Logo for Theme 2 Climate Change   Introduction

Climate change refers to the significant change in the average temperature over a period of time. The effects of climate change have become increasingly evident since the early 1990s and are a direct result of the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, primarily from human activities. These emissions adversely affect the climate system and raise the average air and ocean temperature which results in extreme weather events, rising sea levels, occurrences of drought, increased rainfall and consequent negative impacts on biodiversity and food production.

The global challenge facing us is immense. Recent extreme weather events have all had adverse effects both nationally and more locally in Dublin City on our daily lives and in some cases on our homes, businesses and livelihoods. Without appropriate intervention, levels of atmospheric CO2 will continue to increase, average temperatures will continue to rise and extreme weather events will become the norm resulting in devastating consequences. Dublin City Council is fully committed to ensuring the transition to a climate resilient and low carbon City and addressing climate action will be a core underpinning theme of the forthcoming City Development Plan.

Background and Context

In recent years, a range of policies and actions have been developed at global, European, national, regional and local levels.The National Climate Action Plan published in 2019 acknowledges the key role that land use and spatial planning can play in ensuring that population growth is managed in a sustainable way, thus reducing our carbon footprint.

Both the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) establish the importance of addressing climate action. The National Planning Framework includes National Strategic Outcome No. 8 to ‘Transition to a Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Society’ and at a regional level, the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly’s Regional Spatial Economic Strategy outlines climate action as one of the three key principles underpinning the Strategy in line with national policy. Climate Action is a key theme that runs through both documents, and in particular the need to promote sustainable and compact growth. The City Development Plan must align with these core objectives.

The City Council adopted the Dublin City Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2024 in 2019 which further demonstrates Dublin City Council’s commitment to transitioning to a low carbon society and economy. It identifies five key impact areas across the different sectors in the city which mirror the action areas. These include critical infrastructure and the built environment, transport, biodiversity, resource management and water resources.

The forthcoming City Development Plan will support and augment these key areas in its policies and objectives. Dublin City Council has a key part to play in influencing and enabling much needed change and promoting tangible actions to address climate change and ensuring the compact sustainable development of Dublin City.

Dublin City Council Climate Action plan

Key Issues

A number of significant measures have been implemented by the City Council to drive the response to the climate change crisis. The existing City Development Plan sets the foundation with a specific chapter dedicated to Climate Change and a range of policies and objectives. The Plan was amended to incorporate the NPF and the RSES climate change objectives and references the Dublin Climate Change Action Plan 2019 and the commitment of the City Council to implement this. The Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) covering the four Dublin Local Authorities was established in 2018 with Dublin City Council as the lead Authority. CARO will focus on climate-related projects, research, funding, the development of regional specialisms and addressing mitigation.

The Council also works with CODEMA (City of Dublin Energy Management Agency) which aims to accelerate Dublin’s low-carbon Two people walking through a garden transition in order to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the lives of citizens. The City has also actively promoted compact and sustainable growth through the targeted development of strategic brownfield lands in the City as well as measures to significantly enhance pedestrian and cycle facilities, the public realm and green infrastructure. There has been investment in energy efficient street lighting, smart bins and EV infrastructure. The City Council also requires the use of SuDS to reduce surface water run-off and ensure that appropriate flood risk management is implemented through the development management process and site specific assessments. Nonetheless, the City still faces many challenges in addressing climate action. However, by adapting to climate change now, Dublin City Council can ensure that opportunities to reduce greenhouse emissions are maximised.

The Dublin City Development Plan 2022 – 2028 will need to respond to climate change through a two pronged strategy: climate mitigation and climate adaptation. Mitigation refers to the suite of measures that can help reduce emissions. Climate adaption refers to actions that can be undertaken to reduce the negative impact of climate change.

The Dublin City Development Plan can play an important role through the implementation of its policies and objectives to help address mitigation and adaptation requirements.

The Plan must influence a reduction in carbon emissions and the negative impacts of climate change by promoting compact urban growth and sustainable transport as well as measures to minimise flooding, enhance green infrastructure and biodiversity, minimise energy use, promote energy conservation and use of renewable energy sources. The Plan must provide for effective management of our resources to ensure that our carbon footprint is reduced. The need to address climate change must, therefore, underpin all aspects of the future economic and physical development of the City. In line with Regional Policy Objective 3.6 of the RSES, Dublin City Council will also need to consider appropriate mechanisms and baseline data as to how progress towards carbon reduction targets can be measured over the coming years.

Climate Action – Some key Questions

1 How can the Dublin City Development Plan facilitate Dublin’s transition to a low carbon society?
2 How can the Development Plan address the challenges associated with climate change in order to ensure Dublin City becomes a more climate resilient place to live?
3 What measures do you think Dublin City Council needs to introduce in order to improve and promote climate action awareness?
4 What development standards should be introduced to assist in the promotion and delivery of climate action within development management?
5 How can energy efficiency and effectiveness be improved within the period of the next City Development Plan? 

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