Irish Peatlands central to a new EU-funded Climate Action Initiative

Mountlucas Bog Cotton (002)
Feb 02 2021 Posted: 09:30 GMT

NUI Galway is the leading academic partner for the EU LIFE Peatlands and People Project

The European Commission has announced the funding of €10million towards a project to highlight the power of peatlands to effect significant climate action wins. The EU LIFE Peatlands and People project is co-ordinated by Board na Móna, together with NUI Galway, with National Parks and Wildlife Service (of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage), the Environmental Protection Agency, and ERINN Innovation Ltd.

The Peatlands and People project is a major national initiative that will contribute to the long-term implementation of Irelands Climate Action Plan. The plan aims to engage people in Ireland and across the European Union with the benefits of peatlands restoration, in particular to realise the power of peatlands to effect positive climate action.

With additional co-financing from Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the project will work with peatlands in Ireland’s midlands and the communities around them to deliver capacity and support related to a low-carbon economy.

Dr Christine Domegan, who is leading Pillar 3 - People’s Attraction and Activities of the project, and Senior Lecturer and Head of the Applied Systems Thinking unit, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, said: “Most of us recognise that everyday life today is not the same as it was with climate change, the pandemic and so much more.  It is a world shaped increasingly by collective as well as individual choice, and by systems, social and behaviour change all rolled into one. In this emerging complex world, NUI Galway as the leading academic partner in Ireland’s EU LIFE Peatlands and People work, is already into a future of radical transformation. The call to action is to get on board now, be the Change Catalyst in your life, your family and your community to open the door to a new sustainable world for all.”

The project will establish:

  • A Peatlands knowledge Centre of Excellence in Ireland that will explore and carry out best practices in peatland restoration and rehabilitation and design methodologies to monitor and analyse carbon fluxes. Over time the peatlands are expected to store more carbon and also support multiple ecosystem service benefits.
  • A Just Transition Accelerator programme that will focus on low-carbon and circular economies to support the midlands region economically. It intends to provide a range of services for the development of new sustainable products, services, enterprises and value chains.
  • An immersive People’s Discovery Attraction in the midlands that will be designed to introduce the importance of climate action and peatlands to citizens. Its long-term aim is to progress with the establishment of an educational space that cultivates curiosity and climate literacy, providing a forum for dialogue and discovery.

Announcing the project, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD said: “Our peatlands are a precious resource in terms of storing carbon, restoring biodiversity and supporting local communities in new jobs taking care of our environment.  I am delighted to welcome another major project just months after we announced Government support for the rehabilitation of a huge tract of Bord na Móna peatlands. The Peatlands Centre of Excellence, Just Transition Accelerator, and the new Discovery Attraction supported by this EU LIFE project put the spotlight and investment where it should be, on Peatlands AND People.”


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