The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) welcomes the prominence of nature in the latest draft of the COP text which appeared in Glasgow today (November 12th). The draft acknowledges in its preamble the “interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and the critical role of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems in delivering benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards”.
The extinction crisis and the potential for global ecosystem collapse cannot be separated from the climate emergency and requires a global, national and local response which acknowledges the intrinsic value of nature and biodiversity. For the first time, the draft text also places emphasis on the role of the ocean in a stable earth system and calls for a strengthening of “ocean-based action” that can help to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
The IWT, which has been attending COP26, has noted the repeated theme that nature and climate are inseparable: while nature itself is at tremendous risk from rising temperatures, achieving the reductions in greenhouse gases needed to stay within 1.5 degrees of warming cannot be achieved without the protection and restoration of biodiversity.
IWT Campaign Officer, Pádraic Fogarty, says “It’s very welcome that finally we are seeing that the fate of humanity and that of the non-human world cannot be separated from each other. We simply cannot stabilise living conditions for people while continuing to destroy the natural systems upon which we depend. These include oceans, peatlands, forests and rivers and Ireland has an urgent task ahead to address the degradation of these ecosystems in our territorial area.”
The IWT is urging the government to support the global aim of protecting at least 30% of Ireland’s land area by 2030, to bring forth legislation for the creation and management of marine protected areas without delay, to stop the loss of protected peatlands and to increase ambition in restoring degraded peatlands, and to ensure that forthcoming agriculture and forestry plans are grounded in ecosystem restoration. The IWT also calls for immediate and rapid decarbonisation of our economy upon principles of climate justice as fundamental elements of achieving a safe living space for all of life on earth.