'Something Donald Trump would say': Extinction Rebellion protest following Varadkar comments on climate change positives

'Something Donald Trump would say': Extinction Rebellion protest following Varadkar comments on climate change positives
Members of Extinction Rebellion responding to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s comments that climate change will have positive effects. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Protesters wearing shorts and bikinis have protested in the rain outside the Dáil to highlight their opposition to Leo Varadkar's comments on climate change.

The Taoiseach said last week that there were some positives to climate change.

Mr Varadkar said warmer winters, lower heating bills and fewer homeless deaths could be brought around because of a warmer climate.

He has been criticised by opposition parties for the remarks - with People Before Profit calling the Taoiseach a climate denier.

"The Taoiseach and his government continue to deny climate change, that's basically what they are doing," said Bríd Smith.

"They are in climate change denial and unfortunately the opposition parties have said 'do something about this, this is serious'."

This afternoon Extinction Rebellion protesters gathered outside the Dáil.

"I'm dressed in sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt, flip flops and shorts just in response to Leo Varadkar's comments that we will have a warmer winter ahead of us," said one protestor.

Another man said Mr Varadkar's comments were "ridiculous" and said that it showed how little the Taoiseach understands about climate change.

One woman called his comments ignorant and unexpected saying that it was something you would expect to hear from US president Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, a climate change expert is warning that it is only a matter of time before a major storm surge will cause devastating flooding in Dublin.

Professor Peter Thorne from Maynooth University said that it could happen at any time, forcing water over the banks of the River Liffey.

"You would have a lot of water coming into Dublin from the sea, a lot of water coming into Dublin from upstream and those would meet and the only way the water could go is sideways," said Dr Thorne.

He says it would submerge buildings from Dublin Port to the Guinness Brewery but also cause flooding along the coast from south Dublin to Clontarf in the north costing billions to repair.

"Even once you have removed the water, you have got damp buildings so the impact would last months to years," said Dr Thorne.

In Clontarf, residents successfully argued to have a new sea wall lowered but Professor Thorne says locals won’t be able to hold back the water when it comes.

"The reality is that Clontarf is at ever-increasing risk of flooding.

"The sea level is rising. We have dodged bullets but we can only dodge bullets for so long."

Dr Thorne says retreating large towns and cities is something future generations will have to seriously consider.

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