Durkan: COP28 agreement on fossil fuels lacks substance

environment climate change mark h durkan COP28

SDLP Climate Change Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has said steps agreed at COP28 to transition away from fossil fuels do not go far enough.

Mr Durkan said the move, which has been agreed for the first time, is not as ambitious as it should be in order to combat climate catastrophe.

The agreement cites the deep, rapid and sustained reductions of fossil fuels in order to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Speaking following the commitment at the UN climate summit in Dubai, Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said:

“For three decades the UN has highlighted the burning of fossil fuels as a key contributor of global warming. Carbon emissions are still rising and today’s deal, while a step in the right direction, is nowhere near the level of ambition that’s needed in order to tackle the climate emergency.

“At this point, the climate summits have become nothing more than a show of lip service with little tangible action being achieved. Today’s agreement echoes that of COP26, once again conceding to India and China’s objections, with a failure to quantify goals around the transition away from fossil fuels. Without established targets this commitment is weak and riddled with loopholes. Stopping the use of fossil fuels won’t be easy and countries need to have a watertight plan to fully support a just transition, but it’s the only option we have in order to save our planet. There is no Planet B.

“We owe it to the next generation to make the tough decisions now, to make a radical worldwide plan and to introduce strategies which will create new green jobs and create a corporate green levy on large companies to assist the funding of climate action. Sadly, Northern Ireland’s record on climate emergency has been a series of missed and delayed opportunities. It is beyond lamentable that once again we aren’t represented on the world stage as part of these vital talks on the biggest issue facing this generation and every government across the globe; no Executive means no minister to voice our views.

“The SDLP will continue to fight to ensure that the climate emergency remains top of the agenda both at the Assembly and Westminster. We all have a role to play to protect and secure the future of our planet.”

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