What needs to happen on peatlands now

The Berlin conference “Peatland protection is climate protection” showed it

29/03/2022 Wet peatlands are natural climate protection! The scientists from the Greifswald Mire Centre, together with practitioners and partners, showed this to 200 participants in Berlin and just as many viewers in the live stream at yesterday's conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection". Up to seven percent of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions can be saved by rewetting drained peatlands. It therefore represents one of the most effective measures for the “Natural Climate Protection” action program announced today by Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke. “We cannot allow more crises to accumulate. Wet peatlands are one of the most effective measures for natural climate protection and rewetting in Germany. That's why they play an important role in the new action program, which is estimated at 4 billion euros," said Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, at the conference. The expertise for this exists. Scientists from the Greifswald Mire Centre and partners have researched the climate impact of waterlogged areas and tested paludicultures together with farmers. Innovative entrepreneurs have developed regional and ecological products from it. Individual federal states have issued carbon certificates from rewetting. Now it's about implementing climate protection through peatland protection on a large scale, as the conference showed. For this to happen, political, administrative and financial framework conditions still need to be designed, say representatives from nature conservation, agriculture and companies. Prof. Dr. Kai Niebert, President of the German Nature Conservation Association, described the rewetting of the peatlands as a task for society as a whole with a similar dimension to the coal phase-out. When it comes to climate protection, the clock is five to twelve, but when it comes to biodiversity it has already expired. If you still want to ensure food security, you now have to think differently and have no choice when it comes to protecting peatlands. This must now be pushed forward decisively and together. Bernhard Krüsken, General Secretary of the German Farmers' Association, assessed the rewetting of the peatlands as a generational project, just as drainage was. It is important to take everyone along, to communicate honestly about the scope of the measures and to support them accordingly in the long term. You have to offer land users alternatives. Paludi PV, i.e. photovoltaics on rewetted peatland, could be a "collateral benefit".

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