No. 2) Bill. The SDLP supports it.