Climate change threatens key sites

14th September 2009
Press Release

Climate change threatens key sites OLIVA KELLY Globally important landscapes such as the Giants Causeway are at risk of being obliterated by climate change, an international conference of national trusts has heard.

The protection of built and natural heritage must be central to the UN conference on climate change which will take place in Copenhagen in December, Simon Molesworth, chairman of the International National Trusts Organisation, told the conference in Dublin today.

"Iconic buildings and landscapes all around the world are at risk because of climate change. Time is against us, and it is critical that world leaders listen and put solid measures in place at Copenhagen to protect our heritage so that it can be enjoyed by future generations," he said.

The impact of climate change on landscapes was neither theoretical, nor a threat for the distant future, but was happening now, Mr Molesworth said.

"There are some obvious examples to demonstrate the impact of climate change, the disappearing Maldives Islands are one."

Ireland was not immune from this global threat, he said.

"While things may look near-perfect here in Ireland, a report published by the UK National Trust in 2008 predicted that the sea level around Northern Ireland will rise by up to one metre by the end of the century, threatening the Giant's Causeway."

Global leadership was needed to protect heritage landscapes, which meant it was essential that the issue was tackled in Copenhagen, he said.

The conference, which began today and runs until Thursday, is being attended by over 200 representatives from heritage trusts from around the globe and is being hosted by An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.