What is Climate Change?

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Climate change refers to a significant and long-term change in the measures of climate such as temperature, rainfall or wind.  Scientific evidence has demonstrated that warming of the global climate system is unequivocal and is caused by a combination of natural processes and factors and human activities though greenhouse gas emissions.  Predicted and measured adverse impacts include the following (Desmond et al., 2014)

  • Changes in precipitation (rainfall) patterns;
  • On-going sea level rise; and
  • Increases in surface air and sea surface temperatures.

These physical climate changes will result in-

  • Changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate events including more intense storms and rainfall events;
  • Increased likelihood and magnitude of river and coastal flooding;
  • Water shortages in summer in the east;
  • Adverse impacts on water quality;
  • Changes in distribution of plant and animal species; and
  • Effects on fisheries sensitive to changes in temperature.

Whilst any single extreme event cannot entirely be attributed to climate change, Ireland has of late experienced a number of extreme weather events (Storm Emma, Storm Ophelia, Summer 2018 heatwave) that are likely to become more common due to global climate warming.

Image of Clontarf during a flood

How does Climate Change affect Local Authorities?

Local Authority staff are at the front line of response to extreme weather events such as gritting and clearing roads during snow and frost events, protecting building and assets during flood events and clearing roads and trees during storm events. Climate Change brings a range of challenges to a Local Authority such as damage to critical infrastructure, roads, bridges, drains, sewers, local authority buildings and housing stock.  It can also cause disruption to local communities and to the services provided by the Local Authority. Recent extreme weather events outlined above contributed to disruption to transport, fallen trees, damage to road surfaces, impacts on biodiversity and an increase in Local Authority cleanup costs.

Local Authorities need to be able to adapt to the current impacts of climate change (adaptation)and become more resilient to the future impacts we will face. We also need to ensure that we reduce the impact of our own services and activities by reducing the carbon emissions (mitigation) of our services and being more environmentally sustainable in our operations. 

Image venn diagram of Mitigation and Adaptation

(Source: Codema)

Your Local Authority and Climate Action

In accordance with National Policy and Dublin City Council in response to Covenant of Mayors requirements Dublin City Council and the Dublin energy agency Codema have joined together to develop a Climate Change Action Plan as a collaborative response to the impact that climate change is having, and will continue to have on the Region and its citizens.

Dublin City Council’s Draft Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2024 sets out how the Council will improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its own buildings and operations, whilst making the area a more climate-resilient City with engaged and informed citizens. This will be achieved by a range of ongoing and planned actions in five key areas (Energy and Buildings, Transport, Flood Resilience, Nature-Based Solutions and Resource Management), which will be continuously monitored, evaluated and updated.

Infographic of the Climate Action Plan's Targets

(Source: Codema)

Infographic of Dublin City Council's Key Targets

(Source: Codema)

You can see what your Council is doing on each of these five actions areas by clicking here:

  • Energy and Buildings
  • Transport
  • Flood Resilience
  • Nature-Based Solutions
  • Resource Management
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