Derry's railway station may no longer be with us by 2030 should the alarming rise in global temperatures not be checked leading to water levels rising with parts of Derry submerged
A leading climate research group, Climate Central, has produced a stark warning for Derry that could see the train station and the Foyle and Peace bridges under water if the world's temperature does not cool down by 2030.
Also under threat would be the City of Derry airport. While the predicted maps show it will just survive being submerged by water, the new coastline will be right on its doorstep making it vulnerable to further land erosion should global temperatures continue to rise post-2030.
The Climate Central group, an independent body of leading scientists and researchers based in New Jersey, USA, has produced a series of maps on their website that show how the world as a whole would be affected if the current rate of global warming is not checked over the next nine years.
Derry falls in the category of land areas that are at risk with a number of areas close the River Foyle set to be totally submerged by water.
The Foyle, Peace and Craigavon bridges will be gone while areas such as the land close to the Waterside and Lakeview hospitals will be submerged.
The Waterside will more than live up to its name come 2030 as the train station will be gone. Even if it survived, it's purpose of rail travel will be made redundant with the majority of the Derry to Coleraine track being wiped out.
Water eroding the immediate areas on both sides of the Foyle river will force many residents and businesses to move out as current buildings there will no longer be around come 2030.
The maps from Climate Central show what Derry's landscape will look like in 2030 if the current rising in global temperatures is not checked. The areas in red show which parts of the city will be submerged in water due to rising sea levels. Images: Climate Central
The worldwide damage caused by rising seawater levels – which in turn have been manifested by rising global temperatures – has lead to many world leaders meeting in Glasgow this week at the COP26 conference to discuss what can be done to avoid this catastrophe and how quickly to implement these measures.
A mindful world public are determined to hold their governments to account on this and Saturday will see protest marches across the world in a global day of action.
Derry will be playing its part too with Cllr Shaun Harkin of People Before Profit being one of the main organisers.
He said: “We're very much part of the campaign to limit temperature rise across the world. There is a serious concern that it will be above the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Along with the COP26 Coalition, we're very much backing their demands for real zero (rise in temperature) rather than net zero (of reducing the current rate of temperature rise to below 1.5) and to reach that target much faster than most governments are planning.
“There are very local issues close to Derry here. For example, issues like rail expansion. We want to see it in Derry, the north west and across Ireland.
“But again, this is something that has been put on the 'long finger' with regards to Derry. The Derry to Coleraine rail upgrade was supposed to be finished this year but it will now not be done until 2027 at the earliest.
“With rail being one of the solutions to the climate crisis, that's a concern for us and we want that acted on much more quickly. We want to see tracks going down rather that promises.
“There is also an issue with Mobuoy dump – the biggest illegal toxic dump in Europe that's right on the edge of Derry.
“The Stormont Executive agreed to a public enquiry in 2014 as to how that happened but this enquiry has not happened. Nor has there been a plan to actually clean it up. The dump is still festering away there.
“Dalradian Gold's plans for the toxic mining of the Sperrins is very contentious and the BBC Spotlight programme that was one about this not long ago, highlighted what could be a real disaster for the Sperrins and that's of huge environmental importance.
“There are two different climate bills being debated in Stormont – and we welcome that because the North is one of the few places without a Climate Act. We also welcome that because the Executive has refused to create and support an independent environmental agency.
“However, both bills fall way short of what we believe is necessary. The DUP bill, we think, is basically an attempt to make sure that there's no serious effort at halting climate change. It is basically 'green-washing'.
“The other bill, from the Green Party – which we in the main welcome and support – has the goal of net zero being reached by 2045, we think, is not urgent or radical enough.
“So that's why we're backing the call from the COP26 Coalition. We have to have a goal for 2035 for real zero.”
Cllr Shaun Harkin of People Before Profit
Harkin insists that the global day of action protest is the people's way of ensuring that their government's are not let off the hook – especially in light of India trying to manoeuvre away from net zero by 2035 to a target of 2070 instead.
He added: “India's statement of them hopefully limiting temperature levels by 2070 was disappointing. How much confidence do people have that this gathering in Glasgow will produce an agreement with statements like that?
“Not to mention how much confidence they will have in big governments and the corporations attached to them to produce an agreement that they will follow through on.
“There was similar optimism following the Paris Agreement back in 2015. However, one of the reasons why there are going to be big protests around the world over the next two weeks and Saturday in particular, is because many of the agreements from Paris have not been followed through on.
“It's the same world leaders gathering again and I think people across the world are making the same appeal which is to act on the agreements that those leaders have previously agreed upon.
“When you see India saying 2070 is their target, it is disappointing and alarming and I hope there will be protests there from people to hold their government to account and push them towards a much earlier date for net zero.
“The problem right now that the COP26 Coalition has highlighted is that a lot of the net zero plans that governments have were actually not real because they do carbon trading and they set up these carbon markets that allow corporations to continue to pollute.
“That just re-enforces in people that they can't trust world leaders to take the type of radical and urgent action to bring about fundamental change.
“We'll be trying to put pressure on the Stormont Executive, the Daíl and Westminster for the big global demands but also for them to follow through on the big demands that fall upon this island.”
However, there are those who are still sceptical about whether or not global warming is really taking place. Harkin though insists that it is and that the evidence backs him up of the very real threat to the world from climate change.
He continued: “The debate about whether or not the planet is warming up is over. There is growing evidence that this is happening.
“There's more extreme weather that's hitting us here in Ireland and Europe. We've seen wildfires across California at an intensity that we've never really seen before.
“We've seen flash floods in central Europe with numbers of people dying – and all of that is in the most economically-developed countries.
“Then you see similar extreme weather across the world that's hitting the lesser-developed nations even further.
“We are now seeing the reality of a changing climate that is the result of a planet that's heating up.
“A 1.5 degrees Celsius rise is already too much and that's what we're already on target for. But there's so much happening across the world that we are more likely to be on course for a rise of 2.7 by the end of this century.
“This is why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has described this as a red alert for humanity.”
The Global Day of Action in Derry is on Saturday, November 6. The meeting point will be at Waterloo Place with stalls open from 1.30pm. The rally and march itself will begin at 2pm.
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