Dublin City Council will declare a climate emergency, says Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe
He made the commitment on Saturday afternoon during a visit to the Extinction Rebellion site at Merrion Square. The environmental civil disobedience group asked the Lord Mayor to ensure that the city’s inhabitants understand the scale of the climate crisis.
They also asked that the council take measures to reduce the capital’s emissions to net-zero by 2030 and to ensure that all changes are done within a Just Transition framework.
In addition to declaring a climate emergency for the capital, the Lord Mayor expressed his wish to also see the actions outlined in the Council’s Climate Action Plan implemented as soon as possible. The plan has over 200 actions all geared towards making the city “climate-resilient” and reduce emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, as well as improving the Council’s energy efficiency by 33 per cent by the end of this century.
Social movements, like Extinction Rebellion, are about the public asking politicians to be “climate brave” and to make difficult decisions to deal with the climate crisis, Mr McAuliffe said.
A member of Extinction Rebellion challenged the Lord Mayor on the climate record of his party Fianna Fail. Mr McAuliffe said that when he’s wearing the symbolic Lord Mayor’s chain, he is representing the city, not his party. To date, 16 Local Authorities have declared officially declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, starting with Wicklow County Council in May.
The Dail followed suit a week later by declaring a national climate and biodiversity emergency, making Ireland one of the first countries to do so. However, many environmental activists have been critical of the lack of concrete action in the wake of a nation-wide declaration.
Last week, five Extinction Rebellion activists were arrested in Dublin after locking themselves to the gates of the Dail. Activists also held marches and actions outlining opposition to coal imports, the forestry plantation model, potential fracked gas imports, and poor cycling infrastructure.
The international movement began last summer in the UK and rose to prominence in November 2018 when thousands of activists blocked London bridges, disrupted traffic, and glued themselves to public buildings.