Isle of Man hosts British-Irish Council summit

Leading politicians sitting on a long table at a press conference, with microphones and name badges on the table. Members of the press look on.

The challenges of meeting climate changes targets have been discussed by senior political leaders at the latest meeting of the British-Irish Council summit.

The 41st summit saw representatives from the UK government, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and crown dependencies meet on the Isle of Man.

Among those taking part were Scottish First Minister John Swinney and Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris.

Mr Harris said each of the administrations needed to "look at how we can accelerate and do more" to tackle climate change, with renewable energy being "a major part of it".

When asked if the Council still had a meaningful role to play, the Taoiseach said the two-day meeting had allowed the council to consider one of the “biggest modern challenges of our time”.

There was "huge value attached to" the forum, which was marking its 25th anniversary in 2024, after being created as part of the Good Friday Agreement to develop good working relationships between the nations of Britain and Ireland.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the event, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly said the nations were facing common challenges "more then ever", which ranged from pressures on public services to green energy approaches.

Bold targets

Manx Chief Minister Alfred Cannan said the Isle of Man was "just about on track" with its climate change targets, but the timeline for meeting green goals was becoming "increasingly tight".

Deputy Lyndon Trott, Chief Minister of Guernsey, said while climate goals for the nations were “realistic" , they would be “challenging in terms of delivery”.

He said the expectation that demand for offshore wind infrastructure would exceed supply in the near future was served as an example.

Balancing the development of renewable energy projects with biodiversity considerations was also cited as a challenge for nations by economy and energy secretary for the Welsh government Jeremy Miles.

He said it was "really important explain and persuade people of the value" of such schemes.

Mr Swinney also suggested raising levels of understanding "about the climate emergency was a crucial starting point” for administrations.

"There has to be clear and consistent policy commitment to achieve net-zero," he said.

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