The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC), the government’s advisory body on climate change problems, has said that the government must prioritize adaptation and combine it with mitigation.
Climate change adaptation is the process of putting systems and infrastructure in place to safeguard people and the environment against catastrophic climate change disasters.
Mitigation refers to attempts to avoid certain disasters from happening by attempting to halt or reduce climate change via emission reductions.
The CCAC argues in a response to the public consultation on a review of the National Adaptation Framework (NAF) that adaptation in Ireland has not occurred on a large enough scale.
The CCAC said in a letter to Minister for Environment, Climate, and Communications Eamon Ryan as part of its submission that planned climate change adaptation may provide chances for “innovative, inclusive, and transformative climate-resilient development.”
However, CCAC chairman Marie Donnelly said in the letter, “While the current NAF and sectoral and local adaptation plans and strategies provide a solid foundation, overall adaptation in Ireland has often been marginal, incremental, and process-based, and this is no longer sufficient.”
“A revised NAF must therefore provide for further integration with mitigation, sustainable development, and disaster risk reduction, all within the context of the Climate Act’s national climate objective,” Donnelly wrote.
According to the CCAC, the current adaption deficiency, as well as the growing intensity or frequency of weather events, may have an effect on agricultural production, property and infrastructure damage, and even death.
The CCAC is pushing for all sectoral adaptation plans to be reviewed and updated, with a special emphasis on coastal flooding resilience.
“The NAF and its plans should be informed by a regular national risk assessment, and actions and investments should be clearly prioritized,” Donnelly suggested.
She also advocated for consistent and substantial financial assistance for adaption initiatives.
“The government must also develop and then monitor a set of national resilience indicators to assess our resilience and progress toward achieving climate resilient development.”
The CCAC’s proposal suggests creating a “adaptation budget” for 2030, which would prioritize adaptation financing to a “significantly greater degree” than is presently the case.