Belfast could become a model city for net zero carbon transformation

  • Speakers at the latest Renewed Ambition event say that Belfast could become an example to other cities in tackling the climate crisis and growing the economy at the same time.

    Countries and individual tech companies around the world have been announcing ambitious targets for reducing their carbon emissions in an effort to slow global climate breakdown. Northern Ireland has been making great progress on decarbonisation in recent years due to wind energy and investment in innovative green tech startups.

    Belfast has been named as a key city that's primed to reach net zero carbon emissions if the right next steps are taken. The message comes from the latest Renewed Ambition event, where leading sustainability experts highlighted Belfast for its recently launched Climate Plan.

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    The city could become an example to other cities around the world on how to embed sustainability into businesses and reach net zero carbon. It was named alongside other cities such as Copenhagen, where similar strategies have seen bold climate action and sustainable economic growth.

    Alice Charles, a Fermanagh native and Lead for Cities, Infrastructure & Urban Services at the World Economic Forum in Geneva urged Belfast to focus on clean energy, more efficient buildings and infrastructure, smart digital technology, and a closed circular economy approach to managing waste, water, and materials.

    On the topic of green investment, she commented: "Funds say they have lots of money for investment in carbon reduction but there aren’t enough bankable projects. Cities which have been successful on their journey to decarbonisation have put capacity into their system to create projects with the risk profile and structure to attract investors."

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    Russell Smyth, Partner at KPMG in Northern Ireland and Head of KPMG’s Sustainable Futures, highlighted several easy wins for reducing Belfast's carbon emissions, such as moving away from oil central heating: "The most obvious priority is in domestic housing where 39% of Belfast’s carbon emissions originate. Reducing that by moving away from the likes of oil central heating doesn’t require technical innovation and be quickly rolled on a cost neutral basis."

    Belfast City Council's Commissioner for Resilience Grainia Long explained that the city's approach comes from both a climate action and economic angle: "The plan aims to achieve this through the delivery of a number of transformational projects which have been designed in partnership between key stakeholders across the city. A core feature of this work has been the development of a Net Zero Emissions Roadmap for the city which prioritises buildings and transport in the city’s decarbonisation pathway."

    Source: Written based on press release

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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