Docklands of Dublin ‘already at risk’ from rising sea levels

MacGill summer school hears there are just two decades left to avoid dangerous climate change

The Dublin docklands are ‘already at risk’ due to rises in sea levels, the MacGill summer school heard. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The Dublin docklands are ‘already at risk’ due to rises in sea levels, the MacGill summer school heard. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 12:05

The docklands in Dublin are already at risk of flooding due to rises in sea levels as a result of climate change, the MacGill summer school heard.

Dr Peter Brennan, head of public affairs and public policy with a consultancy group that works with government agencies, said rises in sea level would create a problem of flooding in low-lying areas.

The docklands of Dublin were “already at risk”, he said.

“So even with a small level of sea rise in Ireland, we have immediately a problem. So this isn’t theoretical. This is something that’s going to happen.”

He was speaking at a session on climate change at the 34th MacGill summer school in Glenties, Co Donegal.

Dr John Sweeney of the Department of Geography at NUI Maynooth, told the session that sea levels would increase by almost a metre by the end of this century.

Even if we “get our act together” on climate change today, he said, this would not stop. Sea levels would continue to rise for several centuries.

“There are approximately two decades left to achieve the large-scale decarbonisation necessary to avoid dangerous climate change,” he said.

Director general of the Environmental Protection Agency, Laura Burke, said missing targets on climate change would entail costs for Ireland and would increase the difficulty and the cost of achieving a low carbon economy and society.