The Union and the SPD already knew in 2018 how important the moors are. “We want to develop a strategy to protect the moors,” they said in the coalition agreement at the time. The first measures should already be implemented during this legislature. But the “us” has in the meantime become the Ministry of the Environment – a common strategy which has recently failed. The Ministry of Agriculture was against it.
The Ministry of the Environment has therefore now presented the document on the only protection of the moors. This is no longer a strategy of this coalition, but it is a good basis for the next one, said Environment Secretary Jochen Flasbarth. “I’m sure we’ll be done soon. After all, the moors of this country are “in bad shape”, much to the chagrin of the climate. In fact, nearly seven percent of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by drained peatlands. With their 1.8 million hectares, they represent only five percent of Germany’s land area, but they store as much carbon as all forests combined. Unless they are dehydrated for agricultural purposes: They do not then store carbon, but release greenhouse gases. For farmers, on the other hand, dry peatlands are valuable areas that they use mainly as grassland, but often also as arable land. Often, drainage ditches ensure that the moors fall dry.
Farmers are supposed to moisten the moors on a voluntary basis
That should change, at least in part. Peatland emissions are expected to fall by five million tonnes of greenhouse gases – nearly a tenth of current emissions – by 2030; an agreement between the federal government and the state governments provides for something similar. But this should be done mostly on a voluntary basis: farmers should be rewarded for rewetting or for cultivation that leaves peatlands in peatlands. “Obviously this is not possible with a crowbar,” says Flasbarth, “but only with willful action and cooperation.”
But the farmers and their minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) fear something else. “There must be no eviction of your own plaice in the name of climate protection”, warns the farmers’ association, Klöckner sounds the same. In the online portal t-online, she warned that the SPD wanted to “deprive farmers of their land through the backdoor and expropriate them”. Which in turn is far from the Ministry of the Environment. Looks like the Moors ended up in the election campaign. Completely involuntary.