By Kieran O’Mahony
COUNCILLORS this week back gave their backing to a five-year Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy that will see the local authority focus on climate change in the delivery of its services.
The Climate Adaptation Strategy 2019-2024 is the local authority’s first step in the climate adaptation process and covers the business areas operated by the local authority.
It is tasked with mainstreaming climate change adaptation over time into all functions, operations and services of the local authority.
County mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan said that climate change is the ‘defining issue’ of our time and that a policy like this is urgently needed.
‘Scientists predict that catastrophic climate change will involve widespread destruction of property and infrastructure, major political unrest, mass migrations of climate refugees and the eventual breakdown of our food production systems,’ he said.
‘This was particularly highlighted over the last week when millions of people, including young people, marched on the streets. I marched in Cork city with thousands of people and what’s clear is that they are looking for leadership and hopefully this strategy will go somewhere towards that,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) proposed the strategy, which was seconded by Cllr Marcia D’Alton.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said his party fully endorsed the plans and asked what are the next steps in relation to the operation of them.
‘It’s great we’re adopting it, but there is also a strong desire from members to get more details about operational plans and how we can get initiatives running to reduce our carbon footprint as an organisation,’ said Cllr McGrath.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey said that he hopes to have something finalised before they adopt the next budget for 2020.
‘It does indicate what we have been doing already and we have made significant changes in a lot of our operations down the years, including public lighting.
‘There is a lot happening which may not be recognised but we have more to do,’ said Mr Lucey.
As part of the process of creating the strategy, a period of public consultation was undertaken over six weeks during July and August, with 59 submissions received during this period, from both individuals and bodies.
To read the strategy, go to www.corkcoco.ie and search under ‘climate strategy’.