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Windfarms threaten peat bogs and turn them into carbon emitters

More ironies.  One fifth of all soil carbon is stored in peat bogs.  Unfortunately when industrial wind turbines are built on them, the damage turns them from carbon sinks to carbon sources thus neutralizing the point of building the wind farm.

The headline evokes some supernatural power:

Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs lose their ability to fight climate change

As if the magical whirly totem stick loses the gift of weather control when placed on a peat bog?

But the real damage is not just to wallets for another pointless windfarm. Peat bogs are so much more than carbon sinks — they are also an archive of paleohistory and the  ancient climate. Indeed, even though cattle, wind and rain can damage the bogs, the researchers now say the wind farms now pose the “most serious risk” of all. Apparently the vehicle access tracks create artificial streams that drain the peat. The drainage changes are pervasive and “affect the whole peatland” not just the part near the track.

The “blanket bogs” are rare, but occur from Spain to Norway in Europe as well as in Canada, New Zealand and Korea.

The paper is a thinly disguised plea from bog experts to save the peat wilderness from industrial development. Sadly, they seem to think the headline “carbon emissions” will attract more help than the intrinsic scientific and biological value of the peat, which says something very screwed up about environmentalists.

Wind farms, on peat bogs.

Wind farms damage peat bogs.

Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs lose their ability to fight climate change

Guaduneth Chico, Ben Clutterbuck, Nicholas Midgley, The Conversation

In our recent study, we found that wind farms in Spain are being built on rare peat bogs that store vast quantities of planet-warming carbon. Because these habitats are so poorly mapped, there’s a good chance that this mistake is being replicated in many other places throughout Europe, including the UK.

Peatlands are a natural carbon sink and, despite covering less than 3% of the Earth’s land surface, they contain 20% of all the carbon stored in soils worldwide.

Although peat is naturally eroded by wind, rain and ice, blanket bogs grazed by livestock can lose four to six times more carbon than protected bogs. But the most serious risk to these habitats today is wind farms. Unprotected blanket bogs often cover mountain peaks, where there is also great potential for generating wind energy. During wind farm construction, vegetation that helps to trap the carbon is removed to create turbine bases and vehicle access tracks. These tracks create artificial streams that drain the peat and reshape the terrain.

This release can be so significant that the climate benefit of generating clean energy is likely to be neutralised.

REFERENCE

Chico et al (2020) Geo‐hydromorphological assessment of Europe’s southernmost blanket bogs, https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4927

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Rating: 9.8/10 (53 votes cast)
Windfarms threaten peat bogs and turn them into carbon emitters, 9.8 out of 10 based on 53 ratings

54 comments to Windfarms threaten peat bogs and turn them into carbon emitters

  • #
    Jojodogfacedboy

    Our government policies have terrible records of causing more damage than if they left things alone.
    Add to this fracking that breaks up our solid rock base adding to more quakes.
    Peeling off the growth and exposing is it not methane and other bug-a-boos?

    73

  • #
    Reed Coray

    Isn’t it amazing how many “unintended consequences” arise from “settled science?”

    190

  • #

    They’ll find a way to sugar coat this, for example, it’s preventing the bogs from turning into future coal seams keeping them from being burned in the future.

    120

    • #
      sophocles

      But that’s what Eire burns for its electricity …

      not coal: Peat.

      120

      • #
        Kalm Keith

        :-) :-)

        For Pete’s sake Sophocles, let’s not get into reality:
        stick with the dream!

        101

        • #
          sophocles

          I’m not a good dreamer.

          You’ve probably noticed that.

          Reality is more interesting than dreams, by far. It goes where it goes and that’s sufficiently different from dreams to be fascinating.

          20

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    The thinking behind this latest pseudo-enviro call for compassion towards peat bogs clearly illustrates how far we have come as a species: almost nowhere.

    I didn’t read anything there about the disastrous effects that windmill/vlf pulsing has on poor local inhabitants when a “wind farm” is dumped near them. Not concerned about actual humans, O.K., what about the farm animals who almost certainly suffer.

    Wind farms are Not about “saving the planet” they are about getting at the system for specific gain, a process that some humans have indulged in for many millennia.

    Which reminds me: has the U.S. demolished and cleared away those dead wind turbines, the field of fourteen thousand derelict monstrosities?

    No? Big Government is out of control.

    KK

    130

    • #
      AndyG55

      “has the U.S. demolished and cleared away those dead wind turbines, the field of fourteen thousand derelict monstrosities?”

      No, they are waiting for the owners that took all the subsidies, to come and clean them up ! ;-)

      100

    • #
      sophocles

      Right, the ‘Great Reset’ is coming.

      00

  • #
    el gordo

    On behalf of the paleo climate enthusiasts, peat bogs are useful in picking up solar activity.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0012821X9500072K

    10

    • #
      Graeme#4

      “Ombrotrophic mires” Learning new words every day…

      10

      • #
        el gordo

        … but wait, there is more on these carbon sinks.

        ‘Mires, or peat-forming systems, have traditionally been recognised as falling into two broad peat-forming types – minerotrophic fens fed by groundwater or collected surface water, and ombrotrophic bogs fed exclusively by direct precipitation.’ Lindsay 2016

        10

  • #
    David Maddison

    The Left don’t care about history hence the reason they want it erased or altered (as in the prophetic work “1984″).

    Peat bogs have potential undiscovered well-preserved archeological and ancient human remains, especially so-called “bog bodies” and should be preserved for that reason alone.

    Wind and solar subsidy farms destroy Western Civilisation as is their purpose.

    If the indigenous people of the area were anything other than white Europeans they would be able to stop development by saying ancestors were buried there. But that request will not be respected due to their skin colour. Building on peat bogs is fundamentally a racist act.

    111

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Just love that inverted convolution, so evocative of modern Abccc/woke/demspeak that seeks to keep us in touch with our feelings.
      :-)

      70

  • #
    PeterS

    The evidence against renewables is increasing yet we have governments maintaining the hard line of emission reduction even to the point of discouraging the use of two of the most viable forms of power generation; coal and nuclear, at the expense of our very economy. In any other form of enterprise or organisation, the perpetrators would be held to account and charged with a variety of statutory and criminal offences given the facts as they stand.

    In a democracy such as ours the people have the power to do something about it but so far have failed to use such power and instead kept the nonsense going from bad to worse. I suppose in time more and more people will wake up and finally act but by that time it might be too late and our economy will be so far down the tubes a crash and burn is inevitable. Let’s hope not and the people wake up sooner rather than later for all our sakes, especially now given our weaken state due to the pandemic over-reaction.

    We need to pull all stops out and forge ahead in a recovery as fast as possible. One thing that would help that is to put in place all the necessary policies to cut the cost or power by at least half. Given we’ve already moved to a form of socialism whereby the government is handing out money like there is no tomorrow, going a little bit more and spending say $50-100 billion to build a few new coal fired power stations to increase competition would go a long way to stimulating our economy and save a lot of jobs, as well as generate new ones. It’s a fundamental responsibility of the governments to do such things to help a nation grow, and not to do the opposite and end up crashing it, assuming it’s not too late and they’ve done enough to crash it anyway.

    120

    • #
      Serp

      Surely we’re there now PeterS, at the “crash and burn” I mean, and it’s all downhill from here.

      60

      • #
        PeterS

        Perhaps. The money “printing” by the central banks have successfully postponed the crash and burn many times now. This time around it is by far the biggest in modern history making the GFC crisis look like a picnic. When the next major crisis hits, or this ones continues to deepen they will be “printing” so much trying to hold up the economy. At some point the amount will be so high people will start to loose confidence. Then the proverbial will s… will hit the fan. At the moment most people are confident the central banks (lender of last resort) will guarantee things won’t get too bad. It can’t go on forever. The music will stop one day.

        30

  • #
    David Maddison

    There are peat bogs in Australia as well, although relatively rare, I presume due to a relatively dry climate.

    http://www.herinst.org/wingecarribee/peatlands/australian.html

    There used to be “floating islands” in Victoriastan where the underlying peat material became disconnected as the water table rose.

    https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/pirron-yallock

    51

  • #

    It’s not just Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs that have no ability to fight climate change. When the whole lifetime construction and operating process & cost is taken into account, the average wind farm is a nett CO2 emitter. Now whether you believe that this has any effect on ‘climate change’ or the weather is, of course, another matter altogether.

    100

    • #

      Build on the sand and
      Not upon the rock,
      Build on the sand, tra-la,
      You’re gonna get a shock’
      Edifices built upon your ‘noble’ lie,
      Eventually crumble, fall or die.

      80

  • #
    Ronald Bruce

    The law of unintended consequences. Warmists are so incompetent they are a danger not only to us but to themselves.

    30

  • #
    David Maddison

    In a sense it’s good that wind subsidy farms are net CO2 emitters as the world is desperately low on CO2.

    I just wish the rational people could pay for coal, gas, nuclear at true market prices and the irrationalists could purchase their wind and solar without subsidies.

    90

  • #
    David Maddison

    1) We are forced to use expensive and useless wind and solar “energy”. Result: Economic destruction.

    2) We are not allowed to use working treatments for early stage infection of C-19. Result: Further and even more serious economic destruction due to prohibition of travel and business activities.

    3) BOTH: Promoted by the same people, Leftists, for the same reason.

    DOES ANYONE SEE A PATTERN?

    91

  • #
    TdeF

    So the 50% increase in carbon dioxide over 120 years has caused endless problems? Where? Floods in flood prone areas, heat in hot countries, melting ice caps, one of which melts every year anyway along with all the snow and ice across America, Canada, Europe, Russia, China, Japan and of course, the rapidly rising seas and the extinction of the polar bears.

    Except none of it is true in that it is unusual. And the solutions to the terrible annual problems include wind farms in peat bogs just beggars belief.

    It’s all nonsense, non science, rubbish. In thirty two years not a single prediction has been right. And young enthusiasts for stopping global warming have become cynical old men. And Dr Bob Brown, leader of Australian Greens, has retired to Northern Tasmania to make sure he gets no windmills in his backyard.

    As for this carbon blanket warming the world, you would notice it most on cold days, not hot ones. And we are having a wintry blast in Southern Australia which seems not the slightest bit improved by our new found blanket. After a summer with not one single hot day which lasted 24 hours. But the BOM tells us we had the second hottest summer in history (back to 1910, no more).

    Truth, real science and man made Global warming have long since parted company. And the former leader of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, upper atmosphere physicist James Hansen’s hysterial story about rapid and lethal man made global warming, based on his undoubted expertise in the upper atmosphere of Venus, is utter hogwash.

    China is using all the cheap coal. And selling windmills to everyone else. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. And as we in Melbourne sit in our homes, unable to go to work and fear mass deaths from a Chinese bioweapon, you have to ask why anyone believes that carbon dioxide is the problem?

    And the head of WHO says it is not from China. And no one will find a cure. Defund that man.

    91

    • #
      TdeF

      Defund is a new word. It means fire and disband, regardless of the distress, unemployment, careers, jobs and families. As in fire all the police and shut the police department and destroy the building and let the people survive on their own in some of the most dangerous cities on the planet, but defund sounds far less serious.

      And more laws are needed to stop criminals getting guns or more likely, stop honest citizens being able to defend themselves against criminals who do not obey the law anyway, as if that was not self evident. As the Mayor of Chicago says, the problem is with guns coming from outside the city. Now why would a criminal disobey the law? For the Democrats it seems making sense is not a requirement.

      Nor on Global warming, Extinction rebellion and AntiFA are all violent fascists.

      101

      • #
        TdeF

        Basically I am reading the news, like Windmills farms on ancient fragile carbon dioxide, methane rich peat and none of it makes sense.

        This is an all out assault on Western democracies, at the foundations of the history, at the heroes, at the principles, at the economies and now directly on the people.

        We are being told so much that is not true. Next George Washington, who had slaves, will be wiped from history. What will they call the capital, Mao Tse Tung or Fidel Castro?

        71

  • #
    Graeme No.3

    Dave:
    the public servants and the WOKE denisens think it won’t effect them as they raise costs and regulatory hurdles for business. They never ask “where is the money coming from” they assume there will be an unlimited supply even if the government just prints it. But remember that Chicken Little and Turkey Little didn’t get the result they wanted, only their just deserts.

    Will Shakespeare put it well about the WOKE culture beliefs:

    “I can call spirits from the vasty deep.”
    Why so can I, or so can any man. But will they come when you do call for them?”

    70

  • #
    Mal

    Environmentalists are really started to get bogged down
    There is Nothing that will satisfy these loonies apart from complete eradication of modern civilisation.
    Warren Mundine once wrote I addressed protestors at Adani mine as to where they wouldn’t they oppose mining of any type.
    Apparently he just got confused looks and then the answer. They would oppose all mining anywhere in Australia
    Says it all
    Just LOONIES

    70

    • #
      TdeF

      As well as all mining ban farming, manufacturing, fishing, cars, planes, plastic, zippers, straws, shopping, religion and children. In America the big movement is taxpayer funded abortion without exception, even to full term. For many of these loonies it’s a shame it cannot be done retrospectively.

      The sheer idiocy of windmills on peat is beyond parody. It is farcical.

      70

  • #
    Peter Fitzroy

    We should keep carbon in peat bogs, but not in coal seams? Incomprehension

    110

    • #
      David Maddison

      Peak bogs tend to be environmentally fragile places plus can preserve important archeological remains. They should be preserved. Nothing to do with carbon or its combustion product.

      The mining of coal on the other hand doesn’t tend to cause destruction of environmentally sensitive areas nor does it preserve important archeological remains.

      In addition, the destruction of peat bogs causes the emission of CO2. That is not a problem of course, but it does highlight the hypocrisy of Leftists who claim to be concerned about “carbon” (sic) emissions and who are why those destructive subsidy harvesting grid disrupting windmills were installed in the first place.

      70

      • #
        Peter Fitzroy

        Where I live we had a peat fire which lasted for over 6 months, all during the worst fire season in memory.

        As to your assertion about coal – really? I could give you pages of reports on the destruction to environmentally sensitive areas in the production of coal.

        Asinine comment of the day to you

        012

        • #
          AndyG55

          So you have no idea about the whole topic, is that what you are saying, Peter !

          Totally unaware of the hypocritical farce of wind farms destroying peat bogs.. in DENIAL perhaps?

          Empty comment of the day to Peter.. as usual. !

          You could?? Now where have we heard that before!

          STILL WAITING for empirical evidence of warming by atmospheric CO2

          Wind farms yet again proven more environmentally destroying than basically any other form of energy, certain for the energy obtained.

          Except the facts.. and GET OVER IT !!

          100

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          Why would anyone choose to live in the middle of a “peat fire”.

          Comprinhensible.

          20

        • #
          AndyG55

          “all during the worst fire season in memory.”

          There goes that “limited” memory of yours again, based on non-facts, as always.

          History shows bigger fires in Australia in the past.

          Peat fires in other parts of the world have burnt for FAR longer. !

          Why continue to parade your wanton ignorance.

          I say wanton ignorance, because I know this has been pointed out to you before, therefore you are choosing, on purpose, to be ignorant.

          40

    • #
      el gordo

      ‘Incomprehension’

      Putting wind farms on peat land is value neutral.

      20

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Yes.

      We understand.

      Constant, unrelenting, unaware, “incomprehension” even on the green woke scale.

      Incomprehension, fueled by belief before fact and rote learning before true education.

      KK

      40

      • #
        Peter Fitzroy

        Crocodile tears over peat, vs 10to the 4th CO2 from coal – i may be woke, but at least I’m in the real, fact based, world

        08

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          10 out of 10 for consistency.

          Utterly incomprehensible.

          30

        • #
          AndyG55

          “but at least I’m in the real, fact based, “

          LOL ! farce heaped upon FARCE.

          Your haven’t had an actual FACT in your whole time here ranting your naive little far-left ignorance.

          Whenever asked to back up your garbage, you are mindlessly missing in science.

          20

        • #
          AndyG55

          No-one has a problem actually USING peat.

          But just wantonly destroying it….

          Nope, we leave that up to the greenies and their anti-life agenda..

          40

  • #
    Peter Fitzroy

    “Except the facts?”

    LOL

    07

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Totally comprinhensible.
      Peta strikes again.

      20

    • #
      AndyG55

      poor petel.. empty of facts, in deep DENIAL as always.

      Wind non-energy causes far more environmental damage than Coal fired electricity does.

      Especially per unit energy.

      COAL has contributed to the rise of human civilisation, and is required to maintain it.

      It BUILDS, it PROVIDES

      Wind non-energy TAKES from human society is so many ways.

      Come on, what positive effect has wind energy had on human society?

      (with evidence of course, not one of your mangy little fantasies)

      COAL, look around you, everything is there BECAUSE OF COAL and other fossil fuels. !

      30

  • #
  • #
    Maurice Lavigne

    Peat bogs in Europe are mostly manmade. They are our first major impact on ecosystems. In Ireland where the peat is removed down to the mineral soil, you often find a forest of tree stumps. The trees were cut down for a variety of reasons, but mostly driven by farming. The oak trees used to draw the moisture out of the ground, but once removed, the mousture remains in the ground. This is especially true in cloudy and wet areas like Ireland..In addition to tree stumps, entire villages and cobblestone roads have been found beneath the bogs. The national museum in Dublin has a huge collection of artifacts found underneath thd bogs, including gold jewelry.

    10