Government to be warned that Ireland is not prepared for the climate of the future

Government to be warned that Ireland is not prepared for the climate of the future

IRELAND MUST prepare immediately for disruptive impacts of climate change such as extreme heat, the Government will be warned today, as a heatwave continues to bring record temperatures and wildfires to Europe.

The Climate Change Advisory Council, an independent body which advises the Government on climate matters, said Ireland is not prepared for today’s climate nor the climate of the future.

It will today issue an opinion on the Government’s plan to adapt to climate change and say that while a solid foundation has been put in place, more needs to be done urgently to prepare for the changes that a warming climate will bring.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, CCAC chairperson Marie Donnelly said the existing risk assessment does not take into account heatwaves as an occurrence in the Irish context.

"In terms of climate change, we have two types of action that we take. One is called mitigation and that's really about reducing the emissions that we give out, from fossil fuels for example.

"The second one is called adaptation and it's responding to the climate change that has already happened and, indeed, preparing for the climate change that we know will happen."

She said high temperatures, such as those recorded on Monday, are "quite a new thing to hit Ireland", but the country needs to prepare for waves of extreme weather, such as what is being experienced across Europe.

Professor Peter Thorne, chair of the council’s Adaptation Committee, said the country has “taken our eye off the ball” when it comes to adapting to a changing climate.

“We really have taken our eye off the ball of the other part of the equation, which is adapting to the change that we’ve already seen and will continue to see into the future,” he told Newstalk.

“The heatwave that we’ve seen across western Europe in the last few weeks is undoubtedly down to climate change, and it will become more frequent and more severe.”

Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan will hold high-stakes talks with Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue today to agree a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year the Government announced plans to cut emissions in the agriculture sector by 22 to 30 per cent by 2030 under its Climate Action Plan.

The Oireachtas Agriculture Committee will also discuss emission targets later, as farmers warn that a 30 per cent reduction would come at an unacceptable cost and put livelihoods at risk.