Climate change governance: enhancing local authorities’ adaptive capacity


McGloughlin, Jackie S. (2015) Climate change governance: enhancing local authorities’ adaptive capacity. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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Abstract

Climate change is a wicked problem that threatens our way of life through environmental changes and governance challenges. Reducing vulnerability requires actions by all formal government structures and society. While much is known about local governance challenges internationally, information has been lacking about the Irish context. Little work has been done concerning how climate change will affect Irish local authorities, how advanced their preparations are, and factors affecting their progress. This is the first comprehensive study in Ireland on climate change governance framed at the city and county level. This research evaluates climate change implications for Irish local authorities and explores ways to enhance their adaptive capacity. This is done through a multi-faceted approach. Climate change exposures were evaluated and ranked through an analysis of local policy documents such as the City and County Development Plans and Climate Change Strategies. An assessment of sectors under local authorities' remit, such as flooding, landslides, water supply, biodiversity and coastal management, was completed for each jurisdiction. The potential for enhancing adaptive capacity was explored through two nationwide surveys involving all 34 planning authorities. Case studies with four local authorities were completed to provide greater insight into the approach of local authorities to prepare for climate change. Seven higher level interviews were conducted with senior officials in two regional authorities and national officials of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to explore the links between central government policies and local government implementation. The research findings highlight the importance of considering governance factors. While challenges for exposures and capacities were greater for some local authorities than others, local authorities were more challenged by governance aspects than climate change per se. It is concluded that an integrated approach is needed that links together local expertise and innovation with strategic guidance from central government. The findings identified a pathway for local and national governments to effectively co-operate in addressing climate change adaptation. Without this, preparations for climate change and understanding of climate change governance will leave society unprepared for the upcoming challenges related to climate change and general environmental issues.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Climate change governance; local authorities; adaptive capacity;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
Item ID: 6036
Depositing User: IR eTheses
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2015 09:38
URI:

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