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GHG mitigation of agricultural peatlands requires coherent policies

Journal article
Authors Kristiina Regina
Arif Budiman
Mogens H. Greve
Arne Gronlund
Åsa Kasimir
Heikki Lehtonen
Soren O. Petersen
Pete Smith
Henk Wösten
Published in Climate Policy
Volume 16
Issue 4
Pages 522-541
ISSN 1469-3062
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 522-541
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2015.10...
Keywords agriculture, GHG, land use, mitigation, peat, policies
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries, Other Social Sciences

Abstract

As soon as peat soil is drained for agricultural production, the peat starts to degrade, which causes emissions to the atmosphere. In countries with large peatland areas, the GHG mitigation potential related to management of these soils is often estimated as the highest amongst the measures available in agriculture. Although the facts are well known, the policies leading to diminished emissions are often difficult to implement.We have analysed the reasons why the mitigation potential is not fully utilized and what could be done better in national implementation of climate policies. Four cases are used to illustrate the necessary steps to reach mitigation targets: determining the amount and properties of peat soils, estimating the potential, costs and feasibility of the mitigation measures, and selecting and implementing the best measures. A common feature for all of the cases was that national and international climate policies have increased the public interest in GHG emissions from peat soils and increased the pressure for mitigation. Basically the same factors restrict the implementation of mitigation measures in all countries with significant peat soil areas. The most important of these is lack of policy coherence, e.g. ignoring climate policies when planning land use or agricultural policies. We conclude that GHG mitigation is achieved only if other policies, especially national regulations and strategies, are in line with climate policies.

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