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Climate report predicts snow and ice will be thing of the past

GLOBAL warming is going to get rid of all Ireland's nasty snow and ice, if the latest climate change forecasts are to be believed.

Instead of the dreaded 'Brrrrr,' the winter refrain could soon be; 'Phew what a scorcher.'

We might be in the grip of record low November temperatures, but higher winter temperatures resulting from climate change will lead to "widespread melting of snow and icesheets," according to the European Environment Agency (EAA ) state of the environment report, published yesterday.

It depicts the Irish as the second worst bad boys of Europe, with only Luxembourgers emitting more greenhouse gases per person.

Not only that, the average Irish person per capita actually uses more resources and goods in their homes and daily lives than any other country in the world.

We consume twice the amount of even our counterparts in the consumer-driven US, and six times the amount of the average Japanese citizen.

In the UK, they use a quarter of the resources of the typical Irish person. This includes food, drink, imported electrical goods, and the amount of waste generated.

Another major factor in Ireland, is the over reliance on the private car, whereas public transport is highly developed in many other countries surveyed.

The EEA survey of 36 countries warns that the predicted rise in temperatures due to man made climate change could lead to catastrophic impacts here if unchecked.

These include warmer seas, widespread melting of snow and ice, as well as severe flooding in urban areas.

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"Mountain areas face substantial challenges including reduced snow cover.

"Low lying coastal areas face the challenge of sea-level rise and an increased risk of associated storm surges."

There is also the prospect of " heat waves" in sharp contrast to the prevailing conditions in Ireland.

"Unless action is taken, climatic changes are expected to lead to considerable adverse impacts," the report warns.

The date on which the EEA based its report for Ireland, says that Ireland's mean annual temperatures rose by 0.7 degrees between 1890 and 2004.

Six of the ten warmest years have occurred since 1990, " but as Ireland experiences considerable climate variability, the trend here is not linear."

The report predicts that despite the current cold spell our climate will "continue to warm with possible increases of three to four degrees towards the end of the century."

Dr Mary Kelly, director general of the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, said they supported the findings in the report as the issues involved are also common to Ireland.

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