Improvement Objective One
Mid Ulster District Council will seek to reduce the environmental impacts of our own activities and will contribute to the improvement of the wider environment through local action.
This objective links to theme two in Mid Ulster’s Community Plan: Infrastructure.
The outcomes aligned to this objective are:
- we increasingly value our environment and enhance it for our children
- we will develop a rolling programme of projects and actions to work towards and contribute to a more sustainable Council and District
Why we are doing it?
As we navigate through and slowly emerge into a new era, two years on from the start of the pandemic, how we reshape our world will have key implications for our ability to address climate change this decade.
COP 26 (Conference of the Parties 26) was held in November 2021 in Glasgow. The World Climate Change Conference, brought together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change and revisit climate pledges made under the 2015 Paris Agreement i.e. an agreed path forward to tackle global warming. Governments that signed the Paris Agreement, pledged to cut emissions and keep temperatures well below a 2C rise by the end of this century, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says even a 1.5C rise could be devastating.
Nations adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact, aiming to turn the 2020’s into a decade of climate action and support. The pact aims to cut emissions further and faster in the next decade. Crucial other decisions were also reached, on accelerating the shift to clean power, on how international carbon trading should work, and on how much money rich nations should funnel to poorer countries to support their efforts to deal with climate change. The United Nations (UN) is also directed to assess climate plans every year, turning every COP into a pressure point for nations to commit more.
Climate change has been recognised internationally as the most important environmental challenge that we currently face. It is a large scale, long-term shift in the Earth’s weather patterns and average temperatures. Scientific consensus recognises human activity as a major cause of recent unprecedented warming and climate projections show that past, current and future gas emissions will influence the climate for decades.
The intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) predicts increases in extreme weather events over the twenty first century and attributes this to a result of greenhouse emissions and rising surface temperatures. The IPCC’s 2021 Climate Change Report regarding the physical science basis, states that, “Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe with human influence contributing to many observed changes in weather and climate extremes”.
The latest U.K. Climate Change projections (UKC P18) predict that Northern Ireland will experience warmer, wetter winters and hotter drier summers by the 2050’s, with extreme weather events becoming more frequent.
Northern Ireland’s first legally binding climate bill is currently making passage through the local Stormont Executive. It will see legislation that introduce targets for Northern Ireland for years 2030, 2040 and 2050 – (i.e. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions), along with an independent Climate Change Commissioner’s office. Other amendments to the bill will include a “just transition” fund aimed at supporting agriculture, statutory carbon budgets, targets for biodiversity and soil quality.
We recognise the key role and contribution that the Council has in supporting and promoting local actions and local people, businesses and partners in the move to a low carbon future.
Taking action to protect the environment for future generations is a priority for Mid Ulster and is recognised in the Districts Community Plan and Corporate Plan. We care about the environment and understand our legal duty to protect it.
We seek to minimize the environmental impacts of our own Council activities and work with other partners and stakeholders to protect and enhance our local environment.
Subject to procurement regulations, we can also choose to buy local produce which not only supports our local economy, it also reduces carbon emissions from freight transport and travel.
Climate change is a collective issue and we can all make changes to our lifestyles to reduce the impact on the environment.