He was speaking as world leaders gather for COP27 in Egypt.
Mr Durkan said it was deeply regrettable that radical climate initiatives could not be implemented in the North.
Said the Foyle MLA: “As world leaders gather in Egypt this week we need to see meaningful change, we have had enough warm words when it comes to climate action and we see the impact of government’s failure to act in the increasingly damaging climate events taking place around the world.
“Closer to home, the North has repeatedly lagged behind the rest of these islands when it comes to protecting our planet.
“We have been discussing the threat of climate change for decades and the Assembly could only agree on its own climate legislation this year.
“Now, when we finally have targets in place, we are being prevented from making the necessary changes due to the DUP’s ongoing boycott of the institutions.
“The corridors of Stormont are lying empty while the world burns and our young people’s futures cannot be used by any party as a bargaining chip to serve their own ends.
“The SDLP will not be found wanting when it comes to the biggest challenge facing our future.
“We want to see the Executive declare a climate emergency, ensure a just transition, build a green economy through a Green New Deal, utilise increasing renewable and clean energy supplies, the restoration of our environment by tackling the biodiversity crisis through a Biodiversity and Nature Restoration Bill and will fight to ensure the moratorium on fracking, which I originally introduced as Minister, remains in place.
“To truly tackle the climate emergency we must recognise that we need an all-island approach with much increased cross-border cooperation to implement greener public transport and all-island rail options, introduce a Single Energy Market for the island and to eradicate the air pollution that already claims too many lives on both sides of the border.
“If we want to build a new Ireland for future generations then we need to take action now, before it’s too late.”Tags: