Declaration of biodiversity and climate emergency warmly welcomed


The Environmental Pillar warmly welcomes the Dáil’s declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency.

The surprise move makes Ireland only the second country to do so, following in the footsteps of the UK that last week recognised the crisis at our door.

The issue was raised during a debate on a motion to accept and endorse the recommendations of the new landmark climate report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action.

While a vote was due to be taken next Thursday, it was agreed to accept without vote an amendment to the motion from Fianna Fáil for the Dail to declare both a climate and biodiversity emergency.

Importantly, the accepted amendment also calls on the Citizens’ Assembly to examine how the State can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss.

The Pillar has backed calls for the state to declare an ecological emergency in recent months from the likes of the Extinction rebellion and the school strikes movement as the rate of biodiversity decline increases rapidly. 

On Monday, a UN-backed report found one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction and declining at rates unprecedented in human history. Additionally, a report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London released last October found that 60 percent of the world’s large animals had disappeared since the 1970s. 

Around one-third of Ireland’s 98 wild bee species are threatened with extinction, while recent findings show that over 60 per cent of the 202 species of commonly occurring birds in Ireland is now on the red and amber conservation lists. 

Over 90 per cent of 58 listed habitats in Ireland also have an ‘inadequate’ or ‘bad’ status and just over half of the 61 European protected species in Ireland have a ‘favourable’ conservation status.

Oisin Coghlan of the Environmental Pillar said this evening:
“This is the Dáil’s opportunity to rise the challenge climate change and represent the public’s increasing desire for urgent action.

 “Declaring a Climate Emergency is a rationale response to the threat level and our failure so far to stem the pollution poisoning our life support system on Earth, our only home. 

“Accepting and endorsing the report of the Joint Committee on Climate Action is a good first response to that emergency. 

Oonagh Duggan of the Environmental Pillar added: 

“It’s high time to put biodiversity loss centre stage.

We trust that the government will initiate the Citizen Assembly session as soon as possible to discuss solutions to the ecological crisis we are facing.  Biodiversity loss and climate change must be tackled together 

Andrew St Ledger of the Environmental Pillar added:
“The Environmental Pillar welcomes the Dail’s understanding of the serious concerns regarding the fragile nature of our natural world. Action must now follow, not least to change the current State forestry policy of clear-fell conifer plantations.

“The reality is we are actually headed for a deforestation scenario with poor planting rates combined with ongoing high harvesting rates. In this situation the current forestry model will not only be failing to mitigate against climate change, but it may also be making it worse.

“We hope that the Government takes up the committee’s call and seek to see the large Coillte public land bank transitioning to mixed native woodlands and real forests that ensure sustainable management of this vital natural resource for long-term climate mitigation and adaptation.


About the Environmental Pillar

The Pillar is a national social partner, comprising over 30 national environmental organisations.  It works to promote the protection and enhancement of the environment, together with the creation of a viable economy and a just society, without compromising the viability of the planet on which we live for current and future generations of all species and ecosystems.