Cllr. Dr Stuart Anderson
This event follows on from the Irish Sea Maritime Forum’s 3rd Annual Conference in Liverpool last July, where it was resolved to hold the next event in North Wales.
But without resources from the ISMF this year’s event has depended entirely on finding other sponsors, especially the MAREN2 EU Interreg Project. Conwy CBC must also be thanked for making Eirias such a wonderfully apt venue.
Traditional regional treasures such as Snowdonia and Llandudno still feature in the pre-conference site visit and dinner. Alongside my closest supporter and helper Barry Griffiths I must thank an army of others, too numerous to single out, to whose kindness the best tribute is to say that by coming to IS 2050, you – perhaps from another border of our ancient, shared Celtic Sea – will see exactly what I mean!
This year’s conference is a Future Scenarios Event – i.e. setting a direction of travel by first identifying the destination. This means asking speakers and delegates to imagine they’ve already successfully arrived at the year 2050 – the year by which UK and Irish Governments are signed up to have achieved 80% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Without a global transition to clean energy no amount of marine spatial planning can save us from coastal and marine ecological disaster. The strategic urgency can be gauged from James Lovelock’s warning in The Revenge of Gaia that ‘the immediate need is for secure and reliable sources of energy to keep the light of civilization burning and in the preparation of our sea defences against rising sea levels’. Tidal range schemes around the Irish Sea could greatly help to address both horns of this dilemma, making strategic study vital. A report on IRISH SEA 2050 will therefore be our main priority this year. At Eirias I’m especially glad of the space to welcome sixth-formers, whose expected working life extends even beyond 2050.