What it's about:
Peatlands store over 500 gigatonnes of carbon in the northern hemisphere alone. They cover just 3 percent of the world’s land surface, but contain twice as much carbon as the entire biomass of the world’s forests. If they are drained or burned, that carbon is released as greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
Peatlands are made up of partially decayed plant material, accumulated under water-logged conditions over long periods of time. Peat is burned as fuel, and is highly prized as agricultural land when drained.
Carbon Connects intends to tackle this issue by running pilot studies, re-wetting peatlands in various northwestern European countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK, building on research done in Estonia and Indonesia.
This is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 250-500 tonnes per year, in its pilot stage.
Re-wetting the peatlands won’t only significantly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) but it can also present new business opportunities; farmers can grow crops such as reeds, cat tails or cranberries that will remove CO2, already in the atmosphere.
These plants can then be processed to create sustainable construction materials, fuel sources or food. Through this, Carbon Connects will offer notable financial incentives to farmers, aside from government subsidies.
Why it's noteworthy:
Peatlands are naturally occurring but it's human intervention that's causing emissions. Re-wetting them could create new businesses as well as reducing carbon emissions and make areas more resilient as land could be used as flood plains.
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