Thursday 19 April 2018

Floods will cost €1.1bn 'unless we cut carbon emissions'

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Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Future flooding events will cost the State €1.15bn in damages unless carbon emissions are drastically cut to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The National Adaptation Framework, setting out how Ireland can protect essential infrastructure, property and people, will be published today.

It says there is a "large body of scientific evidence" that demonstrates that early action will "save lives and money" over the medium to long term.

But it warns there is "fragmentation" among Government departments, local authorities and other agencies in developing adaptation strategies, saying that "further integration and co-ordination" is needed.

Climate Minister Denis Naughten will today announce €10m in funding for regional local authority offices to coordinate approaches.

Mr Naughten says that while the National Mitigation Plan published in July 2017 set out a roadmap to decarbonise the economy, "the effects of climate change will continue to impact on both our economy and society", adding the need for "effective climate proofing" is "both urgent and essential".

The report says adaptation measures should include identifying vulnerable infrastructure, using water resources more efficiently, implementing planning rules to prevent building in at-risk areas, and building flood defences.

Meanwhile, scientists said last year was the hottest on record without the influence of an 'El Nino' weather pattern that helps push up temperatures.

Figures from different international analyses show 2017 was one of the three hottest years on record, with temperatures around 1.1C above pre-industrial levels.

Last year's temperatures were outstripped only by the record heat of 2016, and in some analyses by 2015.

But both 2016 and 2015 saw a significant El Nino, a natural phenomenon in the Pacific ocean that increases temperatures on top of human-induced global warming.

The main contributor to the rising temperatures over the last 150 years is human activity, such as burning fossil fuels which puts heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the scientists said.

The World Meteorological Organisation, which brings together five leading international datasets, said temperatures were on the rise over the long term.

Irish Independent

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