Waterford City and County Council to join Covenant of Mayors

Waterford City and County Council to join Covenant of Mayors

Waterford City and County Council has undertaken to join an international Climate Action movement of local authorities, the Covenant of Mayors, following the unanimous passing of a motion at Plenary Council this Thursday.

The Covenant of Mayors is an initiative launched in 2008 in Europe with the ambition of gathering local governments voluntarily committed to achieving and exceeding the EU climate and energy targets. It now includes 9664 local and regional authority signatories across 57 countries.

The motion, proposed by Green Party councillor Marc Ó Cathasaigh, called on the council to renew a commitment given by the then Waterford Council Council in 2011, pre-amalgamation. According to Cllr. Ó Cathasaigh:

“Somewhere along the line in the amalgamation of city and county councils, our commitment to the Covenant of Mayors was lost. My motion this evening is asking this chamber to reaffirm the commitment given in 2011 and to move forward with the vital work of adaptation and mitigation necessitated by the scale of the climate challenge we face.”

In real terms, adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors will require Waterford City and County Council to undertake the following:

  • Reduce its carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 through energy efficiencies and increased use of renewable energies,
  • Increase resilience by adapting to the effects of climate change,
  • Carry out a baseline emissions inventory and a Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Assessment,
  • Submit a sustainable energy and climate action plan within two years,
  • And thereafter to report on progress every two years.

Cllr. Ó Cathasaigh told the meeting that passing the motion would “give a clear signal that the councillors inside this chamber have heard the demands of the young climate strikers who stood outside this chamber not two weeks ago.”

The motion was passed with unanimous support in the chamber.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr. Ó Cathasaigh was delighted with the support received:

‘This motion may have passed with little fanfare, but it has teeth. It commits Waterford Council to specific climate actions that will have far-reaching consequences, and lays out a framework for achieving targets. I’ll be calling on Mayor John Pratt to sign the adhesion document at the earliest opportunity.’