An analysis of Cork local authority spending has revealed that extreme weather events are taking a significant toll on the local economy.
According to figures from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community, and Local Government, it cost Cork County Council just over €3.3 million and Cork City Council just under €2.3 million to recover from the floods in 2016 and Storm Ophelia in 2017. For comparison, that's almost two thirds of both councils' budgets for social housing this year.
Experts agree that although individual weather events cannot be directly linked to climate change, the frequency of so called ‘extreme weather events’ is likely to rise as a result of it. A report published this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that climbing temperatures in Arctic regions have resulted in disturbances in the polar jet stream that coincide with extreme weather events such as the ‘Beast from the East’.
Green Party candidate for Cork East, Liam Quaide, said:
“The debate around climate change often tends to focus on the potential costs of taking action to reduce the emissions that cause climate change, but the reality is we are already paying a high price for our lack of action. The less we do now, the more it will cost us as the frequency of these extreme weather events increases. As a country with some of the highest per capita emissions, it is important we do our part by taking much more action.
“Cork County Council needed over €3.3 million to cover the costs of the floods in 2016 and Storm Ophelia last year. That money could have paid for the retrofitting of over 130 houses, producing warmer homes with reduced emissions and lower heating bills. We need to start treating the causes, not just the symptoms.”