Climate change drives up greenhouse-gas emissions from UK peatlands

Tue, 2007-09-04 10:36Bill Miller
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Climate change drives up greenhouse-gas emissions from UK peatlands

UK’s already depleted peatlands are suffering ever-increasing erosion and climate change, raising the likelihood vast quantities of carbon will be released into the atmosphere, scientists warned in a study presented to the Royal Geographical Society.

With proper conservation, the authors said, the peat bogs could actually help reduce CO2 emissions.

“Peatlands are areas where there is a high water table, and because of this you get low oxygen conditions within the saturated area that prevents organic materials from breaking down,” the paper's lead author said.

“If you take the current rate of carbon loss as a result of badly eroded areas and apply this across the whole of the UK's peatlands then you lose about 1.5 million tonnes of carbon each year - that's the worst-case scenario.”

Previous Comments

If peat stores carbon, does using peat as heating fuel contribute to CO2 levels in the atmosphere? And what about the production of Scotch whisky? I am ready to do my bit to combat global warming: drive less, convert to solar, even go vegetarian. But giving up my Laphroaig might be asking too much!

I know Bill has some very nice Islay's around the house. I wondering is he's willing to give them up??

It’s a tough one! Maybe I had better lay down a case or two of the good stuff against future shortages. I’ll let you know if I find a deal on Ardbeg in bulk.

I’m sure the distilling of fine Scotch will come under the category of conservation. Especially the Islay malts. Just think of the wind power sweeping over the peatlands!


As of January 26, the California Department of Water Resources reported that snowpack statewide was at just 27% of its normal level, which is 15% of the average for April 1, the point at which snow is typically expected to stop accumulating and begin to melt.

Which means, of course, that California is in for another dry year. Melting snowpack provides water to streams and rivers and replenishes reservoirs that are used for drinking water and agriculture.

In a cruel irony, a dry year...

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