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Climate Legislation in Northern Ireland and Cross-Border Cooperation

Posted On: 02 Aug 2021

North-South Northern Ireland


In summer 2019, the United Kingdom Government set an ambitious target of 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to 1990, overturning the target set by the Climate Change Act 2008.

This was a result of the claim widely shared by public bodies, scientists and civil society that significant measures must be taken in response to global warming. Nevertheless, if the UK Government and Parliament are supported and advised by an independent body such as the Climate Change Committee (CCC), what about devolved governments, especially when it comes to Northern Ireland?

The latter recently saw the launch by a Member of the Legislative Assembly of proposed legislation that includes provision for an independent body overseeing climate change concerns.

This was followed by the introduction of another climate change bill by Northern Ireland’s Agriculture and Environment Minister. Importantly, Northern Ireland’s geographical location offers a seemingly favourable context concerning cooperation on environmental management with the Republic of Ireland.

However, while both governments are placing the challenges of protecting biodiversity and fighting against climate change in their respective governmental programmes, this Briefing Paper questions the extent to which such cooperation between the two jurisdictions is encouraged by the proposed legislation.

Download PDFThe Centre for Cross Border Studies