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Battle of the bogs: Farmers and EU face off over Ireland’s largest carbon store

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Grist or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Irish farmers and the EU are at odds over turf cutting, a traditional practice that threatens Ireland's carbon-rich peat bogs
• The EU aims to protect these bogs, vital carbon stores, while farmers like Stephen Gavin rely on peat for heating their homes
• Despite conservation efforts, turf cutting persists, leading to legal actions by the EU against Ireland

🔭 The context: Peat cutting has been a staple in Ireland for centuries, providing a crucial fuel source. However, EU regulations under the Habitats Directive mandate the protection of these bogs due to their environmental importance
• The Irish government banned commercial turf sales in 2022 but still allows personal use for those with historical rights

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Peatlands store twice as much carbon as all global forests combined, making their preservation critical for climate goals
• The destruction of these bogs releases significant amounts of carbon, undermining efforts to mitigate climate change
• Restoration of these bogs is essential for biodiversity and carbon sequestration

⏭️ What's next: The EU's legal action against Ireland may push for stricter enforcement of conservation measures
• Ireland is attempting to balance tradition with environmental obligations, offering financial incentives to farmers for reducing turf cutting
• The future of turf cutting in Ireland remains uncertain as climate policies tighten

💬 One quote: "The habitats directive requires member states to protect their most precious natural habitats, but where does the Irish citizen fit in?" — Sean Canney, Irish Independent politician and former minister of state

📈 One stat: Each acre of drained bog releases nearly one ton of carbon annually, equivalent to driving a car over 9,000 miles

Click for more news covering the latest on carbon

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