Climate change – the risks and opportunities

17 Aug 2010

New Forfás report says Irish business can unleash opportunities from climate change.

Published today, Adaptation to Climate Change: Issues for Business looks at the climate change scenarios that will impact Ireland in the future such as rising temperatures, increased flooding risks, wetter winters and drier summers, but says as well as the risks businesses can exploit the opportunities.

Speaking today, Martin Shanahan, chief executive, Forfás (pictured), said: “Given that Ireland is expected to be relatively less affected by climate change than our key competitor countries, properly managed, Ireland can have competitive advantages through access to significant water resources and an ongoing temperate climate. This can present opportunities for indigenous companies to realise these competitive advantages and to promote Ireland as a relatively low risk location for business activity.

He said it was now key to facilitate Irish businesses in planning ahead so they could minimise risks, reduce costs and realise opportunities.

The report identifies the opportunities and risks of climate change in eight Irish enterprise sectors:

– Food and drink

– Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical technologies

– ICT manufacturing and services

– Financial services including insurance

– Tourism

– Construction and building materials

– Environmental goods and services

– Retail, wholesale and distribution.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD, said the report revealed strong business opportunities for Irish firms that the Government’s enterprise agencies should now target.

“For example, making new and existing buildings and infrastructure more climate-resilient presents opportunities for the construction sector, while increases in global food demand due to global climate challenges can boost our agri-food sector.”

The report says adapting business infrastructure and the policy framework will be critical to successful climate change adaptation in Ireland.

It makes recommendations in the areas of water supply and quality, flood protection, energy, transport, communications and waste management in order to help critical infrastructure owners ensure that these pieces of infrastructure are climate resilient for businesses. 

Click here to read the report in full.


Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic