Germany supports peatland protection

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Germany has committed just under €2 million in funding from the Federal Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative for peatland protection.

Global action to support the sustainable management and protection of peatland is underway and Germany has announced its support for the Global Peatlands Initiative.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: “Peatland protection is an essential and basic component of climate action in many parts of the world. At the same time, it is important to re-wet peat bogs in a way that prevents the release of emissions while still allowing agricultural uses. We are currently working on a national peatland protection and conservation strategy that will help us tap the climate action potential of peatlands in Germany. In addition, we want to help disseminate knowledge of peatlands around the world to allow different countries to learn from each other.”

Why is peatland protection so important?

Peatlands are essentially a natural solution to climate change. They are a unique form of wetlands that cover approximately 3% of our planets land and store around 30% of all land-based carbon, making them the most effective carbon sink on Earth.

Despite the ability to hold more carbon than is in any of the forests around the world, they are being exploited and destroyed, resulting in a role-reversal situation; peatlands are being transformed from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

Peatlands are now in danger as they are being drained and burned for agriculture, which in turn is releasing all of the stored carbon into the atmosphere. The release of the carbon from burning peatland actually equates to 10% of all annual fossil fuel emissions.

Global Peatlands Initiative

The Global Peatlands Initiative brings together leading experts and institutions passionate about protecting the world’s peatlands. UN Environment is the lead co-ordinator of the initiative and aims to bring together countries and partners to save peat bogs as the world’s largest terrestrial carbon sink, thus preventing the unnecessary release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Dianna Kopansky, UN Environment’s Global Peatlands Co-ordinator says: “For the world to keep the global average temperature increase under two degrees Celsius then peatlands must gain our attention – locally and globally. Urgent action must be taken everywhere, especially in the tropics to keep the carbon locked in peatlands where it is – wet, and in the ground,”

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