The climate on this planet is changing.
As the life support system on earth is finite, human populations have to do two major things:
- Mitigation - minimise human influence on climate from now on. This requires the development of sustainable systems and is essential to maintain the life support system on earth.
- Adaptation - adapt to the challenges that cannot be avoided. Even if immediate effective global efforts to control global warming activities occur now, climate change is expected to continue during and after the 21st century. Some of the projected climate changes may affect human health. See Climate Change and Health.
Planning for climate change in Ireland
The environmental effects of climate change will vary across the planet. Ireland is likely to be affected by:
- rising sea level
- more extreme weather events
- increased precipitation
- increased temperatures
Already, Ireland’s weather indicates increased flooding and storminess - see Met Eireann report - Ireland’s Climate: the road ahead.
The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 provides a requirement and a timeline for each governmental sector to develop mitigation and adaptation plans.
Evidence for climate change
For some of the evidence for climate change see below three of the nineteen Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers. Climate Change 2013- The Physical Science Basis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report:
- Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system.
- Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multi-century climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2.