According to Attwood, the “green and clean” brand of Ireland could be grown if NI was and was seen as, a carbon leader – and leading on climate change is central to achieving this.

The minister said that his department had begun work on a climate change adaptation programme to meet the challenges posed by changes in climate.

The programme will be supported by the findings of the first Northern Ireland climate change risk assessment report (CCRA) which highlights over 100 climate change risks and opportunities facing the country between now and the end of the century.

The report is one of a number of such reports produced by an independent consortium funded by Defra and the devolved administrations. They provide an assessment of the risks to the UK of the current and predicted impacts of climate change.

The CCRA reports are the first of its kind and will be prepared on a five year cycle.

Endorsing the findings of the assessment report, Attwood said: “The Northern Ireland report provides an evidence base which will help us better understand the challenges of climate change.”

Turning to one of the main findings of the report, he added: “An anticipated increase in the number of flooding incidents is one of the threats highlighted in the report and shows why we must act now to prepare ourselves. We also need to tackle emissions and a critical approach is the Climate Change Bill.”

Maxine Perella

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie