The ‘Green Scene’ Series on Newstalk is a weekly update on energy and environmental matters with Pat Kenny and MaREI Director Brian Ó Gallachóir.
On December 9, 2020 Prof Ó Gallachóir looked at what can peat do for our Environment?
What can peat do for our Environment?
- All green plants absorb (take in) carbon dioxide when they’re growing through photosynthesis
- When plants on peat bogs they, their carbon is absorbed into the peat and locked in
- Irish peat lands hold 64%of the countries soil’s organic carbon.
- As we dig it up, drain the water, overgraze, etc. air gets in the plants decompose and carbon is released
- The result is that our bogs are now releasing more emissions than they are absorbing.
- The unique and particular peatland biodiversity is also lost
- We can restore peatlands by blocking drains, remove oxidised peat and rake over or cover exposed peat.
- Conserving existing peatlands and restoring damaged bogs is a key part of climate action
- Recent announcement for restoring peatlands in the midlands is significant 80,000 acres– 350 Bord na Móna staff.
- This initiative will keep the stored carbon in the ground, and absorb about 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050
Pope connecting responses to COVID-19 to responses to climate change
- Pope Francis wrote a timely opinion piece in last Thursday’s New York Times
- He reflected on the COVID-19 pandemic, and our responses to it, to what’s needed to tackle climate change, adding his voice to ‘rethink our priorities’
- He questions how will we deal with the hidden pandemicsof this world, the pandemics of hunger and violence and climate change?
- The pandemic challenges us, and provides us with an opportunity to dream big, to rethink our priorities— what we value, what we want, what we seek
- Echoing our own President Michael D. Higgins, the Pope states that we cannot return to the false securities of the political and economic systemswe had before the crisis
- Questioning and challenging conventional politics and economicsis an emerging area of research in how to tackle climate change, adding to ongoing technology focussed research.
- The Pope also alludes to the need for a just and inclusive transitionto a low carbon future – We need a politics that can integrate and dialogue with the poor, the excluded and the vulnerable …
- In closing, he highlights that solidarity is a solid foundation on which we can build a better, different, human future
The REthink Energy series featuring Green Scene is supported by ESB and The Institute of International and European Affairs