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Climate Change

Council Declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ 

On Monday 7 October 2019 a Notice of Motion was brought to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ and directed management to effect dramatic short-term changes in every area under its control.

Furthermore, the motion also required Council to follow best practice from across Europe to mitigate the impacts of Climate Change and to convene a symposium to assist and develop in an action plan to mitigate the impacts of Climate Change.

It was agreed that the development of the Council’s Local Climate Adaptation Plan would address the NOM in that all areas of council operations would be reviewed and their impact on climate considered and adaptation methods identified.  

Furthermore, it was agreed that Officers would commence the organisation of a Climate Symposium for Spring 2020.    

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is arguably the most serious threat we face today to our way of life. Climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world. Since the mid-1800s, humans have contributed to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air mainly through burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. This causes global temperatures to rise, resulting in long-term changes. 

Burning fossil fuels produces energy, but also releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous monoxide into the air. Over time, large quantities of these gases have built up in the atmosphere. For example, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose by 40% during the 20th and 21st century and is now over 400ppm (parts per million). 

Once in the atmosphere, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide form a 'blanket' around the planet. This blanket traps the heat from the sun and causes the earth to heat up. In their most recent report, the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) states that human activity is unequivocally the cause of climate change.

Since the Industrial Revolution, the average temperature of the planet has risen by around 1°C. This is a rapid change in terms of our global climate system.

As of 2018, the 20 warmest years on record globally have been in the past 22 years. The Met Office’s State of the UK Climate report for 2021 shows the ten hottest years in the UK since 1884 have all happened since 2002.

If high emissions continue it is expected that the UK will experience:

  • Warmer and wetter winters
  • Hotter and drier summers
  • More frequent and intense weather extremes
  • These changes could have a big impact on how we live our lives.

Local Climate Adaptation Plan

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, along with other local authorities, are working with Climate NI to develop a Local Climate Adaptation Plan. This process is led by a Cross-Departmental Officer Working Group who are reviewing all our operations and considering the threats of climate change including increased rainfall and extreme flooding, increased storminess, extremes of heat and cold, sea level rises and coastal erosion.  

The plan will include positive action to reduce our impacts on climate change (Mitigation) and increase our resilience to deal with its impacts (Adaptation).  

For more information on Climate Adaptation visit: https://www.climatenorthernireland.org.uk/


What is COP26? 

COP26 stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ which will be held for the 26th time in Glasgow, with the UK as President, from 31 October to 12 November 2021. The event will be attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which came into force in 1994. Since the signing of the treaty Climate Change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority.

The COP26 summit will bring world leaders together to commit to urgent global climate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. But each of us has a part to play. That’s why, in the run up to the summit, COP26 organisers will be working closely with businesses, civil society groups, schools and people across the UK as part of our conversation on tackling climate change.

So why not get involved and take your own small steps towards reducing climate change? Together we can make a BIG difference. 

For further information please visit: https://ukcop26.org/

Climate Change Conference