Monday, 31 March 2014

Stop Climate Chaos Responds to IPCC Report on Impacts of Climate Change

Ireland will face an increased risk of extreme weather events, with more  coastal and river flooding, unless the Government steps up action to contain climate change and urges its international counterparts to do likewise.  That’s according to Stop Climate Chaos (SCC), a coalition of 28 civil society organisations. 

Stop Climate Chaos was responding today (31.03.14) to the publication of the second of four reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for the assessment of climate change.  The report was prepared by over 800 leading scientists from 39 different countries over the past two years.  It focuses on the impacts of climate change already being experienced, as well as future risks and adaptation strategies, and shows that with no adaptation, coastal flooding in the 2080s is projected to affect millions more people in Europe  per year, with the Atlantic, Northern and Southern European regions most affected.

According to the coalition, the increased flooding risk that comes with extreme weather events could spell chaos for Ireland’s economy.

“The report looks at how climate change impacts on people, plants, animals, the environment and the economy – and how we can adapt,” explained Niamh Garvey, spokesperson for SCC. “We enjoy a temperate climate in Ireland, but that does not mean that we are exempt from the direct impacts of climate change.  If climate change continues unchecked, the weather in Ireland will become more volatile and floods will be commonplace.

“An increase in flooding would have a negative impact on our economy and our quality of life.  Earlier this year, we witnessed first-hand the chaos wreaked by flooding on people’s homes, businesses and day-to-day lives.  We are also seeing rising insurance costs and growing unwillingness amongst investors to place assets in areas affected by flooding.  These are serious issues for coastal and island economies like Ireland. 

“Even more serious are the impacts that will be felt by the poorest communities around the world. This report shows that we will all be more vulnerable to extreme weather but that it is the poorest and most marginalised who will suffer most. Left unchecked, climate change will continue to negatively affect food production and human health, and has the potential to reverse many of the gains made in reducing poverty over the last decades.” 

Government Action Required
Ms. Garvey called on the Government to strengthen its proposed climate legislation and put in place immediate steps to ensure we meet our emissions reduction targets in response to the IPCC report.

“The focus must now be on ensuring comprehensive government action that  avoids the worst impacts of climate change,” she said.  “The Government published draft climate legislation this time last year which Stop Climate Chaos described as ‘too weak to work’. However much good work was done by the Oireachtas Environment Committee to improve the legislation and in the revised Bill due next month, the Government must implement its recommendations. .  They must also work with their partners at EU and international levels to achieve a global deal on climate change which they have promised in 2015.

“Without further action In Ireland, we will have exceeded our 2020 emissions targets as early as next year..  This will leave Ireland, and the taxpayer, facing financial penalties as well as missing the economic opportunities in making the transition to a low carbon economy..  Clearly, the costs of inaction or delayed action are substantial. The time to prevent extreme climate change and reduce our emissions is now.”

Public Briefing at Lunchtime Today
Stop Climate Chaos is holding a public briefing on the IPCC report at 1pm today in the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. a leading expert insocietal responses to climate change and chair of the Climate Change Committee of An Taisce, Professor Barry McMullin, will address the event.

Speaking in advance, Professor McMullin said: “By taking action now, we can save lives and money. As climate change worsens, it will make people poorer, hungrier and more ill due to having to contend with more extreme flooding, heat waves and droughts.  Delaying action on climate change will cost more and be less effective.  Acting now will save lives and deliver many other benefits, such as green jobs and more sustainable economies, to our communities and the environments they depend on.”

Full details of the IPCC report released today are available at: www.ipcc.ch