Poots welcomes UK High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 to Northern Ireland

Date published: 03 June 2021


Environment Minister Edwin Poots has recently met with the UK High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping, during a three-day visit to Northern Ireland.

Mr Topping is visiting the region to meet local businesses, farmers, city representatives, and civic society organisations to see the positive climate work being delivered locally and to raise awareness and ambition of potential action going forward.

DAERA Minister and the NI Executive’s lead for COP26, Minister Poots said: “There is already a significant amount of good work underway in Northern Ireland to tackle climate change and reduce emissions. I am delighted that Nigel will get the opportunity to see some of this positive work during his visit to Northern Ireland.

“Many of our departments, cities, councils, businesses and industries are already taking steps towards a greener economy. As the NI Executive’s lead for COP26, I am keen for Northern Ireland to support the UK Government’s ambitions for this historic summit.”

DAERA is leading the way on a number of key initiatives that will drive climate action and help Northern Ireland support the UK’s COP26 objectives. This includes the Forest for our Future initiative, a Clean Air Strategy, a Peatlands Strategy, development the NICS Single Use Plastic Plan, the roll out of the Northern Ireland Environment Strategy, amongst other activities.

Minister Poots said: “I recently launched ‘Sustainability for the Future - DAERA’s Plan to 2050’. A long-term plan for my Department, with sustainability at its core, setting out a vision for a healthy environment, health economy, and a healthy population and how my Department will deliver this over the next 30 years.

“My Department is also leading on the development of the Executive’s multi-decade Green Growth Strategy and Climate Action Plan as well as developing policy proposals for climate change legislation.

“Once finalised, the Green Growth strategy will be the NI Executive’s route map to addressing our climate and environmental challenges by delivering a resilient recovery and brighter future through a greener, low emissions and circular economy for Northern Ireland, whilst contributing to the wider UK Net-zero by 2050 target.”

UK High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping, said: “On my first trip to Northern Ireland as the UK Climate Action Champion for COP26, it is encouraging to hear about the work already underway and planned and how it is feeding to the UK’s ambition for COP26 and beyond.

“I am looking forward to meeting people from across a range of sectors including agriculture, transport, local government, finance, business and civic society and being able to see first-hand their actions and innovation. Taking steps to deliver a healthy, resilient and decarbonised world is something we can all work towards together.”

Minister Poots says while it is important to champion all the positive work on-going and planned he recognises there is still work to be done: “There are many opportunities for Northern Ireland to continue to drive climate action and reduce emissions. However, it must be done in a way that is just and does not do irreparable harm to our local economy. I am committed to Northern Ireland playing its part on a local, national and international stage to address climate change; supporting the UK COP26 objectives; and contributing to the UK hitting its net-zero target by 2050.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The United Kingdom will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1 - 12 November 2021.
  2. Nigel Topping is the UN High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 in the UK, appointed by the UK Prime Minister in January 2020. Nigel works alongside the Chilean High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP25, Gonzalo Muñoz. The role of the high-level champions is to strengthen collaboration and drive action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, and regions on climate change, and coordinate this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Nigel was most recently CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, following an 18 year career in the private sector, having worked across the world in emerging markets and manufacturing.
  3. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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