Ireland’s changing climate is projected to result in wide ranging economic and societal impacts
“Observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land show that Ireland’s climate is changing. The observed scale and rate of change is similar to global trends. These changes are projected to continue and increase over the coming decades,” said Dr Margaret Desmond, lead author of one of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research reports being launched today by Mr Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment at the EPA Seminar on Climate Change Research.
Commenting on the report ‘A Summary of the State of Knowledge on Climate Change Impacts for Ireland', Laura Burke, Director General, EPA, said, “Ireland needs to prepare for the local impacts of global climate change. The State of Knowledge Report provides an important overview of projected impacts for key economic, social and environmental sectors. This type of information helps us to plan for a climate resilient future. Ireland is also committed to large scale decarbonisation of electricity generation, transport and residential heating by 2050. This is a necessary contribution to addressing the causes of climate change, as is enhancing the uptake to carbon in our forests and soils. Valuable insights on addressing these challenges are contained in the other reports also being launched today.”
Dr Margaret Desmond, University College Cork, lead author of the state of knowledge report said,
“The first State of Knowledge Report on climate change was published in 2009. Today the impacts of global climate change for Ireland are clearer and more compelling. Trends are apparent in the temperature, precipitation records as well as in sea level rise and changing ecosystems. Climate projections indicate that these trends will continue but uncertainties remain on the details. The effectiveness of global actions to limit the extent of global climate change remains a key uncertainty.”
The report highlights that a range of adaptation options exist. These can reduce vulnerability and build resilience to a changing climate. Planned management of the associated impacts is necessary to reduce their adverse impacts in a cost-effective manner.
Laura Burke said, “Research plays a key role in increasing our understanding of ongoing changes and in informing responses. Adaptation is a necessary component of Ireland’s response to climate change to protect communities, manage risks from climate impacts, and strengthen the resilience of the economy. Adaptation actions to reduce our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change need to make sense from an economic and environmental perspective and to contribute to our sustainable development. Substantial reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases are also needed - in Ireland, Europe and globally - if we are to achieve the Paris Agreement goals and limit the rate and extent of climate change to a manageable level.”
The other research reports being launched aim to inform mitigation actions and explore synergies between actions to address air quality and climate change. These include Irish-Times on achievement of a low emission energy system by 2050, GAINS Ireland which links climate and air quality analyses and on the challenges associated with afforestation in Ireland.