Profile image
By Human Wrongs Watch
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

How to Save Lives and Cut Climate Change by Protecting Peatlands

Friday, November 18, 2016 0:25
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Human Wrongs Watch

A new global initiative was launched on 17 November 2016 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22) under way in Marrakech, aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and save thousands of live by protecting peatlands – the largest terrestrial organic soil carbon stock.

Canals in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan Province, Indonesia, are hedged by dams to retain water for the regeneration of peat fields. UN Photo/Mark Garten

According to the UN environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Peatlands Initiative seeks mobilize governments, international organizations and academia in an effort to protect peatlands, which contain almost 100 times more carbon than tropical forests.

If global temperatures continue to rise, this could lead to thawing permafrost, switching boreal and Arctic peatlands from carbon sinks to sources, resulting in huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and potentially causing climate change to spiral out of control.

Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment stressed that despite the Paris Agreement, global temperatures will rise over 3 degrees Celsius this century. “This will cause misery and chaos for millions of vulnerable people, so we cannot afford to let any opportunity to reduce emissions slip by,” he added.

Mr. Solheim also urged taking action through the Global Peatlands Initiative, as it is “critical we do not reach the tipping point that will see peatlands stop sinking carbon and start spewing it into the atmosphere, destroying any hope we have of controlling climate change.”

UNEP said that peatlands are coming under increased threat from conversion for palm oil and pulp wood production, which may result in environmental problems such as enormous fires in Indonesia and Russia in recent years. In recent years, Indonesia has suffered from peat forest fires, resulting in greater emissions than the daily ones from the entire United States economy.


Climate Change affects Tajikistan mountain communities: In July 2015, the abnormal rise of temperature caused glacier melting and intense mudflows and floods in Barsem village, resulting in the entire village being flooded. Photo: OCHA/M. Sadvakassova

However, emission is not the only negative impact of peatland degradation. The 2015 peat fires in Indonesia may have indirectly killed up to 100,000 people through the toxic haze, in addition to causing $16.1 billion in economic damage, according to recent studies.

Therefore, with support from over a dozen partners, a UN Environment team launched the largest effort on peat so far, called the Global Peatlands Initiative, which aims to increase the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of peatlands in countries with significant peat deposits.

The initiative was launched at the Global Landscapes Forum, the leading side event of the UN’s COP22 climate change talks in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Global Peatlands Initiative was founded by the governments of Indonesia, Peru, the Republic of Congo, UNEP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, CIFOR, Wetlands International, UNEP-WCMC, GRID-Arendal, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, European Space Agency, WRI, Greifswald Mire Centre and StarVision/Sateligence. (Source: UN).

2016 Human Wrongs Watch


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global

Top Alternative



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.