Carbon Credits: Irish Farmers Being Paid to Destroy Their Fields

Cuilcagh Mountain
View from the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain. By Carl Meehan – link, CC BY 2.0, link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Centuries of efforts to drain swamps to extend arable land in Ireland are being reversed, in an effort to trap more carbon.

Cuilcagh Mountain: Coconut logs form dams to fight climate change

By Conor Macauley
BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent

On a County Fermanagh mountain, a helicopter has flown in logs made of coconut fibres to help with the fight against climate change. 

They will be used to build dams on Cuilcagh, which will help restore large areas of degraded blanket bog that are currently emitting carbon.

The dams will facilitate the re-wetting of areas which can then be colonised by sphagnum mosses.

That vegetation, layers of which build the peat, will help to trap carbon.

“Peatlands, even though they don’t cover the same area as forests do, they actually contain way more carbon even than the rainforests do across the globe.

Around 18% of the landscape in Northern Ireland – more than 200,000 hectares – is covered by upland blanket bogs, lowland raised bogs and similar wetland habitat.

But for now, much of it is in a degraded state due to things like drainage, wildfires and historic overgrazing.

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I guess the land belongs to the farmers, so if they want to tear up their farms its their land. And I certainly have no problem with a bit of wetland being preserved in a pristine state for wildlife habitat. But it seems a terrible shame for today’s Irish to suddenly decide to undo centuries of progress to appease the carbon god.

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J Mac
November 6, 2020 10:21 am

Another nonsolution for a nonproblem. Ugh….

Charles Higley
Reply to  J Mac
November 6, 2020 8:19 pm

Let’s just hope that the coconut fiber logs do not introduce new bacteria, fungi and insects that could ravage the whole area. Have they specifically sterilized everything? Just saying.

Reply to  Charles Higley
November 6, 2020 11:22 pm

Very good point. More unintended consequences of ill-thought out “green” ideas.

BTW I thought bog and marsh produced methane which is a far more powerful GHG than CO2. Wasn’t it supposed to be a great plus for “carbon” emissions when the Chinese started draining paddy fields for 3 months of the year?

Now they want to ensure that Paddy’s fields are under water all year round.

All this apparently incoherent crap is because the true aim is not what the declared pretends to be. This is not about GHG, it is Agenda 21.

very old white guy
Reply to  J Mac
November 7, 2020 3:59 am

History is difficult for many people. Got any spare potatoes?

November 6, 2020 10:25 am

“Let them eat dirt.” Isn’t that how it goes?

Bryan A
Reply to  RockyRoad
November 6, 2020 8:18 pm

I thought it was Let them eat CakeMoss

Reply to  Bryan A
November 6, 2020 11:16 pm

Not much meat on CateMoss.

This land use change is yet another manifestation of Agenda 21, rewilding and the implicit massive reduction in human population which goes with it. That’s why they don’t need farm land.

November 6, 2020 10:25 am

The Irish can always migrate as they have done before. Just avoid passage on the AV ships headed for ice pack that was not in the models.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 6, 2020 9:35 pm

It appears that the cultural memory of the Great Potato Blight has been lost.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Leonard
November 8, 2020 1:51 am

They will possibly come up with a new genetically modified potato blight that goes worldwide,
maybe “invented in Wuhan” and then blame it on climate change. Then other strains that decimate rice, wheat, corn, etc… just Agenda 21 funded fungi research … then at the end you have “Interstellar” where everything dies.

Michael Jankowski
November 6, 2020 10:28 am

So what happens when the methane emissions increase? Did the “methane has 84 times the potency of CO2 as a greenhouse gas” tears go away?

November 6, 2020 11:05 am

I think the best “help with the fight against climate change” is to quietly lie down, put the blanket on, and never stand up again.

How would that sacrifice make Greta happy!

November 6, 2020 11:21 am

How much CO2 was released making coconut fibre logs, shipping them to Ulster and using a helicopter to emplace them? I am happy to have the extra plant food in the air, but it seems and odd plan to reduce CO2.

The land seems to have little value and tourism may well be a more profitable use for it.

I am mostly concerned about the amount of taxpayers’ money being spent. The particular scheme is costing around £100,000 and it is part of a wider strategy to restore peatlands across Ireland and Scotland, with £8m being spent across 27 sites.

Reply to  BillP
November 6, 2020 4:22 pm

I get occasional emails from a company ‘Dutch Plantin’ that sells coco-fiber products for those who grow plants.

One email stands out in my memory as this company was very proud of their coco-fiber logs that they make for the construction and landscape industry to control water runoff.
Some of the coco-fiber logs they pictured were over knee high in diameter.

I guess the construction support versions of their product has been spun off or the product lines meant for gardeners.
But, at least the transport costs for the coco-fiber logs is only from Europe.

Coco-fiber stays quick draining for long periods of time. With enough openings on the pot it stays suitable for epiphyte orchids for long periods of time. Commercial growers in Indonesia utilize coconut husks for growing phalaenopsis sold so inexpensively is stores..

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  BillP
November 6, 2020 5:00 pm

“… and it is part of a wider strategy to restore peatlands across Ireland and Scotland, …”. Restoring the accumulation of fossil fuel. Cute.

Reply to  BillP
November 6, 2020 11:32 pm

Bill, if you are worried about £100k of wasted public funds you are looking in the wrong place. Please rest assured that £100k is NOT a problem.

Checkout how many BILLIONS BoJo paid to a horse racing manage to organise the totally failed COVID testing program in the UK, with no penalty clause should they fail to achieve the target coverage ( which of course they then did fail to meet ).

How many BILLIONS were spent on Nightingale hospitals which are still not being used for a single patient despite the new “second wave” allegedly being serious enough to shut the country down again.

How many BILLIONS have been lost due to the economic impact of the shut downs?

How many hundreds of BILLIONS has the country been put in debt for on international markets to pay for this charade?

£100k, I can deal with right now. For peat’s sake.

Steve Richards
Reply to  Greg
November 7, 2020 4:03 am

Also, the UK government is trying to computerise the NHS again after the previous effort spent many billions and achieved zero!

Luckily, it is just other peoples money (OPM) so there is plenty more — hangon a minute!

Tom in Florida
November 6, 2020 11:21 am

Is this the mountain where Knocknasheega is located?

November 6, 2020 11:27 am

I doubt there are pristine wetlands/bogs in Ireland.

November 6, 2020 11:42 am

How much carbon will be used in the production of this carbon play?

November 6, 2020 11:45 am

Good idea, eliminate primary food production. Fewer fat Irish babies for Englishmen to eat…

November 6, 2020 11:47 am

The Vikings, the Romans, then the Greens came with helicopters. Add another castle ruin to the list.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 7, 2020 4:27 am

The Vikings, then the Anglo Saxons, and the Romans never managed an invasion – their empire collapsed and the navy was called back. Then came the British, and as we see now Greener than Greta, a Viking wannabee.
Now we are going to Reset all that with a bankers green dictatorship.

Deja vu….

High Treason
November 6, 2020 12:10 pm

I think humans have evolved in to dung beetles. Just how much bovine excrement can some people swallow? Even dung beetles don’t chase down their excrement with Kool aid. This sort of absurdity should have anyone sane ringing those BS meters. BS meter alarm bells were not intended to be dinner bells!

Bruce of Newcastle
November 6, 2020 12:15 pm

In 1856 a teenage girl claimed that spirits had told her that the Xhosa people should destroy their crops and kill all their cattle. The elites believed her and did so. The teenager’s prophesy didn’t come true, but about three quarters of the Xhosa people in that area died in the resulting famine.

We are now destroying our crops at the orders of another teenage prophetess. What could possibly go wrong?

Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
November 7, 2020 3:54 pm

As you will know(Bruce) there are four physical forces in nature

Gravitational force
Electromagnetic force
Strong nuclear force
Weak nuclear force

and no supernatural forces.

Teenagers know nothing(since forever, not just 1856(although that was a salutary demonstration best not forgotten)). Thanks for pointing it out; I hadn’t been aware of it.

Ben Vorlich
November 6, 2020 12:20 pm

Most of Ireland’s blanket bogs are laid over the remains of prebronze age mixed woodland. Personally I think a return to this mixed woodland would be a step forward.. Peat boland is a pretty sterile environment. Woodland is much more diverse and needs a more benign climate

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 7, 2020 4:43 am

I guess nobody checked why bogs appeared after the Holocene optimum. It got cold and wet, forests basically became bogs. Under the turf are regularly found tree stumps with cutting tool marks. Even walled farm walls are found under turf.

In Russia, massive amounts of peat catch fire, smolder for years. Huge smoke clouds in Catherine the Great’s time were well known.
Vernadsky, Ukrainian-Russian bio-geochemist, notes that is likely where fire was mastered, way back in ancient times. Smoldering peat is not like lightning or volcanic lava – it gives time to contemplate with no real danger.

There are turf finds of the previous glacial cycle. Likely the 22 cycles produced peat every time.

We might just give thanks to peat and some unknown clever kid for mastery of fire.

Reply to  bonbon
November 8, 2020 10:09 am

Peat is necessary for malting barley
to make good malt whisky.

November 6, 2020 12:34 pm

As someone who lives here, this is literally outside my door, the very next field to my house was drained in the 1960s, maintaining this drainage is quite expensive as it relies on each and every farmer/landowner maintaining their part of the drain down to the river. There’s a lot more to this than just carbon.
A few 100metres away there is an area of bogland that has been about 70% cut and the remainder is “pristine” but partially drained. The bog is now preserved and cutting is prohibited on the uncut areas, where cutting is still active, those landowners retain their turbary rights for the foreseeable future.
Allowing the boglands to flood will also alleviate the flooding in local towns that has been made worse by all the drainage.

Reply to  phil
November 6, 2020 11:37 pm

Thanks for the detail on how this all works.

Reply to  phil
November 7, 2020 3:18 am

so when the bogs soak up the present flows to streams?
and the river levels drop?
surely planting water tolerant trees would be more beneficial to all?

Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 7, 2020 5:08 am

The bogs soak up the water before it reaches the rivers, thus slowing down the rise in water levels. Right now, one of the roads to the next village is already closed due to flooding (it floods most years) it will likely stay closed for the next four months, the second road will probably close soon as water levels rise this leaves only one road open. Allowing the bogs to soak up will delay the flow into the river and lower to flood levels. As for tree planting, yes in some areas they are planting willow, a water loving tree for coppicing bio-fuel. All the turf burning power stations and large scale turf harvesting is coming to an end, I think next year is the final one for turf electricity generation.

In many area, the plan is to try to restore the bogs as close as possible to their previous state, historically they were forested, but all the trees were cut down for firewood a couple of centuries ago.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 7, 2020 8:44 am

surely planting water tolerant trees would be more beneficial to all?

Maybe a massive campaign planting bald cypresses? Should grow in Ireland.

Reply to  phil
November 12, 2020 3:12 pm

Towns? Which side of the mountain do you live on? I’ve seen more damage from water running off of Sleive Rushen than from Cuilcagh.

William Haas
November 6, 2020 1:20 pm

Flooding fields will allow more H2O to enter the atmosphere and molecule per molecule, H2O is a stronger absorber of IR than is CO2. So the effort will increase greenhouse gases and hence the radiant greenhouse effect for those that believe in such things. The reality is that there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale to support the conclusion that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero.

Walter Sobchak
November 6, 2020 1:21 pm

Wetland is a euphemism for malaria swamps.

Bruce Cobb
November 6, 2020 1:37 pm

Mmmmm…..coconut logs.

Robert of Texas
November 6, 2020 1:58 pm

I swear I am going to be angry when they get around to banning the burning of peat in the making of certain single malt scotches I drink…

As for bog restoration – I am all for it! More peat in the future to burn.

November 6, 2020 2:16 pm

The ability of people commenting to leap to conclusions they like is only matched by warmistas similar ability to leap to conclusions they like.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Dean
November 7, 2020 3:18 am

Why should the commenters lie like the warmistas do?

November 6, 2020 2:56 pm

i understand this is financed by money funnelled through the EU.
obviously a bit needs to pay for its handling, and wages, pensions, expenses of the burEUcrats.
Surprised this wellspring of cash has not dried up – it will on 01 January, deal or no deal.


d Carroll
Reply to  auto
November 6, 2020 4:08 pm

Ask John Doyle about that. The man who says ” just keep things thicking over long enough for people to realise it never goes back to normal!!”

David Streeter
November 6, 2020 3:07 pm

Another contribution to the storehouse of humor to contribute to the storehouse.

Ken Pollock
November 7, 2020 4:12 am

Why is it that I never read of the amount of carbon being “captured” per acre every year in peat bogs? I can accept there is a lot there, but is it accumulating, with a net increase, greater than that lost by oxidation? If it is accumulating, it must mean the bogs get deeper every year. How much would that be?
Note that the Irish Republic’s two power stations burning peat – 2 million tonnes a year – are scheduled to close at the end of next month. That will make a bigger difference than this gesture…

Mumbles McGuirck
November 7, 2020 7:24 am

One from One Leaves Two
by Ogden Nash

Fiddle de dee, my next-door neighbors,
They are giggling at their labors.

First they plant the tiny seed,
Then they water, then they weed,
Then they hoe and prune and lop,
They they raise a record crop,
Then they laugh their sides asunder,
And plow the whole caboodle under.

November 7, 2020 8:12 pm

I wonder how long it will be for before this stupidity is undertaken here in New Zealand .
There are large areas of drained swamps here and the greens would like to return them back to bogs .
I was brought up on a large peat swamp farm far end was undrained rapou swamp .A few ducks, wekas and eels but a very sterile mono culture.
Farmers have drained millions of acres of these extensive peat swamps and it is now productive farmland .
As the land drains the peat shrinks and the drains have to be deepened otherwise they turn back into swamps There used to be regular floods but they now don’t occur very much in the Waikato and also peat fires were common every autumn but that is also a rare event now .
I have drained many smaller swamps at first using clay field tiles and later to using plastic nova-flow
I make no apology to any one as the rainfall still eventually finds its way to open drains and then a stream and it is much easier to work a farm without little swamps in and around paddocks .
At a field day run by the Waikato Regional Council ( Regional councils are a useless layer of bureaucracy between County Councils and central government in a country of 5 million) a councilor stated that farmers could not deepen drains .so as land sinks bogs will are form .
Two favorite words that the greens use are wetlands and biodiversity but the extensive peat swamps that were here were not diverse and as some other’s posting here have said methane is released from rotting vegetation but that is OK but if a farmed animal releases a little methane that is almost a crime .
There is in fact no difference as both are cycles and not one atom or molecule containing carbon is added to the atmosphere over a ten year time span .
From my own observation I know that farmed livestock rapidly build up humus in the soil as part of my farm is steep heavy red clay hills and I have formed many track for access and fence lines to fence off native bush which is covenanted in perpetuity in the Queen Elizabeth 11 Trust .
Within 2 or three years red clay tracks and fence lines are growing good pasture and the black top soil builds up amazingly with cattle spreading the digested grass behind them.

November 8, 2020 10:16 am

If the productivity of the land is reduced
the population it will support will be reduced.
Ergo, the population will be reduced.

To Bill’s population reduction strategies of vaccination and education
we can now add soil degradation and (in the right climate) desertification.

Reply to  P
November 8, 2020 5:45 pm

Err… the name to this post should read ‘Photios’ instead of ‘P’.
The error stems from having too many phones ringing while typing.

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