Sunday 16 November 2008

Sea-level rises could endanger Dublin Bay assets - expert

PROJECTED GLOBAL rises in sea levels throughout the remainder of this century could put some $33 billion (€26 billion)worth of assets around Dublin Bay at risk, a leading expert on climate change has warned.

Prof Colin Woodroffe, who has authored a report for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that sea levels are projected to rise by between 18 and 59cm over the remainder of the century due to climate change.

These calculations are based on the thermal expansion of water as the seas heat up, and do not include the effects of continuing ice melts which will add further to sea-level rises but which make projections more difficult to model.

While tide records show no evidence of any major sea-level change around Dublin, projections show some $33 billion worth of assets could be at risk around the bay - less than the $304 billion at risk in London, but more than the $7 billion at risk in Glasgow.

Prof Woodroffe said sea-level rises would have catastrophic effects in Asia where some eight delta regions are under threat, with some 10 million people affected in each of seven of these deltas. Meanwhile, multiples of this number would be affected in Bangladesh.

He was speaking at a climate change conference in Cork, organised by Partnership for Change, which was officially opened by Minister for the Environment John Gormley, who described climate change as the biggest challenge facing humanity.

The issue of sea-level rises were also addressed by John Moffet, head of programme development with Christian Aid Ireland, who said a two-degree increase in average global temperature would have catastrophic effects. Such an increase could force 150 million people in Asia's coastal regions to move, with a further 200 million people ending up in areas prone to malaria - while it could also lead to 500 million people reliant on Himalayan glaciers for their water suffering shortages.

The Irish Times

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