• 11 July 2023

ECCA2023 host country: Ireland

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As the host country, Ireland’s climate experts and Government did more than provide a traditionally warm and generous welcome to ECCA2023, they shared the island’s unique adaptation challenges, their scientific and practical expertise and responses to the climate challenge. 

In Tuesday’s opening ceremony, Conor Quinlan, Senior Manager, Climate Services, at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ireland, and a member of the conference’s organising committee, took delegates on a trip back in time. He shared visualisations of how Dublin’s infrastructure adapted through history to grow from a small Viking settlement around the original ‘Dubh Linn’ or ‘Black Pool’ from which the city takes its name, to a thriving city. Many conference sessions took place in Dublin Castle, which was built in the 13th century, then at the water’s edge. The conference social evening, on June 20th, was held in the EPIC Centre in the CHQ building, the evocative Irish emigration museum. The converted warehouse is in the 18th Century docklands, on land originally reclaimed from the Liffey Estuary, and now known as ‘Silicon Docks’ due to the concentration of multi-national technology and finance companies based in this area. 

John Bell, who hails from Ireland and spoke as the EC’s Healthy Planet Director, commented: “Dublin is grounded in adaptation,” as he called on the entire science and policy climate community to “guide society in the transition that needs to take place”. He went on to declare: “We may be running out of time but we’re not running out of ideas.” 

Jane McCullough, coordinator of the Climate NI programme and other adaptation projects delivered by Northern Ireland Environment Link, (the networking and forum body for organisations interested in the natural and built environment of Northern Ireland), highlighted the role of local authorities/municipalities in her piazza presentation on ‘Collaboration and Evolution in Local Government Adaptation Support for Northern Ireland’ as Tuesday’s programme came to a close. 

Wednesday opened with a session focused on Ireland, chaired by George Hussey, Manager of the Irish Climate Change Council Secretariat, with Christine Domegan, a senior lecturer at the University of Galway. Several Irish organisations working on knowledge brokering were involved and presentations paticularly addressed the importance of sharing actionable knowledge on adaptation with policy and society. 

Presentations included: 

  • ‘Delivering the right solutions at the right time: strengthening the research to policy interface’ presented by ERINN Innovation Ltd, an Irish company specialising in science knowledge sharing. 

  • ‘Climate Change Beliefs and Attitudes in Ireland’ by Desmond O’Mahony, of the EPA 

  • ‘An Irish National Framework for Climate Services – Translating Science into Action’ by Dr Claire Scannell, of the Ireland National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann 

  • ‘Progressing Adaptation and Resilience in Ireland, development, governance, and Climate Ireland, Ireland’s National Adaptation Platform, by Conor Quinlan, of the EPA 

  • ‘Flood Risk Management’ by Patrick Hall, of Ireland’s Office of Public Works. 

Later in the day, Maya Fields, of An Taisce Environmental Education Unit, (the National Trust for Ireland) joined the session on ‘Youth-Led Adaptation’ to promote the power of including students in examining local climate patterns, assessing the suitability of nature-based solutions for flood prevention and heatwave resilience. Their impressive and inspiring capacity and enthusiasm to engage in ecosystem adaptation has led to a call to make funding and support available for youth-led initiatives, including interacting with climate scientists. 

MaREI’s Denise McCullagh, Evan Boyle, and Camila Tavares Pereira took part in an interesting session that included playing ’Connect4 Adaptation’, based on the family game to demonstrate the importance of creating new connections across government, academia and industry, spanning multiple disciplines and sectors relevant for climate adaptation. 

Dr Stephen Flood, Resilience Lead at the Irish Climate Change Advisory Council Secretariat and a Visiting Scholar at the Irish Climate Analysis and Research UnitS (ICARUS), at Maynooth University in Ireland, chaired a discussion on the role of adaptation indicators in helping to achieve resilient and just societal transformation, in the face of climate change and other socio-economic drivers. 

 

Links: 

Dublin City, the venue for ECCA2023, embodies the adaptation challenges facing Europe at global and local levels – Conor Quinlan looks at the adaptation history of ECCA2023’s venue https://www.ecca2023.eu/cmspreview/european-climate-change-adaption-conference-2023/ecca2023-and-dublin-city  

Read more about The Voice of Youth at ECCA2023 – insights from Oileán Carter Stritch, Ireland’s Climate Youth Leader. 

Watch the ECCA2023 opening plenaries from Tuesday 20th June 

Watch the ECCA2023 closing plenaries from Wednesday 21st June 

Read more about The Irish Times article about Climate science shows we have options, and that we can and must change 

Read more about The Irish Times article about Europe is not a ‘safe haven’ from climate breakdown, expert warns 


Author: Sally Stevens
 

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