The first Climate Commission on the island of Ireland has been set up by Belfast City Council, Queens University and the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN).
Councillor Daniel Baker, Belfast’s new Lord Mayor, said: “We have an obligation to protect the generations behind us and our youth don’t want fancy speeches, they want action. Our demands are most modest; we only want the earth.”
Professor John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen’s University, and the co-chair of the Commission said: “We have come to the party late. We must address the reality of the situation and act like we are in an emergency. We must divest to reinvest.”
Belfast City Council declared a climate emergency in October 2019 and has pledged to embark on a plan to limit the impact of the climate crisis on the city and its citizens.
Ms Grania Long, the Council’s Commissioner for Resilience, is the Belfast Climate Change Commission’s co-chair with Professor Barry. The council has developed a draft Resilience Strategy for the city, which is currently out to public consultation. It proposes that Belfast changes “to an inclusive, low-carbon, climate resilient economy in a generation”.
Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Peter Reynolds said: “The climate emergency is on everyone’s lips and the resilience strategy is a reassuring read.”
The Vice Chancellor of Queens University, Professor Ian Greer referred to Queen’s University ‘Shaping a Better World since 1845’ and said he looked forward to the university helping to shape solutions for a greener Belfast.
The Belfast Climate Commission is one of three city-based climate commissions across the UK; the others are in Edinburgh and Leeds.