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Presentation of first ever peatland emission data per country


Wetlands International and Greifswald University will present the first ever overview of peat carbon stocks and drainage related carbon dioxide emissions of all 170 peat-containing countries world wide at the UN climate talks (UN-FCCC) Barcelona on Wednesday 4 November. Splitting the global 550 Gigaton carbon storage and alarming 2 Gton annual CO2 emissions from peatlands to national levels, these new figures turn the official total emission figures of many countries upside down.

This is the first time ever that an overview per country is provided of the peat carbon stocks and carbon dioxide emissions caused by loss of the peat-soil carbon of these wetland ecosystems (figures 1990 and 2008). So far, figures were only available for some countries; with a rough estimate for the global situation.

This detailed work responds to a call by countries at previous UN climate talks for emission data caused by the Land Use Change and Forestry sector. This is crucial for the current negotiations on climate policies (REDD, LULUCF) to reduce these emissions.

Shocking figures

The report will present shocking figures for some countries. For these, peat emission figures are for instance larger than the total emissions so far officially reported. It also illustrates that specific countries contain incredible organic carbon stocks in the form of peat. Reclamation of the wetland areas of these countries would strongly influence global GHG emission figures.

Peatland emissions are currently unaddressed by the Kyoto Protocol. Wetlands International is advocating for a climate treaty that contains incentives to reduce emissions from peatlands through mandatory accounting in Annex 1 countries and through including (peat) soils in a future REDD scheme for non-Annex 1 countries.

How to obtain our report

On Wednesday 4 November at 10 am, a press summary with the main findings and the report will be presented to the press in Barcelona. Press not in Barcelona can on request receive a digital copy of the summary and report at the same time. Contact our Headquarters for this.


Press conference information:

Time and date: Wednesday 4 November 2009, 10am

Location: press conference room UNFCCC Climate talks, Barcelona 


For more information:

In Barcelona:

Susanna Tol

Tel: +31 619092641


At our headquarters:

Alex Kaat

+31 (0)6 5060 1917


Sources of information on peatlands and CO2 emissions:

Peatlands & CO2 Emissions

Research on Peat & CO2

Our work at the UN Climate Convention


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

Press contact

Communications and Advocacy Department