KILDARE Co Council has pledged to bring its 222,000 citizens under the umbrella of the EU’s Covenant of Mayors by September as part of its pledge to tackle climate change.
This followed an unprecedented, unanimous, two-party motion from the Greens and Social Democrats at the July plenary meeting of the Ccuncil to push the Executive on its promise “to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency”.
The Covenant of Mayors is a Europe-wide, ground-up movement for local governments to pledge their citizenry into climate action, and so far has 9,664 municipal signatories across the 27 member states, accounting for almost 327m of the 513m of us – including 2.5m Irish people.
On behalf of the Lilywhite population, the county council has pledged to go beyond the Irish 30 percent target for the reduction of greenhouse gases within 11 years, and instead implement the EU’s 40 per cent target.
“The council is committed to becoming a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors…and it is proposed that it will be formally signed at the September plenary meeting,” confirmed Joe Boland, Director of Services at the Environment Department.
“The symbolism is important, but tokenism is dangerous,” warned Cllr Peter Hamilton, one of the eight who brought the joint motion.
“We want mitigation, rather than adaptation, to become council policy,” he added.
These are two words we will be hearing a lot of in the near to medium future, with regards to climate change.
The policy of ‘adaptation’ is how we live with climate change, whereas ‘mitigation’ is how we go about changing it.
Mr Boland also promised that within two years of signing the Covenant, the council will present a SECA plan (sustainable energy and climate action) to provide a ‘mitigation’ plan for the county.
Cllr Ciara Galvin – also one of the eight – said it was “appropriate we are debating this on Earth Overshoot Day [29 July ]”, which was deemed the day of 2019 on which the globe used up all its allocated resources for the year.
“We’re now using resources 1.75 times faster than we can replace them,” she pointed out.
‘We already know who will pay if we don’tdeal with the carbon economy. A just transition needs to be fair and requires consultation,” she added.
“There is an appetite for tangible achievements, and the youth are way ahead of us on this one,” said Cllr Angela Feeney, of the proposers of the motion.