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Climate change could put more than 60,000 homes at risk of coastal flooding by 2050

Dublin, Louth and Clare are expected to be the most affected counties.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

CLIMATE CHANGE COULD put more than 60,000 Irish homes at heightened risk of coastal flooding by 2050, according to a new survey of vulnerable coastal locations across the country.

A data and mapping analysis by Gamma Location Intelligence (GLI) has found that more than 70,000 addresses will be at risk of coastal flooding by the middle of the century, some 88% of which are residential.

Dublin, Louth and Clare are expected to be the most affected counties.

The analysis, published today, predicts that 21,513 residential addresses and 1,922 commercial properties in Dublin will be at risk.

Louth is expected to be second most affected county, with some 10,280 residential and 968 commercial properties predicted to be impacted, followed by Clare with 7,376 homes and 1,320 businesses at risk.

Limerick (5,426 properties) and Galway (4,501 properties) rounded out the top five areas expected to be most impacted by increased flood risk as a result of climate change.

The findings are based on a predicted global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius, which climate scientists expect to happen in the next 30 years in some scenarios.

Such an increase would cause sea levels to rise up to 1.75 metres and bring about more extreme weather events, leading to higher and more frequent coastal flooding.

The figures are relevant for coastal flooding only, and do not refer to other types of flooding brought on by heavy rainfall and high river levels in addition which could cause even more properties to be impacted.

The modelling also omits existing or planned sea wall defences.

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Richard Cantwell of Gamma Location Intelligence said explained how the effects of climate change would become more tangible and extreme in coming years.

“With increasing global temperatures, sea levels are rising which means flooding will become more commonplace,” he said.

“This will have a major impact on many Irish counties, particularly along the coast, and a significant number of properties are set to be affected, unless carbon dioxide emissions are reduced which will help to delay the process.

“Of course, the situation that is unfolding across the globe due to the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a drop in carbon emissions over recent weeks with flights grounded, businesses closed and less pollution.

“Whether this decrease will continue when lockdown measures are eased remains to be seen.”

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