Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has said the lack of an Executive means Northern Ireland may get left further behind on tackling climate change.
Councillor Nicholl was speaking after the Westminster Environmental Audit Committee released a report saying Britain will suffer 7,000 heat-related deaths every year by 2050 if the UK Government does not take decisive action. It added 38C temperatures will be the norm within a couple of decades, and has recommended a Minister appointed to lead on climate change-related health risks, as well as a strategy to raise awareness.
“The need to act on climate change has never been more pressing – the evidence is indisputable that disruption to the Earth is happening, with ever-increasing extreme weather events such as heatwaves and floods, along with melting ice and rising sea levels,” she said.
“Those events particularly affect the more vulnerable in our society – it was estimated a heatwave in 2003 led to the death of over 2,000 people. Failing to address that danger with urgent action will threaten the well-being of an increasing number of those vulnerable people.
“Unfortunately, Northern Ireland is the only region without its own legislation on climate change, so we are already lagging behind the rest of the UK. As long as there is no Executive and therefore no functioning Assembly Environment Committee, there is a real risk Northern Ireland gets even further left behind the rest of the UK when it comes to this issue. We need the urgent return of devolution and a plan put in place before it’s too late.”