11 Jan 2023, 12:16
Julian Wettengel

EU must restore 500,000 hectares of moorland per year for 1.5°C target – report

Clean Energy Wire

Germany must restore 50,000 hectares of moorland annually – and the whole of the EU 500,000 hectares – for the world to reach the Paris Agreement target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, according to the 2023 Moorland Atlas by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), and the Michael Succow Foundation . The organisations called on governments to set financial incentives to reach this target. “A rethink on how to deal with peatlands must take place in society as a whole, and the economy should also recognise the potentials,” said Jan Peters, managing director of the Michael Succow Foundation. “Climate services from wet agriculture on peatlands or innovative products of 'wet biomass' must be recognised and given attractive financial support,” he added.

Peat soils, which cover about 4 percent of Germany, are the country’s largest terrestrial carbon reservoir, storing between 1,300 and 2,400 million tonnes of carbon. A growing moorland takes up CO2 from the air and releases methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas. Yet overall, natural moors are largely climate neutral. However, if they are drained, oxygen enters the peat which leads to the release of CO2. Ninety-five percent of Germany’s moor soils are drained, mainly for agriculture (50% grassland, 25-30% fields) and forestry (13%). Drained moorland is responsible for 37 percent of greenhouse gases in German agriculture, according to the report. The German government in November 2022 presented its moorland strategy, which aims to better reconcile the natural carbon sinks with land use for agriculture and other purposes, including renewable power generation.

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