What can peat do for our Environment?

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?

Listen here.

What can peat do for our Environment?

  1. All green plants absorb (take in) carbon dioxide when they’re growing through photosynthesis
  2. When plants on peat bogs they, their carbon is absorbed into the peat and locked in
  3. Irish peat lands hold 64%of the countries soil’s organic carbon.
  4. As we dig it up, drain the water, overgraze, etc. air gets in the plants decompose and carbon is released
  5. The result is that our bogs are now releasing more emissions than they are absorbing.
  6. The unique and particular peatland biodiversity is also lost
  7. We can restore peatlands by blocking drains, remove oxidised peat and rake over or cover exposed peat.
  8. Conserving existing peatlands and restoring damaged bogs is a key part of climate action
  9. Recent announcement for restoring peatlands in the midlands is significant 80,000 acres– 350 Bord na Móna staff.
  10. 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

  1. Pope Francis wrote a timely opinion piece in last Thursday’s New York Times
  2. 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’
  3. He questions how will we deal with the hidden pandemicsof this world, the pandemics of hunger and violence and climate change?
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Questioning and challenging conventional politics and economicsis an emerging area of research in how to tackle climate change, adding to ongoing technology focussed research.
  7. 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 …
  8. 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


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