The main area which Dublin Friends of the Earth are concerned with in the context of development in SDCC is the reduction of carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and the recent Climate Act. Ireland had the third highest greenhouse gas emissions in the EU in 2019 and if we are to fall in line with carbon reduction targets much change is needed. Global temperatures must be kept below 1.5C pre-industrialised levels to avoid catastrophic consequences for the planet, flora, fauna and humans. Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 must be zero. Fossil fuels are the single biggest cause of climate change and SDCC must play a hugely important role in helping communities to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Dublin Friends of the Earth strongly recommends that the County Development Plan (CDP) ensures rapid phasing out of all fossil fuels. This includes gas and fracked gas (as part of its energy mix). We also strongly advocate that new data centres are powered onsite with renewable technology (e.g. rooftop solar farms or new offsite generation such as offshore wind or solar farms). Current data centres need to move to renewables and heat recovery systems should be enabled where technically possible.
We also call for improved communications policy from the Dublin CARO office, Codema and the Env/Climate Change section of SDCC with the public. For example, regular meetings, set up sub groups in SDCC suburbs/parishes/villages, weekly/monthly newsletter, better engagement with schools, colleges, workplaces, industry etc. Moving to a zero carbon society affects everyone, especially the vulnerable in SDCC. Every area / village / suburb needs a sustainable energy community. Every business, school, college, healthcare setting needs a climate action plan. Additionally, more support /promotion of the above in association with the SEAI is needed. The SDCC Climate Change Action Plan (2019 to 2024) is an excellent document, and we need to maintain ambition and exceeding targets to achieve zero emissions by 2050.