NEWS & STORIES
Generation Action Youth Panel member Evie gives her take on COP28
"When reflecting on the achievements of the COP28 conference in Dubai, it can be very difficult to articulate how to move forward and take what has been discussed into account, within our own lives, communities and ultimately in our country.
This is particularly challenging for Northern Ireland (NI), due to the prominence and dependence on the agriculture industry. I live near farms, many of my friends and family are farmers. Farming is the largest emitting sector in NI, contributing to 27% of emissions.
After speaking with a local farmer, I immediately understood the struggle of modernising farming practices to mitigate carbon emissions and balancing the cost factor. A report from the NI Assembly in 2022 noted we will need to lose over 1 million sheep and cattle to meet the Assembly’s target for 2050- to reach net zero carbon emissions.
These goals are essentially taking money out of farmers’ pockets and the local economy. However, when compared to Scotland and England we are lagging behind in our targets. So, whilst the challenges vary across the UK, we must all play our part – and find ways to articulate change no matter where, or how, we live.
I’ve also noticed that that articulating the need for action is harder in NI due to the absence of our devolved government. During COP28, the news in NI focused more on efforts to re-establish the Executive, the cost-of-living crisis and the impact of unprecedented rainfall (many businesses near where I live remain closed due to flooding) without joining the dots: climate change impacts on all three.
Furthermore, it is no secret that due to the 30 year conflict of “The Troubles”, NI always has one eye on the past. This means it is easy to feel very disconnected from what needs to be done for the future. However, whilst on face value this huge focus on the past stands in the way of change, our vast experience in NI of working together and compromise may just be what this climate crisis needs.
That’s why I’m proud to be part of Transform Our World Youth Panel in NI and our aim of sharing this message and many more with young people who can create the environment for change and bring COP28 to the next level."
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