A change in the Irish climate could have dramatic effects on farming and the coastline.

A new report examining how the greenhouse effect could change our weather concludes that a warmer climate is not a good thing.

Irish weather has never been predictable but if scientists across the world are correct, then things might change.

The Department of the Environment commissioned a group of twenty five experts to study what would happen if the greenhouse effect took hold in Ireland. The group worked on the assumption that in the next 40 years temperatures would rise by two degrees. The report also predicts that there will be more rainfall in winter and less in summer. The report also predicts that sea levels would rise by 18 cm in the same period.

The most dramatic effect of the changes would be felt in Irish agriculture with grass yields increasing by twenty per cent and the potential to develop more exotic crops. There would also be a radical change in marine life with more potential for harvesting shellfish.

The report also highlights the negative impacts of a warmer climate. Rising sea levels would have a serious impact on the one million people living close to the coast. The report estimates that £750 billion in investment would be required to protect the coastline. The rise in temperatures could mean more water shortages and serious damage to peatlands and bogs.

Despite all these potential negative effects, the editor of the report believes there is no need for alarm.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 December 1991. The reporter is Mark Little.