Public sector leading by example
Ministers Bruton and Canney will today sign a Charter with representatives from all local authorities
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, T.D., and the Minister of State Sean Canney T.D. will today (29 October 2019) sign a Charter with all 31 Local Authorities, committing local government to driving forward meaningful climate action in their communities, through the actions set out in the Climate Action Plan.
Minister Bruton said,
"The public sector leading by example is a central pillar of the Climate Action Plan. I am determined that government, both at central and local level, will lead the way in our response to the climate challenge."
The Climate Action Plan, published earlier this year, is the government's plan to ensure we meet our 2030 climate commitments, putting us on a trajectory to be net-zero emissions by 2050. The Charter being signed today is a key action in the Plan and will ensure every local authority embeds decarbonisation, sustainable development and climate resilience into every aspect of the work they do.
Minister Bruton said,
"Local Authorities are uniquely placed to drive forward effective climate action at both the regional and local level. Given their pivotal role across the key sectors of planning, housing, transport and waste and their close relationship with the community, they have a crucial role in implementing the step change that is needed and influencing many more to address this challenge."
Minister of State Canney said:
"The key to achieving our Climate Action targets is to bring everyone with us. Local authorities are a focal point for our communities, villages, towns and cities and their support for this charter reflects the whole of society approach we need to take to transform our economy from brown to green."
The Charter commits Local Authorities to several actions that will ensure that they play a key leadership role locally and nationally in delivering effective climate action. Among other commitments, all local authorities will:
- Put in place a process for carbon proofing major decisions, programmes and projects on a systematic basis, including investments in transport and energy infrastructure
- Deliver a 50% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030
- Ensure all suppliers provide information on their carbon footprint and steps they plan to reduce its impact
- Build local citizen engagement, particularly with young people
- Partner & collaborate on climate action initiatives with local community groups, local enterprise and local schools and higher level institutions
- Monitor, evaluate and report annually on the implementation of activities under the Charter
Minister Bruton said:
"Last year's emissions figures show that we do not have time to waste. We must drive forward the actions in the Climate Action Plan. Only through consistent, sustained action, can we deliver the step change that is needed."
Minister of State Canney said,
"The local authorities through their various roles, including spacial planning, forward planning and engagement with communities through the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) and the Public Participation Networks (PPNs) are ideally placed to help deliver effective Climate Action in our communities."
Welcoming the adoption of the Charter, Michael Walsh, Chair of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council, said:
"Local authorities have huge ambitions for what we can achieve in the area of climate action. We are already making significant progress; councils around the country are cutting the carbon footprint of our internal operations, making our housing stock more energy efficient, prioritising climate considerations in development planning and actively engaging our communities on climate issues. With support from central government we can do even more and provide the on-the-ground leadership needed to make Ireland a global leader in climate action. The Local Authority Climate Action Charter is the blueprint for future progress in creating an Ireland that is sustainable for future generations, and councils around the country are ready to take the lead in this vital work."
Note to the Editor
CLIMATE ACTION CHARTER
For Local Authorities and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment on behalf of Government.
(1) The signatories share the common understanding that:
(a) the evidence of global warming is unequivocal and the effects of climate change are clearly evident;
(b) it is important to take action and to work together to share best practices, to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and address the impacts of climate change
(c) reducing GHG emissions and preparing for climate change impacts will generate environmental, social, economic and health benefits for individuals, families, and communities
(d) It is important to take action to adapt to the now inevitable consequences of climate change and to work collectively to ensure that the local authority sector is positioned to build resilience against negative impacts and avail of the positive effects that may occur.
(2) The signatories acknowledge that a whole of government approach is essential in addressing climate change and recognise that:
(a) Central Government has a lead role to play in developing policy and ensuring resources are made available to realise Ireland's commitment to achieving a net zero carbon energy system objective for Irish society and in the process, create a climate resilient, vibrant and sustainable country
(b) Local Authorities are ideally placed to provide robust leadership in advancing this objective at the local and regional level. Support and resources will continue to be provided through the National Development Plan allocations, in addition to their own resources, which will aid them in developing and implementing relevant activities under this charter
(c) Central and Local Government need to work in partnership and collaboration to ensure an effective response to the challenges presented by climate change
(3) This Charter acknowledges that local authorities will, with the support of Central Government:
(a) be advocates for Climate Action in our own policies and practices, and in our many various dealings with citizens and to underpin this role through the corporate planning process.
(b) adhere to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 13 Climate Action;
(c) aim to measure the carbon impact of our various activities as accurately as possible and report as required so as to inform relevant local, regional and national policies,
(d) implement, in so far as is practicable, measures which reduce our carbon emissions in line with national objectives, and develop a method for planning and reporting on these actions
(e) deliver a 50% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030(on the 2009 baseline)
(f) ensure that policies and practices at local government level lead us towards low carbon pathways and put in place a process for carbon proofing major decisions, programmes and projects on a systematic basis, including investments in transport and energy infrastructure moving over time to a near zero carbon investment strategy
(g) Ask suppliers as part of the procurement process to provide information on their carbon footprint and on the sustainability practices and steps they plan to reduce its impact
(h) implement green public procurement strategy and procedures across all business areas
(i) support our employees to undertake changes in their lifestyles both at work and at home, to reduce carbon impact and encourage work-based employee-led groups to identify and implement ideas for improvement
(j) put in place, and resource, a long term training strategy (technical and behavioural) for LA staff to provide appropriate capacity for the sector to deliver on climate action
(k) encourage clients/customers/service users to undertake lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon impact, with a particular emphasis on supporting those clients/customers/service users who may face difficulties in funding such measures
(l) cultivate and actively participate in partnerships with enterprise, community and voluntary groups so as to, improve the use of resources and reduced climate impact
(m) play a key role in helping to build and implement a sustained localised citizen engagement model in supporting the various initiatives under the National Dialogue on Climate Action
(n) exercise our planning and regulatory roles to help improve climate outcomes in the wider community and beyond the public sector, by developing and implementing robust evidenced based policy and standards on climate action, through appropriate and relevant adaptation and mitigation measures
(o) continue to identify and develop specific actions to be taken to reduce the risks associated with negative climate change impacts and build resilience to these impacts through effective implementation of climate adaptation strategies/ Climate Change Action Plans
(p) support elected officials in ensuring all council led activities are climate proofed in terms of achieving effective low carbon and climate resilient outcomes
(q) Explore opportunities to partner or collaborate on climate action initiatives across the public, private and education sectors.
(r) Support Enterprise through LEO/LCDC offices to exploit opportunities which will arise from meeting the challenges of Climate Change
(s) work with relevant stakeholders to source funding for implementing climate action projects;
(t) liaise with 3rd level institutions & the research community both nationally and internationally with a view to developing centres of excellence where appropriate
(u) develop links with young citizens to give voice to their understanding and concerns on climate change and to enhance their awareness and the actions that they can take.
(v) continue to develop and strengthen links with both central government (relevant departments and agencies) and regional bodies to help ensure a coordinated and coherent approach to the delivery of the national climate action agenda
(w) Monitor, evaluate and report annually on the implementation of activities under this charter
Signed on Behalf