Have your say on the Climate Change (NO.2) Bill

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Climate change is one of the most challenging issues facing all of us and whatever pathway we choose to address it, there is no doubt that it will change how we currently live, work and travel.

 

While many countries around the world have, in recent years, introduced laws and strategies to reduce emissions from greenhouse gases (GHG), we have yet to develop and implement dedicated climate change legislation here. It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that we play our part in “this decisive decade” to tackle climate change and to put in place the mechanisms and solutions to protect our local environment and communities.

 

In May 2021, the Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, of which I am the Chairperson, launched its ‘Call for Evidence and Views’ on a Private Member’s Climate Change Bill. While, we continue to examine and review the evidence submitted in relation to this Bill, we are now also calling on local people and relevant stakeholders to provide their views on a separate Climate Change (No.2) Bill, introduced by the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in July 2021, which we expect to come to the Committee this September.

 

While, it is unusual for a Committee to seek evidence and views on two separate pieces of legislation that fall within the same policy area, we have a responsibility to examine and consider the merits and impacts of each Bill independently, in line with the Assembly’s legislative process. 

 

Working to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change is our primary concern and it’s essential that we are open to exploring all proposed pathways to assist us in reaching that goal. It’s also crucial that each sector of our economy and those who live and work in our local communities are provided with an opportunity to have their say on the full range of policy options and strategies available.

 

The Climate Change (No.2) Bill contains a number of proposals which include a target to reduce net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 82% by 2050 (compared to baseline levels) and the setting of interim emissions targets for 2030 and 2040. It would also give responsibility to the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to set Carbon Budgets here, outlining the maximum GHG emissions level on a 5-yearly basis. Further proposals include; progress reports being laid with the Assembly on the attainment of Carbon Budgets and periodic independent reports from the UK Committee on Climate Change on the progress made on mitigation strategies.

 

The Committee understands that while many will feel that this Bill provides a viable and achievable pathway towards tackling and mitigating climate change, others may think that it does not go far enough. That is why it is vitally important that all relevant stakeholders and our local citizens take this opportunity to give us their views. It is our responsibility to listen to all voices and opinions and to work towards shaping this legislation so that it provides a balanced, fair and holistic approach towards tackling climate change.

 

If you have a view on this Bill complete our ‘Call for Evidence and Views’ on the Assembly’s website at by Thursday, 30 September 2021.

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