3.5 Regional and National Consequences of Adverse Climate Change in Cork
With a population of 211,000, Cork is Ireland’s second largest city and a key driver of the regional and national economy. The negative impacts of climate change pose a significant risk to citizens, the economy, the environment and the delivery of local government services. This is especially relevant considering the risks from pluvial, fluvial and tidal flooding in Cork city and its environs. Cork City Council is directly responsible for over 10,000 public housing units. The Council also owns many municipal buildings and other facilities whose functions encompass the full range of local government activity and vary from area offices and libraries to civic amenity sites, parks, cemeteries, leisure centres and a major water treatment plant at the Lee Road.
Cork metropolitan area has many natural and developed advantages, which make it an attractive area to live, to visit and to carry out business in. These include:
- One of the largest natural harbours in the world;
- A significant power generation station and an oil refinery;
- A Tier 1 seaport and an international airport, plus important rail and road links/hubs;
- Well developed digital infrastructure;
- A critical mass of excellent educational institutions;
- Major hospital and medical/health sector facilities;
- A vibrant cultural, sporting and recreational scene;
- A strong economic sector (over 150 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies); and
- Significant commercial and retail facilities.
However, when viewed through the lens of risk assessment climate change could make a significant impact on the economy and society of Cork and the Southern region. For example, the likelihood of a major flood event multiplied by the consequences of such an event in terms of danger and damage to citizens and infrastructure is greater in Cork city than many other cities. Having such a critical mass of infrastructure in the second largest city in Ireland means that when current and future climate change-related conditions and events become either the norm or occur at greater frequency and severity, many people, businesses and organisations will be negatively affected unless measures are put in place to adapt to climate change.