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30 October 2011

Global Climate Change Experts To Head To Scotland

Scientists from across the globe are set to help Scotland develop a better understanding of the role peatlands could play in meeting climate change targets.

The experts will be in Scotland for an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) science review meeting which Scotland will host in January focussing on wetland management, including peatland restoration.

Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson, said the meeting would be an important step towards developing the world's understanding of the role carbon-rich peatlands play in contributing to the nation's climate change ambitions.

Hosting the IPCC is just one of many high level events Scotland has been involved in which Mr Stevenson said reaffirmed Scotland's reputation as an international leader in tackling climate change.

Mr Stevenson said:

"Scotland has iconic, internationally significant peatland resources, and we need to manage them not only to help meet our climate change ambitions, but also as important reservoirs of biodiversity that stretch from the Borders to the outer islands of our country.

"That's why I am delighted that we will welcome this Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting to Scotland in January. We are well placed to host this international event on peatlands, a land-type Scotland is considerably rich in.

"The IPCC is currently finalising a programme of work which will look to allow wetland management - including peatland restoration - to be incorporated into international greenhouse gas reporting - a position the Scottish Government fully supports.

"As we look forward to the main UNFCCC conference in Durban, hosting this meeting once again demonstrates the leadership role which the Scottish Government is taking both at home and internationally on the issue of climate change."

Professor Des Thompson, Principal Adviser for Biodiversity in Scottish Natural Heritage commented:

"In Scotland we have some of the very best examples of peatland restoration in Europe, and we are delighted to share this experience with IPCC experts. By improving the state of peatlands we can make a significant contribution to reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( was established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change.

Peatlands are significant stores of carbon, which if allowed to dry out through drainage or disturbance, will release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is possible to restore damaged areas of peat, although the process of restoration is complex and variable in effectiveness.

A change to international rules on reporting of greenhouse gas emissions to include the positive effect of restoration measures on damaged peatlands are currently under consideration by IPCC. As part of that consideration, the IPCC meeting to be held in Scotland 24-26 January will focus on a review of the available science and is the second of a series of five meetings to be held in 2011-2013.

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