Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said it is "deeply disappointing" that Russia vetoed a joint resolution from Ireland and Niger which would have ensured that the threat posed by climate change was added to the United Nations Security Council's routine agenda.
On Twitter, Minister Coveney said it had been an "incredible achievement" by the Irish team on the Security Council to get 113 UN members to co-sponsor the resolution on climate.
However he added: "Deeply disappointing that Russia decided to vote against & therefore veto a historic resolution being agreed."
Russia is one of five countries with the power to veto resolutions, along with fellow permanent council members China, France, the United States and UK.
It was the latest in a series of Russian vetoes at the Security Council, on issues ranging from Ethiopia and Libya, to Sudan and the Central African Republic.
India also opposed the plan while China abstained, meaning the text won support from 12 of the council's 15 members.
The draft resolution called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to "integrate climate-related security risk as a central component into comprehensive conflict-prevention strategies."
One country decided to veto a resolution, co-sponsored by 113 UN members, on Climate & Security at UNSC today.— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) December 13, 2021
A historic opportunity to recognise Climate Change as contributing to conflict has been vetoed for now, but the consensus of international opinion is more than clear! https://t.co/ZzJpHoLaPC
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that although the decision "is disappointing, the process confirms that the majority of UN member states believe the Council should factor the security risks of climate change into its decision-making."
The department added: "The question of the security implications of climate change will not go away. Recent analysis could not be more clear: the adverse effects of climate change are only going to worsen, contributing to insecurity and exacerbating conflict. It is telling that 80% of UN peacekeepers are deployed in countries that are the most exposed to climate change".
The Irish Mission to the UN said it regretted the use of the veto to prevent adoption of the proposal, adding that it remains vital that the Security Council understands climate related security risks.
"The veto is an outdated tool, for what we think is an outdated perspective," the Irish mission tweeted.
Niger's UN envoy Abdou Abarry called opposition to the draft "short-sighted."
The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said there was "no justification" for the Russian veto.
"The climate crisis is a security crisis," she said.
During an address to the UN Security Council in September, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "A concerted multilateral response to climate change involving all the organs of the United Nations is urgently needed. That response must include this council. The impact of climate change is global and our collective security is at risk."
However, the Russian opposition to the measure was clear at the same meeting.
The country's representative said: "I will be frank, we believe that the insistent and persistent attempts to, at all costs, advance at the Security Council agenda the premise of climate change as a threat to international peace and security introduces a completely unnecessary political component to an already complicated and sensitive discussion."
Additional reporting Brian O'Donovan, AFP