Ministers, MLAs, councils engage with the “Race to Zero” team on advice to Northern Ireland’s firms
BEIS, the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA), Translink and Planet Mark have united to offer net zero solutions to Northern Ireland’s businesses
The Zero Carbon Hydrogen bus visited Parliament Buildings today (Thursday 30 Sept) to meet with Ministers, MLAs and councils ahead of the global COP26 conference in Glasgow in November.
In the UK, the Race to Zero Carbon push is coordinated by Kwasi Kwarteng’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department working with Local Authorities, PlanetMark, the Institute of Directors, and others. It is the Government’s flagship campaign to raise awareness among the business community about the urgent need for firms – as part of a wider push - to cut carbon emissions.
The Northern Ireland leg of the Tour sees Planet Mark partner with NILGA and Translink to explore learning across the region in Translink’s new zero emission hydrogen bus, visiting local businesses to hear how organisations are decarbonising. In addition, there will be net zero workshops for businesses that are starting out on their low carbon transition. The milestone visit and tour is supported by councils, with location support from Belfast City, Mid and East Antrim, Derry City and Strabane and Causeway Coast and Glens Council.
August’s hard hitting Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report is absolutely clear: “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land.” Businesses and organisations in Northern Ireland, and across the UK, are therefore being dynamically encouraged to take action now to reduce their carbon emissions and create a healthier planet and society.
NILGA President, Cllr Robert Burgess, said:
“I am delighted to welcome the team from Planet Mark who have been on tour, demonstrating to Northern Ireland’s businesses how we can set our own very credible carbon reduction targets and get things done, now. It is vital that our local businesses begin their journey on the Race to Zero, and I trust that the events this week will have empowered local firms and workers to protect our environment, by demystifying what is needed to achieve net zero. The tour has also been highlighting the good work many companies are already doing to address their carbon output.”
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA said:
“It’s great to see the Carbon Battle Bus here on the Northern Ireland leg of its tour of the UK. The bus currently touring Northern Ireland has been manufactured locally in Ballymena and provides an ideal opportunity to showcase and highlight the innovative solutions to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in particular our budding hydrogen sector which I hope develops and grows. This is a great opportunity to showcase actions that business, government departments, charities, other organisations and individuals are doing to help combat climate change and make a positive difference in their communities which will be presented to the world in support of COP26.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA said:
“I am pleased to demonstrate my support for COP26 and our commitment to act now to address the climate crisis. I believe that COP26 provides us with a unique opportunity to ensure a step change in how we can work together to tackle the climate crisis and work together to deliver a just transition to net zero.
“Tackling the climate crisis is the single biggest global challenge we face and, as Infrastructure Minister, I have made addressing the climate crisis a top priority.
“I am committed to delivering on the decarbonisation of public transport and promoting modal shift, which will be key to reducing the reliance on the private car. Translink’s hydrogen bus project highlights Northern Ireland’s ability to produce sustainable hydrogen for use in state of the art, locally built, hydrogen buses to deliver public transport services across our network. I am delighted that local organisations, including Translink, are able to participate in the Zero Carbon Bus Tour which provides an opportunity to showcase these exemplary projects.”
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA said:
“I am committed to ensuring the impacts of climate change on our economy are reflected within my Department’s economic policy priorities so I was very happy to meet with the team on the Zero Carbon Bus Tour.
“Our Vision for a 10x Economy sets out a bold and ambitious vision for the Northern Ireland economy through a decade of innovation and recognises climate change as a generational challenge that must be addressed.
“My Department’s new Energy Strategy will also play a major role in our efforts to address climate change. Our overall goal is to achieve net zero carbon and affordable energy which, through focusing on indigenous clean energy sources, will ensure that more of the money we spend on energy stays in the local economy and helps to create jobs and wealth.”