Essential but long overlooked Peatlands are the superheroes of ecosystems: purifying water, sometimes mitigating flooding and providing a home for rare species. And they beat nearly every system when it comes to carbon storage. Known peatlands only cover about 3% of the world’s land surface, but store at least twice as much carbon as all of Earth’s standing forests. In addition, at least one-third of the world’s organic soil carbon, which plays a vital role in mitigating climate change and stabilizing the carbon cycle, is in peatlands.
To our west in Ireland lies a vast concentration of peatland and the harvesting of peat by both Bord na mona and others is in sharp focus.
Friends of the Irish Environment are in the Courts at the moment challenging new peat regulations exempting industrial-scale extraction from the need for planning permission. It’s a sign of an increasing willingness by environmental bodes to use the law in the climate fight:
In Ireland Bord na Móna has an extensive railway network, which it claimed has carried up to 5 million tonnes annually, and is said to be larger than the main network (passenger and freight) operated by Iarnród Éireann. Bord na Móna has one of the largest industrial railways in Europe. Permanent railways run from a hundred peat bogs, each covering hundreds of acres, to power stations, briquette factories, moss peat factories etc.
Bernard Moffatt, Assistant General Secretary Celtic League