Climate Policy

Our climate is changing, and it is clear that these changes will continue to have an impact on Northern Ireland.

Climate change presents a wide range of risks and opportunities to our natural environment, infrastructure services, built environment, economy and other vital societal support structures.

Whilst working to limit the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we must adapt. Historical emissions of greenhouse gases have made climate change inevitable, regardless of our emission reductions.

Key International and National Climate Change Policy Timeline

UK Climate Change Adaptation Policy

Climate Change Act 2008

The Climate Change Act 2008 establishes a legally–binding framework for the UK Government to address and combat climate change.

The Climate Change Act commits the UK Government by law to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100% of 1990 levels (net zero) by 2050. This includes reducing emissions from the devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
  • Set legally–binding ‘carbon budgets’ to act as stepping stones towards the 2050 target. A carbon budget is a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the UK over a five–year period.
  • Set up an independent expert body, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) to advise the government and devolved administrations on emissions targets, and addressing and preparing for climate change. It reports to Parliament on progress made and also publishes independent analysis.
  • Assess the risks and opportunities from climate change by producing a UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) every five years.
  • UK administrations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all required to produce a National Adaptation Programme (NAP) every five years, setting out their objectives, proposals and policies in response to the risks and opportunities identified in the CCRA.
UK Climate Change Risk Assessment

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Climate Change Acts 2008 requires the UK government to publish and provide Parliament with a UK–wide climate change risk assessment (CCRA) every five years. The assessment presents an analysis of key climate change risks and opportunities across all sectors of the UK economy. In June 2021 the Climate Change Committee published the third Independent Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report. It sets out the priority climate change risks and opportunities for the UK.

The CCRA3 includes:

In January 2022, the UK Government published the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2022 which is their response to the CCC’s findings.

Climate Change Risk Assessment Summary for Northern Ireland

The CCRA3 Summary for Northern Ireland was published in 2021 alongside the Independent Climate Change Risk Assessment. For Northern Ireland, 61 risks and opportunities from climate change have been assessed, including to the natural environment, infrastructure, communities, the built environment, businesses and from the impacts of climate change internationally.

Of these 61 risks and opportunities, more action is needed now to address 31 of them, further investigation is urgently needed for 19, sustaining current adaptation action is only deemed appropriate for five of the risks or opportunities and six have been classified as watching brief.

Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Policy

As required by the UK Climate Change Act 2008, the Northern Ireland government is required to develop a Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme (NICCAP) on a five yearly basis. The NICCAP outlines the approach to addressing the risks and opportunities identified in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA2) Evidence Report Summary for Northern Ireland.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) takes the lead on climate change issues and works closely with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Devolved Administrations of Scotland and Wales to develop the NICCAP.

Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019–2024 

 The Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019–2024 was published in September 2019 and sets out Northern Ireland’s adaptation approach and actions for the period 2019 – 2024. This programme addresses the government’s response to the climate change risk and opportunities as identified in the UK CCRA 2017 Evidence Report Summary for NI. For the first time, the NICCAP also includes an outline of how civil society and local government will contribute to addressing these climate change risks and opportunities.

View the NI Climate Change Adaptation Programme Platform here.

Climate NI was commissioned by DAERA to work with civil society and local government to develop their response to the risks and opportunities outlined in the UK CCRA 2017 NI Summary. The information collated and presented by Climate NI aims to:

  • Outline the important work planned by civil society and local government to contribute to the delivery of the outcome objectives of NICCAP2; and
  • Raise awareness among civil society and local government of the necessity to undertake organisational vulnerability assessments, planning and actions to manage climate change risks and opportunities.

The Civil Society and Local Government Adapts Chapter developed by Climate NI provides a summary of the adaptation contribution from civil society (academic, voluntary and community, and private sectors) and local government.

Civil Society and Local Government Adapts: NICCAP Supporting Document

Climate NI has prepared the Civil Society and Local Government Adapts Supporting Document highlighting the adaptation actions being undertaken by civil society and local government. This document provides further detail about each of the climate change adaptation actions and case studies outlined in the above chapter.

For further information on how to participate in this programme going forward or the next Climate Change Risk Assessment, please contact info@climatenorthernireland.org.uk.

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