Climate change drives up greenhouse-gas emissions from UK peatlands

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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.”

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