We cannot repeat pandemic mistakes when tackling climate emergency, says Blair

We cannot repeat mistakes seen throughout the pandemic when it comes to tackling the climate emergency, Alliance Environment spokesperson John Blair MLA has said.

Mr Blair was speaking after the latest stage of the Climate Change Bill in the Assembly, which has been co-sponsored by Alliance alongside the other main parties except the DUP. He said it reflected many of the ideas contained in the recent Alliance Green New Deal in relation to protecting the natural environment.

“This Bill was brought forward when there was no movement on the introduction of a long overdue and increasingly urgent Climate Change Act, and in the context Northern Ireland is the only region in these islands not to have such an Act and associated frameworks. Therefore it is vital in our battle against the climate emergency,” he said.

“Like the pandemic, all of us will feel the impact of climate change. But we won’t all feel it equally. The COVID crisis has laid bare the injustices and weaknesses in our society and economy. We’ve seen the damage caused by governments acting too slowly, chronically underfunded public services, and flawed, short-term, and self-serving decisions. We simply cannot make these same mistakes when tackling the climate crisis.

“Industrialised nations disproportionately bear responsibility for climate change and millions are already suffering the impact. Climate change is destroying livelihoods, infrastructure and communities, forcing people from their homes, towns and countries.

“This crisis will only increase in magnitude if immediate action is not taken to rapidly reduce carbon emissions. We each all can and must play our part, as outlined in my party’s recent policy document, Alliance Green New Deal, which looks towards a green and just recovery.

“As co-sponsor, I was delighted to support the passage of this Bill, and I hope it progresses to help us tackle the climate emergency, for the good of our people and our future.”