Carbon credits and ecosystem services
A new white paper on Carbon Credits and Ecosystem Services jointly launched by the EU Carbon-Connects & Care-Peat projects at the A3CA webinar ‘Sustainable Farming for Peatlands’, has found that with the right framework in place it should be possible to finance the restoration of damaged peatlands, significantly reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and provide a good living for farmers all at the same time.
“Right at the start of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 and following on from the hugely successful Peatland Pavilion at COP26 two key EU Peatland Projects Carbon Connects and Care Peat have joined forces to develop a White Paper entitled TOWARDS A CARBON CREDIT & BLUE CREDIT SCHEME FOR PEATLANDS”, said Niall Ó Brolcháin of NUI Galway, the policy lead of the EU Care Peat project involving 5 European countries (IE UK NL BE FR).
The paper includes an analysis of a number of existing Peatland Carbon Credit schemes and accreditation standards and explores the potential of using Carbon Credits and other Ecosystem services to fund Peatland Restoration across Europe on a very large scale.
According to Valentina Sechi of Carbon Connects and Van Hall Larenstein University in the Netherlands, “The launch of this White Paper should provide a much-needed boost for peatland restoration in the EU where degraded Peatlands contribute more than 5% of all Greenhouse Gas emissions. Carbon Credits combined with payment for other Ecosystem Services can potentially provide farmers and other landowners with a good source of income from Peatland restoration projects. However, we have to take into account, the so-called paradox of additionality which can effectively reward bad environmental practice instead of good practice”.
The White Paper compares incomes from various types of farming common on peatlands across Europe with potential incomes from the sale of Carbon Credits and Ecosystem Services such as water storage and water purification.
Niall Ó Brolcháin concluded, “Many people are looking for ways that we can significantly reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions quickly, cheaply and easily. Peatland restoration has the potential to reduce emissions across Europe by up to 5%. This is a project that we can all get behind and I see no reason why farmers, landowners and rural communities shouldn’t benefit significantly from it”.
Conclusions of the White Paper
- Current farming systems do not effectively support sustainable farming in Europe and they are heavily dependent on subsidies.
- Examples show that the sale of Peatland Carbon Credits is feasible if the right framework is put in place.
- International accreditation standards are too expensive for small peatland projects so an easy and cheap system is needed. Examples show that a site type methodology using proxy measurements may be highly effective.
- An integrated framework for Carbon Credits + Ecosystem Services is needed.
- Provision of subsidies for peatland restoration and maintenance is required while subsidies exist for other activities.