Why peatlands matter in the battle against climate change

This article discusses the impact peat lands have on climate change. Living peatlands sequester carbon-dioxide, drawing it down from the atmosphere through plants and trapping it underground as carbon.

Hans Joosten talks about raising the profile of peatlands in the climate-change crisis with the authority of an internationally respected scientist, the passion of an evangelical preacher – and a wicked sense of humour.

He is trenchant about the cost, in human lives, livelihoods and biodiversity, of our mismanagement of peatlands. But he is still confident – or at least determinedly optimistic – that reformed management of these ecosystems could make a key contribution to fulfilling the aspirations of the Paris climate agreement.

He is a partner in the Mire Centre at Greifswald University, Germany; one of the world’s leading institutions in the peatlands field. He was a key participant in the UN IPCC research that paved the way to the Paris accord. He describes the treaty, despite its subsequent rejection by pivotal figures like presidents Trump and Bolsonaro (Brazil), as “a marvellous example of global governance…the best sign of global hope that we have had in the history of humankind”

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