Irish researchers to discuss 'rich store of history' in peatlands at Cop26

Irish researchers to discuss 'rich store of history' in peatlands at Cop26

Irish universities continue to have a major presence at the UN climate change summit in Glasgow, as the Cop26 conference drills down into the science in week two.

Largely gone from the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) are the world leaders — former US president Barack Obama appeared today — as well as government ministers and civil servants from around the world.

The likes of University College Cork, Dublin City University, and NUI Galway are in the thick of research and policy in Glasgow.

UCC archaeologist Dr Benjamin Gearey will present at the Peatlands, Climate Change, and Cultural Heritage: Global Perspectives, Problems, Solutions session at Cop26 tomorrow, where policymakers from across the world will gather to outline solutions for peatland restoration.

Ireland's peatlands are a rich store of history that offers so much unexploited potential in the sphere of cultural tourism, and as a means to reconnect local communities to their past," said Dr Gearey.

Peatland restoration, globally and in Ireland, is now said to be a vital part of solving the biodiversity crisis that has threatened flora and fauna in unprecedented ways in recent decades.

According to Netherlands-based news service ClimateChangePost, around 20% of Irish surface land is peat, occurring as raised bogs, blanket bogs, or fens.

 They contain more than 75% of the national soil organic carbon, it said.

"Archaeology is a non-renewable resource, and so much has been lost to peat cutting; this is the last chance to ensure we preserve surviving peatland archaeology for future generations," Dr Gearey will tell the Cop26 session.

Peatland restoration and rehabilitation programmes offer the potential for both environmental gains in the form of biodiversity and carbon sequestration, and also for the protection of archaeological sites."

Meanwhile, NUI Galway's largest research arm, the Ryan Institute, has also been engaging with fellow researchers from around the world at Cop26.

Ryan Institute director Prof Charles Spillane said that while the pledges made at Cop26 are welcome, they will need to be rapidly implemented well ahead of 2030.

"The evidence is that the necessary transformational shifts are not happening at the pace, scale, and depth that is necessary," he said. 

Due to inaction or indecision regarding climate action, our current-day political leaders are at risk of condemning the next generations of citizens to an unsafe operating space for humanity on our planet.

"Both speed and scale of climate action now matter and are urgent to forge a more sustainable future for all."

Fellow Ryan Institute researcher Dr Una Murray is an international development expert working closely with a range of UN agencies, and is currently focusing on human migration and climate change.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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