Young people meet MLAs at the All Party Group to discuss Climate Action

Young environmental campaigners are calling on the Stormont Executive to fully acknowledge the reality of climate change and to take action to tackle it.

A delegation of youth campaign groups will meet the All Party Group on Climate Action on Wednesday (August 19) to voice their concerns following comments from Environment Minister Edwin Poots last month rejecting the term ‘climate crisis’.

The delegation is made up of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum’s Environmental Climate Group, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) Climate Panel and the Youth Climate Association NI.

Andra Vladu, from NIYF’s Environmental Climate Group said: “Young people in Northern Ireland and across the globe want a safe future. The science is clear on the climate and ecological crises facing my and future generations. We want to see that our government and politicians fully acknowledge these crises and that their actions rise up to the challenges of addressing them.”

NIYF Director Chris Quinn said: “Young people have told us that they are increasingly concerned about climate change.  Despite lockdown they have continued to campaign on these issues and it’s critical that our decision makers listen to what young people are telling them.  Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, one of the biggest issues facing young people’s future was climate change, it is important that this remains high on the decision makers’ agenda”.

Last month Mr Poots said that climate crisis language “is something my department do not accept, and they do not believe that this is appropriate language”.  He added that “introducing legislation in the next three months to tackle climate change is an impossible timeframe”.

The Minister later accepted there was a climate crisis following an apology and admission by Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that the department ‘got it wrong’.