According to a new climate change predictions released by Friends of the Earth, Belfast city centre could be hit by regular floods by the end of the century.
Belfast, the economic engine of Ireland, would not be able to function the way it does today, while people living in residential areas surrounding the city centre could be left floundering, unable to afford insurance premiums or be able to move away.
According to the latest climate science, submitted to the Copenhagen conference and reviewed by Friends of the Earth, Belfast could experience an 80 metre sea level rise by the end of the century. This, combined with high rainfall, storm surges and a spring tide means by 2010, what is today considered to be a 1 in 100 year flood event would occur every four years, while today’s 1 in 50 year event would occur annually.
According to Declan Allison, Northern Ireland’s climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, maps are based on quite outdated science, so the reality could be even worse, with regular floods.
“Climate change will have dramatic implications for all our cities and particularly those vulnerable to sea level rise,” he said.
“Much of the city centre and inner city residential areas will become non viable and the economic centre will not function,” said Julian Orford, a professor at Queens University in Ireland.
“People are not going to be able to afford insurance or to move without some kind of Government intervention. They will be disproportionally affected because they simply can’t afford to insure their property or move.”