What must happen now on peatlands!
Conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection"
29/3/2022 Wet peatlands are natural climate protection! That’s what scientists of the Greifswald Mire Centre together with practitioners and partners clearly stated at yesterday's conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection" in front of 200 participants in Berlin and just as many viewers in the livestream. 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 programme announced today by Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.
"More crises must not be allowed to accumulate. Wet peatlands are natural climate protection and therefore rewetting is one of the most effective measures for it in Germany. That is why they play an important role in the new action programme budgeted at 4 billion Euros," said Federal Minister Lemke at the conference.
The expertise exists. Scientists of the Greifswald Mire Centre and partners have researched the climate impact of wetlands and tested paludiculture together with farmers. Innovative entrepreneurs have developed regional and ecological products from it. Individual German states have issued carbon certificates from rewetting. Now it is a matter of implementing climate protection through peatland conservation large scale, as the conference showed. Representatives from nature conservation, agriculture and companies agree that political, administrative and financial framework conditions still need to be created.
Prof. Dr. Kai Niebert, President of the German Nature Conservation Circle, described the rewetting of peatlands as a task for society as a whole, similar in dimension to the coal phase-out. In terms of climate protection, the clock showed five to twelve, while in terms of biodiversity it has already run out, he stated. If we still wanted to ensure food security, we now had to think differently and had no choice when it comes to peatland protection, Niebert said. This now be driven forward decisively and jointly.
Bernhard Krüsken, Secretary General of the German Farmers' Association, considered the rewetting of peatlands to be a generational project, just as drainage had been. He thought it important to involve everyone, to communicate honestly about the scope of the measures and to promote them in the long term. Land users must be offered alternatives and Paludi-PV, i.e. photovoltaics on rewetted moorland, could be a 'collateral benefit', Krüsken said.