CAP A9 Methodology

Appendix 9: Methodology

Background and Context

Dublin City Council’s first Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2024 was approved on May 13, 2019 in accordance with the National Adaptation Framework – Planning for a Climate Resilient Ireland 2018 (NAF).  The Plan was also completed in accordance with the requirements (at the time) of the Covenant of Mayors (COM) for Climate & Energy to which Dublin City Council (DCC) is a signatory.

Applying the ICLEI Five Milestone Methodology to develop the plan, workshops with staff and one to one meetings were held to formulate the vision, mission, targets, and actions that comprised the plan.

The Plan set out 4 key targets and 219 actions that the Council is undertaking in the interconnected areas of energy & buildings, transport, flood resilience, nature based solutions and resource management.   

While the plan is a living document it does not fully capture the changes in the City Council’s organisational structure (European Office, Active Travel Unit) and new initiatives that contribute to a climate neutral Dublin (SoCircular, A Connected Circular Economy, Academy of the Near Future, Eat the Streets and Edible Dublin, Connecting Communities).

In January 2022, Dublin City Council submitted an expression of interest to become one of the cities the EU Mission for 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities.  In April 2022 it was announced that Dublin City and Cork City were both successful.  Notably Dublin City is one of 16 capital cities in the Mission.

The drive to be part of the Mission was the methodology to support cities in developing plans that would enable systems change, which is needed to aim for neutrality.

The approach of the Mission is to meet cities where they are at, then through a ‘transition roadmap’: build a strong mandate, understand the system in which they operate, co-design actions, take action, learn and reflect, and normalise, all in an iterative process that is not linear.

Climate Neutral Dublin 2030 has been designed applying this approach.  We first began by reflecting on our first plan.


Issues with Current Plan

Mitigation of Emissions

At present we monitor the emissions stemming from our operations and service delivery on a yearly basis and this is reported in our CCAP Annual Reports; based on analysis undertaken by Codema and reported to SEAI’s public sector monitoring and reporting system. Our emissions were decreasing and this was attributable to the increasing volume of renewables on the national grid. Citywide emissions are included in the National Inventory and reductions are not in line with targets. Further, the latest EPA projections show that Ireland as a whole is off target. 

Further DCC has signed the voluntary EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. This commits us to supporting the implementation of the EU 55% greenhouse-gas reduction target by 2030 and the adoption of a joint approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change. However, our actions on mitigation need to cover citywide emissions to align with the CoM.  This needs to be addressed in our new plan. 


Adapting to Climate Change

Making Dublin resilient to climate change is a target of CCAP, this calls for adapting the city and residents for a future where we live with the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, extreme temperatures, and extreme weather events, that are locked in and are prepared for the unknown impacts. 

Uncertainty adds to the challenge of implementing actions that contribute to the city’s resilience. Despite this DCC has made progress in the implementation of actions that contribute to our overall resilience, particularly in the use of nature-based solutions to respond to flood risk in the city. However, we have not adequately responded to other known climate risks, such as heat. 

Further, the long-term challenge is ensuring that the adaptation actions we implement are just.  The implementation of city development plan is vital to making the city and residents resilient to climate change. The decisions we make about land-use and land-use change will determine our adaptive capacity. The location of housing, employment determines our vulnerability and exposure to climate risk.

We need to map our hazards, risks and vulnerability and use this to inform our decisions and investments.

Theory to Practice: Collaborative Systems Change

The process for developing the CCAP was collaborative, though it focused on fostering internal collaboration.  That was intentional, as was focusing on what Irish Local authorities are responsible for. The plans were criticized for not being ambitious but- you can’t have systems change without an understanding of the current system.

We will need to take internal collaboration further and develop a deeper understanding of the barriers to our leadership in climate action, and identify the changes needed to enable ownership across the organisation. 

We will need to realise our vision and mission by actively engaging the residents of the city to achieve systems changes that improves quality of life for all. 

The Approach

Following our review and reflection on the existing plan (it development and implementation) as well as initial discussions with key internal stakeholders it was identified that the current plan needed to be consolidated and needed to embed more deeply a collaborative approach to achieve the systems innovation demanded by the Mission. The foundations were developed based on this recognition, and are hoped to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, as the five themes allowed for silo’d working to persist. 

To verify this, a staff survey was developed.  The survey sought to understand perceptions of individual’s and the Council’s role in addressing climate change in the context of the Mission. 

Staff were requested to complete a survey asking the following questions: 

  1. Based on your current understanding, what is the main objective of the EU Mission for 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities? 
  1. How do you see your role contributing to the EU Mission? 
  1. In your role, do you find that you have the resources (staff, support and finance) to implement climate action?  Scale of 1 to 5  
  1. How do you see your role contributing to Dublin City’s obligations under the Amended Low Carbon Development and Climate Act 2021? 
  1. Dublin being part of the EU Climate Neutral and Smart Cities is to you (choose max 3 options) 

              a. an opportunity to accelerate the green transition 

              b. an opportunity to embed climate action in our operations and service delivery 

              c. an opportunity to collaborate across the organisation 

              d. another project to undertake that adds to your work load 

              e. a challenge because we have limited powers 

              f. a challenge because we lack leadership 

              g. a question mark: you are undecided and need to learn more 

  1. What do you see as the opportunities for Dublin City in the Mission?  
  1. What are the barriers facing Dublin City in the Mission? 
  1. Do you have ideas on how would these barriers could be addressed? 


Actions as with the first plan needed to be developed through workshops and one to one discussions with teams and individuals with current responsibility.  The workshops were also an opportunity promote collaboration, insure the interdisciplinary nature of the actions and that actions have multiple co-benefits. A series of workshops with staff were planned to discuss and deliberate. 

1.CPD talk on the Climate Action Plan (in person/on line)

2.Vision of Dublin 2030 (in person)

3.Foundations and Connecting Actions Review (in person)

4.Review of what is happening (online)

5.Stakeholder mapping (online)

6. Review on indicators (online)

7. Story Slam – Communication (in person)

8. Review of all actions (online)

Reaching neutrality by 2030 through the Mission will be a challenge but not impossible. The process will be iterative as the Climate Action Plan is a living document that  will responds to science and changes in policy and legislation. We recognise, that its implementation will require ongoing engagement with staff through workshops, and external stakeholders to address capacity gaps.

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