Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has said he is shocked that 50 MLA’s voted to amend the Climate Change No2 Bill to a new target of net zero emissions by 2050.
The DAERA committee member, who voted against such a move, said the decision was reckless and would cause immense and costly upheaval across businesses and everyday life in Northern Ireland.
He said, “This is a shocking decision and I am in disbelief that 50 elected Assembly members have disregarded the well qualified advice of experts in climate change and policy who have stated categorically that a 2050 net zero target is not a realistic proposal. That is a fact, whereas those who voted for net zero by 2050, are living in a fantasy world.”
He added, “It is vital to note Minister Poots has not been acting on his own ideas or some preconceived plan to hold Northern Ireland back from meeting climate obligations. Crucially his No.2 Bill has been crafted to move Northern Ireland forward, but at a pace that is sustainable for agriculture, food production and security of supply. It also at its core, protects the environment and also contains an acute awareness of existing pressures on the most vulnerable in society. Those are very firm and assured footings on which to build to meet a target of 82% by 2050. The Green Party, The Alliance Party, Sinn Fein and the SDLP have brought great upheaval, uncertainty and catastrophic costs to bear on agri-food, government and across every facet of society by this reckless amendment.”
Mr Irwin continued, “This has become a pathetic popularity contest for some parties and is a very dangerous state of affairs, as the ramifications of decisions taken that fly in the face of sound scientific and expert advice, will not end well.”
He concluded, “In my comments in the chamber on the reckless decision to move to net zero by 2050, I made very clear my objections to such a course of action and the concerns of many industry representatives and the expert led UK Climate Change Committee. The views and concerns of our hard working agri-food industry have been cast aside in the most ridiculous fashion. This issue is far from over and I will continue to make my strongest objections to this calamitous approach to climate policy.”