The Environmental Pillar demands Coillte stop using Hazardous Pesticides in Irish Forests.

The Environmental Pillar which represents 28 national independent environmental non-governmental organisations is demanding that Coillte stop using the pesticide Cypermethrin in Irish forests. The pesticide Cypermethrin is designed to protect non-native spruce and pine trees from weevil attacks. Coillte has used it to pre-treat plants in the controlled environment of nurseries since early 2007 and to dip young plants. The chemical is also sprayed on the land in an effort to control the impact of the pine weevil. Coillte has used Cypermethrin operationally since 2007 and over that period has applied over 100,000 litres of the chemical.  The company Coillte plans to continue to use this chemical for the next five years.

Cypermethrin is a fast acting neurotoxin in insects.  As it is a pesticide, it kills beneficial insects and animals (like birds, bees and fish) as well as the targeted ones.  The Environment Pillar says that this has a major adverse impact on our biodiversity as using this pesticide in our forests furthers the pressures on pollinators like bees to survive.  The group says that the survival of these pollinators is vital for the continuation of our food production. The US EPA has also classified Cypermethrin as a group C carcinogen, so not only are we harming the environment by using this chemical, we could also be directly harming ourselves.  The Environmental Pillar representatives say that Coillte should change over to a natural forest model in which mainly native tree species are grown. The successful growing of native trees is not dependent on the application of hazardous chemicals like Cypermethrin.

Climate Scientist Criticises Meteorologist for “Misrepresenting” IPCC Climate Reports

A recent article by Irish meteorologist Professor Ray Bates claimed that “increased uncertainty” in recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports on the likely course of future climate change means that Ireland need not take steps to urgently reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, Prof. Bates argued that we should prioritise protection of our own, Irish, economic interests. The supposed scientific basis for Prof. Bates’s argument has now been criticised by Ireland’s leading climatologist, Professor John Sweeney (Professor Emeritus at Maynooth University, former Director of the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Unit, and a full IPCC contributing author).

In his critique, Prof. Sweeney states that the article by Prof. Bates contained numerous “scientific inaccuracies” and he goes on to detail how the article appears to engage in clear “cherry picking” and systematic misrepresention of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report “to suit Prof. Bates’s own arguments”. Prof. Sweeney affirms the unambiguous scientific consensus that far from slowing or stopping, the overall warming of the Earth is continuing, and indeed accelerating, and this is unequivocally associated with human activities. He goes on to say that it’s absolutely valid to describe the problem of climate change as a “planetary emergency”. He concludes by highlighting the need to view climate action in a context of global climate justice, and he firmly rejects narrow ‘national interest’ as a message Ireland should wish to send the world on this issue. Prof  Sweeney’s remarks were endorsed by Barry McMullin, Chair of the An Taisce Climate Committee.

Meanwhile President Michael D Higgins this week addressed the European Economic, Social and Environmental Council’s climate change seminar in Paris. The conference focused on the involvement of citizens, with President Higgins saying the role of each citizen will be “decisive in reaching the ambitious agreement mankind needs”.