Government action is needed to protect Ireland from rising sea levels and violent storms caused by global warming.

The Irish environmental organisation Earthwatch holds a two day conference in Dublin on global climate change and Ireland's response to it. The conference is attended by representatives of industry, agriculture and local authorities.

There is now a scientific consensus that we are entering a period of dramatic change and uncertainty in the world’s climate caused by the greenhouse effect.

Costal scientist and head of the Department of Environmental Studies at the New University of Ulster Bill Carter says Irish people can expect to experience an increase in violent storms and severe flooding in cities over the coming decades.

A rise in sea level will have a severe impact on lower-lying and more exposed parts of the Irish coastline. We may lose our beaches and there will be disruption to drainage and underground utilities such as electricity. It will also affect urban waterfront areas in Dublin, Cork, Bray, Belfast and Galway.

Rather than the construction of massive sea defences, Bill Carter says government action is the best way to protect the valuable Irish coastline. He believes the government should have a greater concern about the greenhouse effect and detailed planning is needed.

These issues should be addressed now rather than later because the government may find itself committed to vast sums of money which it can’t afford in the future.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 May 1990. The reporter is Una O’Hagan.