Sunday 25 September 2016

Climate change fight 'must be at least cost to economy'

Published 24/03/2016 | 02:30

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Tackling climate change will have to be completed at the "least cost" to the national economy and without an "unreasonable burden" on the exchequer, the Department of the Environment says.

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A public consultation on how to develop long-term plans to address global warming calls for suggestions on how emissions can be reduced while protecting key business sectors including agriculture.

The department says that the Paris climate change agreement commits 196 countries to reduce emissions to keep average global temperature rises to well below 2C.

The responses include mitigation, or reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by burning fossil fuels, and adaptation, or putting in place measures to prevent coastal erosion and damage to infrastructure while protecting human health.

The severe winter storms experienced in 2013 and 2014 cost almost €160m in insurance claims, and the risks to agriculture could amount to as much as €2bn a year by 2050.

Extreme

The cost of not adapting to climate change is put at €100bn a year by 2020 across the EU. This includes economic losses caused by extreme weather events, and health impacts.

A 'National Adaptation Framework' to run for five years, sets out the measures needed across the public and private sectors and must be completed by December 2017.

The framework will help "reduce the vulnerability of the State", but also identifies economic opportunities.

Submissions are being sought on how the framework should be developed, including setting out adaptation plans at local level and identifying at-risk areas.

Funding sources for adaptation should also be considered, and a web-based platform 'Climate Ireland' created.

The framework should also set out how a network of experts can be established to help drive change, and sets out a range of indicators so that progress can be measured.

Submissions should be sent to national adaptation framework@environ.ie by May 20.

Irish Independent

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