Whilst climate change is a global scale problem requiring a multi-faceted international response, the overall challenge for Dublin City Council is to develop and improve its inter-disciplinary approach in order to meet and exceed national targets.
The EU has committed to reducing greenhouse gases to 20% below 1990 levels by the year 2020, and this sets a higher target than that set in Kyoto for 2012. Dublin city has sought a more ambitious target of a 20% reduction for the whole city and for a 33% reduction for the Council’s own energy by 2020, and the EU Mayors Adapt Initiative has agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 40% by 2030.
In relation to adaptation measures, the city needs to ensure that the threat of coastal inundation, storm surge and fluvial flooding does not give rise to an unacceptable threat to the functioning of the city and the welfare of citizens. Risk must be assessed and a co-ordinated response devised.
A national level climate change adaptation framework (DoECLG, 2012) sets out a phased strategy to assess vulnerable areas and develop local and sectoral adaptation plans. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 was passed in December 2015 and requires the preparation of a new national mitigation plan and an adaptation framework. Such a plan will be developed by Dublin City Council for the city in accordance with guidance and building on current work.
Climate change mitigation measures need to focus on progressing more sustainable energy use, and the national level ‘Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012 – 2020’ sets strategic goals seeking reductions in energy demand and reduced anthropogenic gas emissions. On foot of this, the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) sets national sectoral targets, and the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) sets out a policy roadmap to 2020, setting a higher target of 33% energy reductions in the public sector (for example).
Dublin City Council works in tandem with Codema (City of Dublin Energy Management Agency) to devise energy policy and recognises that future improvements require strategic vision in relation to energy planning, working to both short- and long-term goals.