Climate breakdown is the seismic global challenge facing this generation. Failure to take action now will result in significant changes to our global climate and weather patterns that will devastate developed and developing economies across the world, leaving millions destitute and poverty-stricken.
Global warming is happening and at a much faster rate than anticipated. Extraordinary action is required to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avert irreversible damage to our climate.
Over the course of the last few years, millions of citizens, led by young people, across Europe and across the world have called on governments and the political establishment to take action on the climate emergency, for this generation and for the next.
The expressions of this crisis, through protests in European capitals and school strikes on the streets of Northern Ireland, have their roots in social, economic, ecological and political upheaval. We know that this crisis will disproportionately affect those least able to bear the burden. Interventions designed to tackle the climate emergency must be robust, equitable and contribute to social justice more broadly.
We cannot create a society that offers tax cuts to the wealthy while introducing new levies that disproportionately target the poor.
SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has already started the process of change - investing in zero-carbon public transport, delivering new cycle lanes and changing permitted development rules to ease the burden in creating new electric vehicle charging points. The SDLP is also investing in climate friendly street lighting in communities across the North to reduce our reliance on outdated carbon technologies.
SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly has proposed legislation in the Northern Ireland Assembly to address the ecological crisis via her Environment and Nature Restoration Bill.
While balancing the needs of our economy with the needs of people and communities, we must also respect the needs of our natural environment. Protecting our indigenous plant and animal life is critical to preserving the delicate ecosystems which we occupy. That demands a tough new look at planning policy to create a new approach to development that respects and nurtures local habitats. The shift to a net gain approach to biodiversity and development across these islands should be examined as a potential model for an ecologically aware economy.
⚠️ The need to take action to protect, restore and enhance nature has never been more urgent ⚠️@doloreskelly is bringing forward an Environment and Nature Restoration Bill to protect our biodiversity.— Social Democratic and Labour Party (@SDLPlive) January 11, 2021
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