Our research agenda

The DCU Centre for Climate and Society is interested in partnering with other bodies, groups, and institutions working in the climate, biodiversity, and sustainability areas.

We bring core expertise on climate policy, communications, and media to our research.

The Centre’s members have already established relationships with a range of public and private bodies, and have been asked to consult on a wide range of policy and communications issues. The members’ work has been extensively cited in academic research and policy materials. Thus, the international climate governance, policy, research and climate communications community will form an important part of the Centre’s stakeholder base.

In Ireland, the Centre has established working relationships with a range of government departments and agencies, public bodies,  ENGOs, and corporate and business entities. These include:

  • the Department of the Taoiseach
  • Dublin City Council
  • the network of Climate Action Regional Offices
  • the Department of  Communications, Climate Action and Environment
  • the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
  • RTE
  • the Environmental Protection Agency
  • the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
  • the National Economic and Social Council
  • iCRAG (SFI Research Centre for Applied Geosciences)
  • Bord na Mona
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Friends of the Irish Environment
  • Climate Case Ireland
  • Stop Climate Chaos
  • Fridays for Future
  • Community Law and Mediation

Internationally, the Centre has already established networks with other research centres and institutes, both through the COST network framework, and through research collaborations.


Research Projects & Publications

Centre director Dr Dave Robbins and member Dr Dawn Wheatley of the DCU School of Communications recently collaborated on a research project examining how climate reporters think about issues such as objectivity, online abuse, polarisation of climate change, and complexity as climate change moves towards the top of the media agenda. A range of late-, mid-, and early-career journalists from the US, UK, and Ireland were interviewed.

Robbins, D., & Wheatley, D. (2021). Complexity, objectivity, and shifting roles: Environmental correspondents march to a changing beat. Journalism Practice.

Dr David Robbins, Dr Diarmuid Torney and Prof Pat Brereton published Ireland and the Climate Crisis, a book that examines Ireland’s response to the urgent societal challenge of climate change. It brings together a range of interdisciplinary perspectives to analyse Ireland’s climate record and outlines the key factors that constrain or encourage climate action in Ireland.

Robbins, D., Torney, D., & Brereton, P. (2020). Ireland and the Climate Crisis. Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr Goran Dominioni from the School of Law and Government is the Principal Investigator of two World Bank projects on "decarbonizing international shipping" and on "fiscal policy for climate change and Covid-19". In this capacity, on November 16th 2021, Dr Dominioni gave a speech at the World Bank webinar "Securing a Sustainable Recovery" organized by the World Bank Macroeconomics, Trade and Investments Global Practice where he discussed potential strategies to overcome public resistance to carbon pricing.

The recordings and slides of the event are available here.

Dominioni, G. (2022) Pricing Carbon Effectively: A Pathway for Higher Climate Ambition. Climate Policy. 

Dominioni, G. & C. Esty, D. (forthcoming 2023) Designing Effective Border-Carbon Adjustment Mechanisms: Aligning the Global Trade and Climate Change Regimes, Arizona Law Review,

Dominioni, G. & Faure, M. (forthcoming 2022) Environmental Policy in Good and Bad Times: The Counter-Cyclical Effects of Carbon Taxes and Cap-and-Trade, Journal of Environmental Law

In March 2022 the Centre, in conjunction with Community Law & Mediation, launched a new report and set of resources as part of the Voices of Environmental Justice project, funded by the Irish Research Council. Centre member Sadhbh O’Neill was the lead author and Dr Diarmuid Torney also contributed. The report concludes that Ireland’s poorest and most marginalised communities tend to be excluded and side-lined from debates and policy decisions on the environment and climate change. It also sets out key recommendations to improve the monitoring of environmental pollution and its correlation with measures of deprivation and vulnerability, as well as to strengthen the pursuit of environmental justice in Ireland.

Read the report here.

A new book by Centre Co-director Prof Pat Brereton aims to provide an accessible guide for students, teachers, and researchers to all the key concepts in the discourse around climate change. His book, Essential Concepts of Environmental Communication, was published in April 2022 by Routledge.

Read more here

Dr Marina Efthymiou, Program Director of the MSc in Aviation Leadership at the DCU Business School, recently collaborated with the Aircrew Training Policy Group (ATPG) of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on a project examining the incorporation of environmental awareness training as a mandatory requirement on the commercial pilots curriculum. 

Aircrew Training Policy Group (ATPG) and Efthymiou, M. (2020) Environmental Awareness Training for Pilots Advisory Paper.

Dr Efthymiou has also written about the EU Emissions Trading scheme in aviationairspace architecture optimisationclimate change policy interrelations and Sustainable Aviation Fuels. 

In a new research report, Centre Co-director Dr Diarmuid Torney undertakes a comparative assessment of Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021. He assesses the extent to which the new Climate Act delivers eight core components that have been identified in international comparative research as key features of national framework climate laws. 

Read the report here.

In an article in the Irish Journal of Sociology, Centre member Dr Sean Shanagher explores tendencies in media coverage towards two quite different ‘solutions’: either remaining securely within or departing significantly from the certainties of neoliberalism. The research focus is on critically weighing up the respective strengths of these two responses in the face of climate disruption.

Shanagher, S. 2020. Responding to the climate crisis: Green consumerism or the Green New Deal? Irish Journal of Sociology (Climate change debates section) 28(1) pp.97-105. 

Centre member Dr Darren Clarke, from the school of History and Geography, published two reports in partnership with the Irish local government sector, to inform the sector's current and future climate action policies. 

Clarke, D. (2021) Local Government Climate Action Key Performance Indicators Literature Review. Local Government Management Agency.

Clarke, D. and O’Donoghue-Hynes, B. (2020) A Profile of Local Government Climate Actions in Ireland. Dublin: Local Government Management Agency.

The climate crisis has inspired youth-led activism across the world and young people now lead global campaigns and political protest on climate justice. Dr Brenda Mcnally, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Centre, has published an article, Altered spaces: new ways of seeing and envisioning nature with Minecraft, that explores young people's visions of environmentally sustainable futures by engaging them in discussion about future planning using Minecraft.

Dr Mcnally also produced a report entitled Citizen’s Views of Climate Action in Ireland:  Insights on Media Use, Trusted Sources and Public Perceptions (2020) which was funded by the EPA. The project investigated citizens’ views of and media consumption about climate actions in Ireland. The report supports environmental policymaking by providing data to tailor communication about climate action and to broaden citizen engagement with climate change.

Dr Danny Marks, from the School of Law and Government, recently published two journal articles related to adaptation to climate change.

In “Disentangling the concepts of global climate change, adaptation, and human mobility: a political-ecological exploration in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (2022), the themes of human mobility, adaptation and climate change are explored from a political ecology perspective in the context of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Towards a cultural lens for adaptation pathways to climate change (2022)examines how cultural beliefs, norms, and practices change over time, and are reflected in adaptation pathways since livelihoods do not remain the same over the life course.

Additionally, Dr Marks has published "Photovoice in the age of social media: Helping to build participation needed for urban climate resilience?(2021)" on the methodology of photovoice and its value in the context of non-traditional participation for climate resilience.

Dr Declan Fahy, from the school of Communications, researched on Ireland’s slow movement to a low-carbon society.  This transition has followed a distinct process of sustainable development: ecological modernisation, which sees ecological protection as compatible with, and underpinning, economic growth.

Fahy, Declan. 2020. Ecological Modernisation, Irish-style: Explaining Ireland’s slow transition to low-carbon society. In: Robbins, D., Torney, D., Brereton, P. (eds.) Ireland and the Climate Crisis, pp.131 – 148. Baskingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Irish agriculture is currently dominated by a cattle economy that can be traced from its historical origins under British imperialism to subsequent expansion and intensification since Ireland’s accession to the European Union in 1973. In Pilgrim Hill: Alienated Farmers and Degraded Ecologies.Capitalism Nature Socialism. (2019), Dr Sean Shanagher and Prof Pat Brereton analyse three films that represent Irish farming over the last century—Man of Aran (1934), The Field (1990) and Pilgrim Hill (2014).