There is a strong link between biodiversity and climate change: climate change is one of the causes of biodiversity loss since many species cannot adapt to changing temperatures by moving across our highly modified landscapes. At the same time, biodiversity loss will exacerbate the impacts of climate change by taking away the means with which we humans can adapt to a changing climate. For instance, the devastating floods of November 2009 were partly the result of changing land use in the past 100 years. With many of our wetlands drained and bogs stripped, large volumes of water have few places to go. Land and marine ecosystems currently absorb around half of human-caused CO2 emissions, therefore the carbon capture and storage capacity of oceans, forests, grasslands, wetlands and in particular peatlands is essential for lessening the impacts of climate change.
The continuing loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems weakens their ability to provide buffering against floods. Degradation or destruction of ecosystems can lead to the release of significant amounts of greenhouse gases e.g. turf cutting. Globally, degraded peatlands contribute to 10% of human emissions; deforestation and degradation contribute 23% (EU WG 2009).
The IWT is calling on the government to enact Climate Change legislation without delay. This must set clear, legally-binding targets that will move our economy away from imported fossil fuels and towards a low carbon society.
For further information on the Irish Wildlife Trust’s policy regarding Wind Energy and Wind Farms, please see our 2014 policy statement: