With the record-breaking temperatures of the summer becoming a distant memory, authorities are still dealing with the impact on roads and water supplies. Climate Change has attributed to Ireland's hottest temperatures, but the effect doesn’t stop there.
According to studies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ireland adds 160 thousand tonnes of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere every day. These gasses can potentially impact Ireland through rising sea levels, increase in a river and coastal flooding, water shortages in the summer, reduced water quality and increased storms and rainfall, some of these we have already witnessed in 2018.
I was eighteen the summer of the Irish heatwave of 1976, the same age as one of my son’s today. We’ve waited a long time for another scorcher summer, but the advancement of climate change means the extreme weather will become the norm rather than the exception.
My concern for what Ireland will be like in 2050 when my son is my age, motivated me to help set-up Clare Energy Action Network (CLEAN) and Renewable Energy Skillsnet in 2004 and my continued campaigning for policies that supports the development of a sustainable community like public transport and renewable energies.
The increase in temperatures has a more significant impact than the immediate heat risks. The warmers atmosphere increase the air’s capacity to hold moisture, resulting in more rainfall. A published report from the EPA in 2017 by Margaret Desmond explains, “Climate change projections indicate increased risk of flooding. Many climate variables, such as precipitation and storms, and other parameters such as urban fabric and land use, increase this risk.
Climate change is just one factor to flooding issues across Ireland. Poor planning for development on flood plains impacts the future sustainability of our town and puts residents at risk of losing their homes and businesses.
So what can each of us do to help reduce Climate Change?
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has many grants available on the Better Energy Homes programme such as Home Insulation Grant, Solar Thermal Grant and Heat Controls Grant. The development of new Green Energy has led to the introduction of an additional grant of up to €3,500, launched in April of this year, for Heat Pump Systems.
We can all take steps to reduce our carbon footprint by making small changes. Clare County Council will be adding 5 Electric Vehicle Chargers in Ennis and upgrading 40 social housing homes this year, in addition to the 20 houses last year. There is assistance in place to help homeowners decrease their energy consumption and gas emissions plus save money on energy bills.