climate action funding ireland

Total funding of €12 million for Climate Action Regional Offices to help strengthen local response to climate challenges

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has entered a new agreement to provide €2.97 million to support the Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) for the Dublin area over the next six years.

The Dublin Metropolitan Region CARO coordinates the delivery of climate action across the county. €12 million in total is being allocated to Ireland’s four CAROs for the period 2023-2029.

Cork County Council, Dublin City Council, Kildare County Council (in partnership with Kilkenny County Council), and Mayo County Council are the lead local authorities for Ireland’s four CAROs. Dublin City Council is managing the Dublin Metropolitan Region CARO.

The CAROs were established in 2018 to support local government to respond and adapt to climate change. They coordinate national and local climate policy and work to ensure there is a more joined-up approach to responding to the climate crisis at a regional level.

The CAROs are a support organisation for local authorities and operate as a shared service across the local government sector. Each office, led by a CARO Coordinator, works closely with the local authorities in their region to guide and inform them as they lead transformative change and measurable climate action across our cities and counties in areas such as transport, biodiversity, and preventing coastal erosion.

They help local authorities to deliver climate policies and behavioural change within their own organisations and to empower citizens, businesses and neighbourhoods to better understand the impacts of climate change and to embrace the need for climate action.

Minister Ryan welcomed the continued engagement with the CAROs and the local authorities:

“Over the previous five years, the CAROs have been instrumental in helping local authorities to respond to climate challenges, particularly on adaptation, and have become a really valued resource for the local authorities within their region. The department will work closely with the CAROs over the coming years to ensure the work continues to support the delivery of climate actions at a local level.

“The climate is changing more quickly and unpredictably than we can keep up with. We can see the impacts all around us — flooding, heatwaves, droughts. Climate change is a serious threat to Ireland and its people. We need to talk about these problems and work together to prepare for the changes that are coming. By taking local climate action and working with local government, we’re creating a better Ireland. An Ireland with new opportunities. A resilient Ireland, where we work together to apply our knowledge, creativity and innovation to identify climate solutions. We’re no strangers to change — we can adapt and thrive. Communities, local government and policymakers can work together to realise the opportunities that climate action can bring.”

Welcoming the new agreement, the Chair of the CCMA Climate Action, Transport, Circular Economy and Networks Committee, John McLaughlin said:

“The Climate Action Regional Offices have been instrumental in supporting the local government sector in our ambition to lead and deliver climate action across Ireland. Since they were established, the CAROs have provided significant strategic assistance to all 31 local authorities, which has enabled them to drive climate action in their own operations, counties and cities, and communities. With the new agreement now in place, we look forward to further progress on this crucial work.”

Under the new agreement, the four CAROs will continue to support local authorities and will have a particular focus on supporting local authorities with their Local Authority Climate Action Plans.

For further information, please go to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications website.

Climate Action Regional Offices

In 2018, four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) were formed as a local authority shared service in recognition of the need to build capacity within the local government sector to respond and adapt to climate change. The CAROs play an important role in ensuring that cross-sectoral climate issues are identified and addressed. A regional structure of the CAROs was designed to ensure that the local authorities share similar characteristics and climate risks.

Climate action regionLead local authorityLocal authority functional areas
Atlantic Seaboard NorthMayo County CouncilDonegal, Galway City, Galway County, Mayo, Sligo (5 local authorities)
Atlantic Seaboard SouthCork County CouncilClare, Cork County, Cork City, Kerry, Limerick (5 local authorities)
Dublin Metropolitan RegionDublin City CouncilDublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin (4 local authorities)
Eastern and Midlands RegionKildare County Council (partnering with Kilkenny County Council)Carlow, Cavan, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow (17 local authorities)

Under the agreement, each lead local authority will provide dedicated and appropriate facilities, information technology support, human resources support, financial management support, and any other support necessary for the four regional offices.

In order to ensure the appropriate configuration of CAROs to deliver an effective service, a review of the CAROs will take place in late 2024. It is envisaged the review will include areas such as strategic objectives, governance, functional areas and priority areas emerging from Local Authority Climate Action Plans.

A separate agreement is in place between the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and Kildare County Council to deliver the Local Authority Climate Action Training Programme.

Local Authorities Climate Action Plan

As set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021, each local authority is required to prepare a Local Authority Climate Action Plan specifying the mitigation and the adaptation measures to be adopted.

Local authorities have 12 months to complete their individual plans from the date of the receipt of a request from the Minister. The plans will see each local authority actively translating national climate policy to local circumstances, with the prioritisation and acceleration of evidence-based measures. This will assist in the delivery of our climate goals at local and community levels.

As part of its local climate plan, each local authority is responsible for establishing a decarbonising zone within their local authority area. Decarbonising zones (DZs) are intended to be the focus for a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures and will help local authorities to identify projects which will contribute to the delivery of the national climate objective.

County and City Management Association (CCMA)

The CAROs and the new agreement were developed in partnership with the County and City Management Association (CCMA) which is the ‘representative voice’ of local government management and assists local authorities in managing shared services.

Since 2018, the CAROs have led on a variety of projects to support local authority climate action, for example.

Línte na Farraige (Lines of the Sea) art installation

The Dublin Metropolitan CARO collaborated with Creative Ireland, local authorities, artists, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin and others on the Línte na Farraige (Lines of the Sea) project. It consists of solar powered illuminations of LED horizontal lines to represent future sea-level and storm surges. The installations reveal the risks of rising seas and storm surges and demonstrate the need to lower the line and adapt to protect our coastlines.

The project was launched in Galway in September 2022. Lights were placed at the Spanish Arch, Ard Bia at Nimmos and along the Claddagh Basin. The project was installed at Wexford Harbour in October 2022 and at the Martello Tower in Blackrock, Dublin in February 2023. A series of engagement tools were developed, including an interactive website, outdoor exhibition, museum exhibition spaces, information boards and a schools outreach programme. It is one of 15 projects funded by Creative Ireland Climate Action.

Sand Dune Awareness Campaign

The Atlantic Seaboard North CARO has led a sand dune awareness campaign for the last three years. The CARO, working in partnership with Leave No Trace Ireland, University of Galway, and Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board, is developing a toolkit, educational workshop and pilot sites to build the knowledge and skills of coastal communities to take positive action on how best to enhance beaches and dunes as coastal protection. The partnership agreement is in place and work is progressing. An advisory group has been established comprising local community members, statutory bodies, and various partner staff.

A Weather Impact Register (WIRE) App

In 2021, the local authority adaptation strategies identified the need to gather and organise data on the impacts of weather events locally to inform climate adaptation planning. The Weather Impact Register (WIRE) App was developed by the CAROs and was supported by the Public Sector Innovation Fund. The system provides a GIS-based tool to help local authorities record and review the impacts of weather events and climate trends in their areas. The app is aimed at local authority staff responding to these events as part of emergency response teams. The system was primarily implemented in the Atlantic Seaboard North region and is available for use within all local authorities.

Climate Adaptation Strategy for Regional and Local Roads

In 2019, the CAROs initiated a project to provide guidance to the local authorities to improve the climate resilience of the 96,000 kms of regional and local roads in conjunction with and funded by the Department of Transport. More extreme weather conditions like high or low temperatures or flash flooding can have a damaging impact on our roads and all the water and telecoms infrastructure they contain. The strategy, published in April 2023, set out how vital roads across Ireland can be protected and reinforced to withstand the impact of climate change. The strategy identifies and maps the areas most susceptible to climate-related impacts.

Dublin Climate Action Week

The Dublin Metropolitan CARO worked with the four Dublin local authorities and Dublin’s energy agency, Codema, to organise the annual Dublin Climate Action Week in 2021 and 2022. The vision of Dublin Climate Action Week is to highlight to citizens Dublin’s climate action progress and demonstrate the leadership role of the four local authorities in conjunction with other partners. Dublin Climate Action Week seeks to make climate action a reality by allowing citizens to see what climate action looks like. It also demonstrates progress on the implementation of the four Dublin local authority Climate Change Action Plans.

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