Letter | Galway climate change “opportunities”?

Galway Daily news Galway hosts 37 countries for agriculture and climate change conference

Dear Editor,

Galway County Council has released a strategy for tackling climate change impacts, titled “Climate Proofing County Galway”.

Within the document, the council makes notes of “Risks and Opportunities”.
This is a worrying grouping and comparison.

The risks that climate change poses include, but are not limited to, more flooding, heavier rain and unpredictable weather patterns, greater coastal erosion, a reduction in food security, lengthier heatwaves, and the increased possibility of novel disease emergence.
We also face a significant climate justice issue, as those who experience the worst impacts of climate change have caused the least planetary harm.

There are admittedly some “opportunities” regarding climate change but only if we are unimaginative. Opportunities like fewer burst pipes due to freezing and new heritage site discovery showcase just how much Galway County Council are scraping the barrel.

Risks and opportunities should not be weighted equally. The risks far outweigh any potential benefits – some of which don’t require climate change to influence them.
For example, warmer winters may mean we can reduce heating costs and maintenance but regardless we can improve the insulation and retrofit those homes to reduce heatings costs and help meet our emissions targets.

Another is ensuring good water quality – we should be doing this anyway, preventing fertiliser runoff, industrial waste, and any other pollutants entering our waterways is critical for all life in Ireland.

Climate change is not something we can rely on to provide opportunities. But there are plentiful opportunities to tackle climate change and simultaneously address fuel poverty, car dependency, local air pollution issues, reduce healthcare costs, reduce expenditure on road repairs, and return valuable time back to workers and their families.

Criodán Ó Murchú
An Taisce Climate Committee Member
Peterswell, Co. Galway