Wetlands International in cooperation with Greifswald University has presented the first ever overview of peatland emissions and peat stocks per country. The overview presented today turns the official emission figures of many countries upside down.
Large areas of organic wetland (peat) soils are currently drained for agriculture, forestry and peat extraction, As a result, the organic carbon that was built up over thousands of years is exposed to the air, decomposes and turns into the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. This process is taking place all over the world. In tropical regions, the decomposition process goes more rapidly than in colder regions while in the latter (Russia, Canada) most peat is found.
Some remarkable findings:
Read the report with all data per country and rankings with the largest emitters, largest carbon stocks and most extensive peatland.
More information on: www.wetlands.org/peatclimate.
Tel. +31 0(6) 5060 1917
Top 5 countries: largest peat carbon emissions
(fires and peat mining excluded; million ton CO2, 2008)
United States of America
Total fossil fuel (’06)
Top 5 countries: largest peat-carbon stocks (million ton C, 2008)
Papua New Guinea
Top 5 countries: largest relative contribution of peat emissions to the national emissios (peat carbon dioxide emissions as % of fossil fuel emissions, 2008)
Read also in French:
La perte des zones humides est la cause majeure de l’émission des gaz à effet de serre en Afrique
The report ‘The Global Peatland CO2 Picture’ of Wetlands International is the result of many years of work of a network of scientists, coordinated by the University of Greifswald. The report provides for all countries of the world the first ever overview on peatlands and their status, carbon stocks and carbon emissions.
Until recently, little was known about peatlands, their carbon stocks and their emissions. Developing countries have not very strict reporting duties for UNFCCC and understandably hardly report these emissions.
Developed (Annex 1) countries do need to report emissions for different land use categories including also soil carbon losses. A recent study learns, however, that the quality of these reports varies largely. Incorrect emission figures partly result from too low default values for emissions from drained peatlands as handled by the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) since the 1990s.
The release of the Global Peatland CO2 Picture at the Barcelona Climate Talks (Nov. 2009) was covered by:
AFP: Asia peatland loss 'helps drive warming': scientists
Reuters: Study finds vital peatlands neglected & Study Suggests Peat CO2 Credits More Valuable
Bloomberg: Indonesia Leads in Emitting CO2 From Peat
The Economist: For peat's sake, stop
ANP (Dutch): CO2-uitstoot opdrogend moeras onderschat
The Irish Times: Study focuses on key role of peat bogs
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