When the semi-state company that harvests Ireland’s peatlands recently announced the closure of 17 bogs, the news was greeted as the end of an era. Turning the soggy landscape that covers much of Ireland’s midlands into a fuel source had been a great national project, an ambitious undertaking launched by the republic’s founding fathers in the 1930s. Draining and cutting hundreds of thousands of hectares of turf on an industrial scale generated desperately needed jobs and reduced dependence on oil imports for almost a century. So there was some nostalgia last month when Bord na Móna, the peat-harvesting company, announced it was closing 17 of its “active bogs” and would close the remaining 45 within seven years. Nostalgia but also acceptance, given the growing awareness that harvesting peat emits greenhouse gases that worsen climate change, requiring a shift to renewable energy. “Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge facing this planet,” said Tom Donnellan, the company’s chief executive.
Guardian 27th Nov 2018 read more »