Prof John Sweeney, a world-renowned expert on climatology based at NUI Maynooth, said important economic sectors could be seriously affected by temperature rises
A leading Irish professor has warned that climate change will have disastrous consequences for us – and leave the earth “a damaged planet”.
Prof John Sweeney, a world-renowned expert on climatology based at NUI Maynooth, said important economic sectors could be seriously affected by temperature rises.
If climate change goes unchecked, summers here will be hotter and drier, winters will be warmer and wetter, with a risk of more frequent widespread flooding.
Prof Sweeney warned: “It is clear that the window of opportunity is closing rapidly and unless radical emission cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are achieved within the next decade or two, a tipping point may be reached in global climate which may be irreversible.
“The legacy this generation will pass on to the next would then be that of a severely damaged planet.”
Prof Sweeney will address a free climate change conference tomorrow at The Goat, in Goatstown, Dublin.
It being organised by Senator Mary White ahead of the UN conference on the issue which runs in Paris from November 30-December 11.
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Over the past 30 years, Prof Sweeney has published around 60 scientific papers and edited or co-authored four texts on various aspects of climatology and climate change in Ireland.
He said: “Let’s consider geographic and demographic factors: Ireland has 4,577km of coast, and more than half the population lives within 15km of the sea.
“Around 20pc of the coast is at risk of erosion, with sea-level rise already having a significant impact on the soft boulder clay coasts of the east.
“Counties Dublin , Down, Louth, Wexford and Wicklow are particularly at risk, but the west and south are also affected, with low-lying bays and estuaries such as Cork Harbour, Clew Bay and especially the Shannon Estuary displaying increased exposure to sea-level rise.”
He said it was time to put politics aside and to consider the very future of our country and planet.
Prof Sweeney added:”The forthcoming Paris conference represents a historic opportunity for the global community to change course and avoid the worst excesses of climate change impacts forecast by climate scientists.
“Narrow national priorities, often determined by powerful sectoral interest groups, have bedevilled attempts to place the global common good first until now.”
* Tomorrow’s meeting takes place in The Goat at 7.30pm.
By Pat Flanagan