In this context, Wetlands International remains focused on the issue of peatlands and of their potential contribution to climate change mitigation efforts. Even though they cover only 0.3% of the Earth’s surface, degrading peatlands account for roughly 6% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions – making them a hotspot for emissions and opening up cost-effective opportunities for mitigation action. In addition, we will continue to advocate the importance of conserving and rehabilitating wetlands for climate change adaptation.
What is at stake for wetlands?
A key mechanism to curb the emissions from peatlands relates to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+). Wetlands International focuses on ensuring that the monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) systems take organic soils into account, so that the disproportionate emissions from peatlands are not ignored when calculating the carbon emissions from forests. We also advocate addressing the drivers of deforestation and of forest and peatland degradation at source – for instance, by improving the sustainability of products such as palm oil or pulp wood.
REDD+ cannot succeed unless a stringent set of environmental and social safeguards are implemented. Wetlands International contributed to a briefing paper on REDD+ safeguards and access to results-based finance.
High Carbon ecosystems
Most wetlands are extremely carbon-rich ecosystems – meaning that they are extremely valuable as carbon sinks and stores, but also that they contribute significantly to global emissions when degraded.
Wetlands International and the Russian Federation are organising a side event to highlight the value of three such high carbon ecosystems: steppe, peatlands and tundra. The side event will take place on Wednesday the 13th of November from 13.15 to 14.45 in Room Wroclaw (download the flyer).
Land use, land use change and forestry
Wetlands International is also working on reducing emissions from peatlands in developed countries. We made a submission suggesting that avoidance of drainage and wetland rewetting be added as new activities under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This would allow developed countries to collect carbon credits by funding mitigation actions in developing country peatland areas.
A workshop wil take place on the 12th of November to discuss how agricultural systems can adapt to climate change while maintaining their key function of ensuring food security and sustainable development. We made a submission outlining the urgent need to adapt agricultural practices in tropical peat landscapes to avoid subsidence and decrease CO2 emissions.
Wetlands are key ecosystems for climate change adaptation. We advocate ecosystem-based solutions to adaptation, which deliver additional ecosystem services and are often more cost-effective than conventional, engineered "solutions" to climate change impacts.
Wetlands International is one of the partners of the IMPACT2C project, which will be presented in a side event on Monday the 11th of November from 10.30 to 12.30 in the EU Pavillion (Brussels Room, 1st Floor – Zone D2). Download the flyer.
Wetlands International has been present at the climate meetings since 2005. We have developed reports on the importance of carbon rich wetlands for climate change mitigation, organised lectures, spoke to countless governments and other organisations and improved the knowledge on wetlands. See our work on peatlands and carbon dioxide emissions and our work on climate change adaptation: wetlands for reducing disaster risks and mangroves for coastal resilience.
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