We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

A vehicle passing by high waves in Co Antrim in 2014. PA

Ireland 'urgently' needs to do more to protect coasts and adapt to climate change impacts

The Climate Change Advisory Council said heatwaves show the “need for urgent action on adaptation”.

IRELAND IS NOT prepared for its current climate or the “much worse” future with more heatwaves, flooding and coastal surges, the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) has said. 

The independent council, which advises the government on climate action and assessing Ireland’s progress, said that more frequent extreme weather events such as heatwaves show “the need for urgent action on adaptation” to the impacts of climate change. 

In a statement the council said current plans and strategies provide a “solid foundation” but that Ireland’s adaptation process has often been “side-lined and overshadowed by a focus on mitigation”.

Professor Peter Thorne, chair of the CCAC’s Adaptation Committee, said Ireland needs to “urgently” take steps to ensure it is resilient to more frequent and severe extreme weather events. 

“Decision makers at Government, department and national level must be better prepared in their adaptation planning and actions so they can take account of the full range of potential changes projected,” Thorne said in a statement. 

Chair of the council Marie Donnelly said it is “imperative” for the government to set an initial adaptation budget up to 2030.

“This budget must be determined in light of the social cost of climate change over at least the next 30 years and must reflect the need to prioritise funding for adaptation to a significantly greater degree than is currently the case.” 

Ireland recorded its hottest temperature in 135 years on Monday, with the Met Éireann measuring site at Phoenix Park topping out at 33°C.

A new record for the hottest day ever seen in the UK, of 40.3 degrees Celsius, was recorded in England yesterday afternoon – beating the previous record of 38.7 degrees in Cambridge three years ago.

Fires are continuing to burn through houses and buildings across the UK today. 

The global temperature will continue to rise in the years ahead unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed and Donnelly said that Irish adaptation plans should include heatwave preparation. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said unplanned expenditure from events like storms and floods “cost a lot of money”. 

“What we’re saying is budget now, invest in resilience because that ultimately saves money in the longer term,” Donnelly said. 

Certain basic concepts like not building homes in floodplains must be taken “to all of our infrastructure”, power lines, gas lines and airports, she added. 

“We have to think about, can they be resilient in the face of climate change?”

The planning to make Ireland “resilient and capable of coping with” climate change must be done in a “coordinated way”.

“We need them all [sectors] to link up together so that we have a holistic approach to how we prepare and prevent problems causing cost to our society in the future,” Donnelly said. 

The council today made a submission to the public consultation on the review of the National Adaptation Framework. 

In this, Donnelly said all existing sectoral adaptation plans should be revised and updated with additional plans such for sectors like financial services, tourism, sport and the build environment.

She further added that coastal resilience “requires much more urgent attention”. 

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel