ICONIC Irish landscapes and buildings are threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change, an international conference in Dublin has heard.
Environment Minister John Gormley warned climate change was the most far-reaching challenge to humanity globally and nationally.
Mr Gormley was opening the 13th international conference of national trusts. More than 200 representatives from trusts worldwide are attending the conference, hosted by An Taisce, that will run until Thursday.
This country, Mr Gormley added, had signed up to legally binding targets under the Kyoto protocol and the Carbon and Energy Package agreed by the EU last December.
The minister said proposed climate change legislation would include specific provisions on climate change adaptation.
He said work was well under way on the development of a national adaptation framework and he hoped to publish it by the end of the year.
Simon Molesworth, chairman of the International National Trusts Organisation, said conservation was a vital strategy in addressing climate change. He warned time was against us and it was critical world leaders listen and put solid measures in place at a special UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December to protect our heritage for future generations.
Eamon Hayes, a 16-year-old transition year student from Ballina, Co Tipperary, delivered a keynote address and said it was obvious many adults pay no attention to preserving our natural resources and the environment.
"Melting ice caps, spreading deserts and flooding may seem like far away problems but if we don’t take action now they will be a reality for every citizen of this world in generations to come.
"Do you want your legacy to be a damaged world that you pass onto my generation and the generation after me?" he asked.