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COP28: Water requirements to achieve the Paris Agreement

Member news

water@leeds contributed to a session at COP28, with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA) and Global Water Institute in New South Wales, Australia.

Prof. Greg Leslie of the Global Water Institute delivered a keynote address entitled Water requirements to achieve the Paris Agreement where he included our estimate of the water required to restore drained and conserve intact peatlands around the world.

NERC Research Fellow Dr. Cat Moody and Prof. Joe Holden used estimates of peatland parameters, including total drained and intact area, open water area, water table depth, specific yield, evapotranspiration, permeability, hydraulic gradient of boreal, temperate and tropical peatlands to calculate the water required to rewet drained peatlands, and to maintain high water tables at intact peatlands, to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.

Several publications written by colleagues in water@leeds, including Prof. Andy Baird and Dr. Paul Morris, were used to put estimated values on these parameters. Results showed that restoring and maintaining peatlands is very water efficient, using approximately 3.5 m3 water per tonne CO2 equivalents saved.

As part of her NERC Research Fellowship Dr Cat Moody is studying the greenhouse gas emissions from peatland pools to discover how restoration changes the carbon transfer between soil, water and air in an ecosystem.  The aim is that in future, peatland practitioners and modellers will be able to better predict how restoration will be impacted by changes in climate, and determine the capacity of peatlands to help reduce global greenhouse gas concentrations, and as a nature-based solution to climate change.

The Critical Role of Water in Achieving Global Climate Goals took place on 1 December 2023 in Dubai.  Below is the recording of that session.