Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is concerned about whether collectively people have a sense about the seriousness of climate change.

Speaking at the Dublin Climate Summit at UCD, he said: "The challenges facing us from climate change are stark.

"The serious impacts in recent years from extreme weather events show us the truly enormous cost of not acting. The truth is that not acting, is not an option.

"The recent reports of the IPCC working groups have framed clearly the challenge that we share and the urgency with which we must act.

"We have agreed and re-affirmed a global goal under the Paris Agreement to hold temperature increases to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The challenge is profound. Genuine transformation is required."

Mr Martin said he is "impatient" to get things done and get things moving when it comes to measures to prevent climate change.

He told the conference that the Government did not buckle on carbon tax. This is important, he said, because it provides a funding stream for farmers as well as a home retrofitting programme.

Retrofitting will mean less bills and more energy efficiency, he added.

The Taoiseach said that if we do not move to address climate change, then we are creating a very grim situation for generations to come.

Everyone has to make the contribution together and if they do not, then things will not happen, he added.

Rising energy prices are a concern, he said, adding that there was no doubt that renewables are the most effective and only way to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

The Taoiseach said his wish for Ireland is to half emissions by 2030 but he acknowledged that this will be very challenging.

Biodiversity, he said, is something he was personally very concerned about and said more woodlands needed to be planted.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said that governments now understand that if they want to become energy independent "renewable energy is the only game in town".

Speaking at the event, he said that climate change and the Covid-19 challenge have one fundamental difference which impacts how Government respond back to it.

The pandemic was an immediate systemic risk over a few weeks and in contrast, he said, climate, even though the risks are gigantic, the steps are gradual and incremental.

Mr Donohoe said that it was difficult to make the case for carbon taxes when the cost of energy was going up.

He said it was difficult to make the case for costly private investments in your home and in your car when the cost of living was going up at the same time.

The minister said it was important to take the steps that we can to help with the rising costs of living.

He said that Central Banks have their own decisions to make so businesses have the capacity to respond back to the changes that will have to be made due to the climate crisis.

Warning of flood risk to 8,500 buildings in Dublin

Among those taking part is technology company Cervest, which uses technology and AI to identify business risk to climate change.

It warned delegates that 8,500 buildings in Dublin could be flooded to an average depth of 1.5 to 1.7 metres by the end of the century if no further action is taken to mitigate the risks of global warming.

The company's CEO said they have to look at scenarios on a standalone basis.

"If we do nothing, we can expect this action," Iggy Bassi told RTÉ’s News at One. "If we do something, we can expect better risk outcomes over time."

Mr Bassi said they are talking about a risk of periodic flooding, rather than a state of being permanently underwater.

He said there would be some inundation impacts, but they can be mitigated.

"When you do have floods, they would be greater in terms of severity, frequency, depth and magnitude," he said.

"That’s essentially why we say that something like 8,500 buildings will have greater frequency of flooding events, which could be fairly significant when you think about how much infrastructure is built in a very small location."