Navigating between tech firms and farmers

Cork's leap towards the future


In the very South of Ireland, there is this small but buzzing port city of Cork. The City Council and the County Council are leading an energy transition that embraces almost all sectors and players. A big boost came when the Greens won national elections. In order to curb CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030, city leaders have defined an ambitious programm through which urban and rural spaces are meant to become resilient and striving places. The service-based city center, the industrial harbour and the agricultural hinterland face some common challenges. Climate change seems to increase flood threats in the area, for instance. Solutions, though, need to be adapted. Agriculture is the biggest source of Ireland’s emissions and it is also an important share of Cork’s economy. Let’s face it: Decarbonising this sector is very challenging.

Julia le Maître, Marie Curie researcher at University College Cork, has looked into Cork City Council’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and the Sustainable Energy Climate Action Plan (SECAP). The sense of shared ownership is strong in Cork. Steered by a Climate Action Committee and involving citizens through Sustainable Energy Community and Tidy Towns representatives, change is under way in Cork, including:

  • A strong plan for climate action and the shift from fossil to renewable energy
  • Transitioning city spaces (including new greenways for cyclists and weatherproof infrastructure)
  • Public engagement and knowledge sharing
  • Energy efficiency and community participation

Read more about how Cork redesigns its mobility, buildings, space and economics (Raworth’s Doughnut model) with its overarching climate and energy targets. Check out the full article.

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Publication date

September 22, 2021