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Over 10% of global CO2 emissions from peatlands


Results from the first comprehensive global assessment on the links between peatland degradation and climate change presented today show that clearance, drainage and fires in peatlands emit more than 3 billion tones of carbon dioxide every year, equivalent to 10% of global emissions from fossil fuels. Protection and restoration of peatlands are among the most cost- effective options for climate change mitigation. 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) together with the Global Environment Centre (GEC) and Wetlands International today called for the international community to take urgent action on to protect and restore peatlands.

Peatlands are wetland ecosystems which accumulate plant material under saturated conditions to form layers of peat soil are up to 20m thick. Peatlands occur in 180 countries and cover 400 million ha or 3% of the world’s surface. Peatlands are the most efficient terrestrial ecosystems in storing carbon – storing up to 10 times more carbon/hectare than other ecosystems in the same region and twice as much carbon as the biomass of the world’s forests.

Climate change impacts are already visible through the melting of permafrost peatlands and desertification of steppe peatlands. In the future, impacts of climate change on peatlands are predicted to significantly increase. Coastal, tropical and mountain peatlands are all expected to be particularly vulnerable.

The Assessment on Peatlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change was initiated by the project on Integrated Management of Peatlands for Biodiversity and Climate Change implemented by Wetlands International and the Global Environment Centre with the support of UNEP-GEF, the governments of the participating pilot countries (China, Indonesia and the Russian Federation) and regions (ASEAN); as well as the Dutch and Canadian governments and a range of other organisations including APN).

You can download the report (in 4 parts) on the right side of this page.

Presentation of the assessment:
Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 16.00, Auditorium, Bali International Convention Centre (BICC), Nusa Dua, Bali.
-Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)
-Marcel Silvius, Programme Manager of Wetlands International
-Parish - Director of Global Environment Centre

More information (in Bali):
Wetlands International, Alex Kaat
+62 (0) 813 18 28 18 93

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