DCU launches ambitious Climate Action Plan
Pictured: Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science; Professor Daire Keogh, DCU President; Ross Boyd, DCUSU; and DCU students Ciara Hegarty and Vasundhra Sharma

DCU launches ambitious Climate Action Plan

Curriculum restructure, sustainability focused research and establishing science-based carbon reduction targets for University campus operations to reduce its environmental impact are among some of the near term actions set out in Dublin City University’s new Climate Action Plan 2021-2026.

Launched today by Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science, and marking Dublin Climate Action Week 2021, the plan sets out the intention of the university to make radical changes to current practices in order to reach ambitious ‘Zero Carbon’ targets.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Simon Harris said “I am delighted to help launch this ambitious net zero carbon plan by DCU. Plans like this will become increasingly important as we deliver the Government’s ambitious Climate Action Plan and significantly reduce our carbon emissions.

“My Department’s support for projects like this one gives me confidence that our third level sector can be a real leader in this field.

“While DCU will have some big decisions to make in order to achieve their targets, I am confident they can prove it is possible, and their aspirations should hopefully inspire other institutions across the country to follow their lead.”

Professor Daire Keogh, DCU President said: “Climate Change represents the greatest global challenge of our age, with major implications for almost every aspect of life and society. DCU’s ambitious Climate Action Plan builds on the leadership that the University has already demonstrated in this area, by sharing our learned experiences and by using the power and reach of education to help engage and educate current and future generations about the climate crisis challenge.

Radical changes to current practices will be required if ‘Net Zero’ or ‘Zero Carbon’ targets are to be reached. While such changes will be challenging, DCU has demonstrated its ability to implement change, not least during the recent COVID-19 public health emergency. 

However, DCU cannot deliver this alone. In order to meet these challenges, systemic changes within the University but also at policy level with the Government, its Departments and across Irish society, will be required.”

In the plan, DCU commits to embed sustainability at the core of the university, in its teaching and learning, through its research, development and innovation, its operations and promoting it through its national and international engagements.

In its teaching and learning, DCU promises to ensure its graduates understand the challenges of environmental sustainability and have the competencies that equip them to be global citizens and to take the actions necessary for a sustainable future.

An example of this is DCU Futures - a restructuring of the undergraduate curriculum to future-proof and enhance capacity while transforming the student learning experience. As part of this restructure there will be a strong emphasis on sustainable development, such as the new engineering programme in Sustainable Systems and Energy.

The plan also outlines how DCU will identify sustainability as a key area of research and work to provide the necessary supports to increase the number of researchers working in this area. Other actions will involve investigating the scale and focus of sustainability related research activity ongoing across the DCU research community and continuing to identify potential funding instruments that address sustainability challenges.

DCU also commits to demonstrating leadership in the operational suitability of its campuses and to understand the impacts of all our activities, establishing science-based carbon reduction targets to reduce and mitigate these impacts. 

The University will identify and implement all measures to reduce its carbon footprint;  measure its environmental impact and publish an annual carbon footprint; and support its staff and students to identify their own personal carbon footprints.

To view or download a copy of DCU Climate Action Plan click here