THE Waterford City and County Council has undertaken to join an international climate action movement of local authorities, in a bid to play its part in making for a better environ and future.
The move follows weeks of young climate change activists taking to the streets of Ireland in protest at the lack of initiative at local and national level.
The climate action movement, The Covenant of Mayors, is an initiative launched in 2008 in Europe with the ambition of gathering local governments voluntarily committed to achieving and exceeding the EU climate and energy targets. The movement now includes a total of 9,664 local and regional authority signatories across 57 countries.
move forward with the vital work necessitated by the scale of the climate challenge we face
The motion was proposed by Green Party Councillor Marc Ó Cathasaigh, who said: “Somewhere along the line in the amalgamation of city and county councils, our commitment to the Covenant of Mayors was lost. My motion was asking the chamber to reaffirm the commitment given in 2011 and to move forward with the vital work of adaptation and mitigation necessitated by the scale of the climate challenge we face.”
The motion was passed with unanimously.
In real terms, adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors will require Waterford City and County Council to undertake the following:
- Reduce its carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 through energy efficiencies and increased use of renewable energies,
- Increase resilience by adapting to the effects of climate change,
- Carry out a baseline emissions inventory and a Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability assessment,
- Submit a sustainable energy and climate action plan within two years, and thereafter to report on progress every two years.
We need to take climate change seriously
Cllr Ó Cathasaigh told the meeting that passing the motion would “give a clear signal that the councillors inside this chamber have heard the demands of the young climate strikers who stood outside this chamber not two weeks ago.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Conor McGuinness, who seconded the motion, said: “Waterford has the opportunity to show national leadership on climate change and environmental protection.
“We need to take climate change seriously and joining the Covenant of Mayors will allow us to share a Europe-wide approach to climate action,” said Cllr McGuinness.