NEW RESEARCH has revealed where the worst places for flooding will be in future in the British and Irish isles.
The landmark study by Newcastle University has for the first time analysed changes in flooding, droughts and heatwaves for all European cities using all climate models.
The findings reveal that an increase in river flooding is on the cards for the cities of Cork, Derry, Waterford, Wrexham, Carlisle, Glasgow, Chester and Aberdeen.
Furthermore, even those cities and towns with rivers in the lowest case scenario are predicted to face an 85% increase in flooding.
As well as that, there is expected to be a worsening of heatwaves for all 571 cities included in the study.
In terms of river flooding, the British Isles have some of the worst overall flood projections. Even in the most optimistic scenario, 85% of UK cities with a river – including London – are predicted to face increased river flooding, while for the high scenario, half of UK cities could see at least a 50% increase on peak river flows.
The cities predicted to be worst hit under the high impact scenario are Cork, Derry, Waterford, Wrexham, Carlisle and Glasgow and for the more optimistic, low impact, scenario are Derry, Chester, Carlisle, Aberdeen and Glasgow.
Of the European capitals, Dublin, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius and Zagreb are likely to experience the most extreme rise in flooding. For the high impact scenario, several European cities could see more than 80% increases on peak river flows, including Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Cork and Waterford in Ireland, Braga and Barcelos in Portugal and Derry/ Londonderry in the UK.
The implications of the study in terms of how Europe adapts to climate change are far-reaching, says Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study.
“The research highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions.
“We are already seeing at first hand the implications of extreme weather events in our capital cities. In Paris, the Seine rose more than 4 metres above its normal water level. And as Cape Town prepares for its taps to run dry, this analysis highlights that such climate events are feasible in European cities too.”
Commenting on the report Solidarity TDs Paul Murphy and Mick Barry called for large-scale investment in tackling climate change but also in preparing cities and towns for increased flooding which is inevitable.
Paul Murphy TD said "This important research demonstrates how exposed Ireland is to the effects of climate change. Three of our major cities and population areas are at high risk of extreme flooding events in the near future.
''This report should act as a major wake-up call for the government that they cannot continue with their business as a usual approach when it comes to climate change.
''Because of the lack of action by the Irish government and capitalist governments across the globe to tackle rising CO2 emissions we have to be prepared for more extreme weather events which are now inevitable. This means taking measures now to prevent the potentially devastating effects of sea-level rises and increased occurrences of river flooding.
"Transport emissions in Ireland account for about 20% of all emissions. Currently, 75% of all journeys made in Ireland are made in private cars. Solidarity have proposed a number of measures relating to public transport to encourage people from their cars onto buses and trains. These include a halving of fares, increasing routes and having more frequent services."
Mick Barry TD said "The government must begin investing immediately in increased flood defence protections. This means providing funding now for measures like the tidal barrier in Cork and new flood prevention measures upriver on the Lee. Defence measures like this need to be rolled out across the country in all the major towns and cities.
''Secondly, they must begin to take climate change seriously by tackling emissions. This means major investment in areas like transport, retro-fitting of homes and to tackle the industries which are major emitters.
"The Irish Academy of Engineers have estimated that it would cost €35 billion to take measures to reach the 2030 emissions targets, which themselves are not enough. We need to take radical measures to re-shape the economy to one that protects the environment and provides for people's needs."