SDLP Finance Spokesperson Matthew O’Toole has called for the Executive to prioritise funding to tackle the climate crisis.
Mr O’Toole called on Sinn Féin Finance Minister Conor Murphy to provide the funding needed and for it to be properly utilised by DAERA Minister Edwin Poots.
He said recent budgets had been entirely unambitious when it comes to dealing with the climate crisis.
Mr O’Toole said the Finance Minister must include specific funding for climate action in next year’s budget and it should form a key part of the Executive’s Programme for Government.
He was speaking as COP26 focused on the role of finance in tackling the climate crisis on Wednesday.
The South Belfast MLA said:
“The Executive has been historically poor at delivering big complex policy, but nothing is bigger or more complex than concerted action to address the climate emergency. We will need a wide range of initiatives which will cost money, but these will be key if we are to reach net zero emissions and protect our planet for future generations.
“To do this, we will two things: tangible actions in the new Programme for Government and a multi-year budget matched to those targets. We should have had a multi-year budget line matched to climate action already, but it will be unforgivable if next year's budget and Programme for Government don't have long term policy targets with matched spending.
“If Sinn Féin and the DUP meant what they say about climate crisis then there would have already been a significant financial commitment to help address these issues in the latest Executive budget, but there was nothing of the kind. They’re failing both in government and on the biggest challenge of our generation.”