Peatland Governance: The Problem of Depicting in Sustainability Governance, Regulatory Law, and Economic Instruments (2020)

Ekardt F., Jacobs B., Stubenrauch J., Garske B.

Land, 9 (3), 83



Limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and better even to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to Article 2 paragraph 1 of the Paris Agreement requires global zero emissions in a very short time. These targets imply that not only emissions from degraded peatlands have to be avoided, but conservation and rewetting of peatlands are also necessary to figure as sinks to compensate for unavoidable residual emissions. However, with regard to instruments for meeting these targets, measuring, depicting, and baseline definition are difficult for greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands. In the absence of an easily comprehensible control variable (such as fossil fuels), economic instruments reach their limits. This is remarkable in so far as economic instruments can otherwise handle governance problems and react to various behavioral motivational factors very well. Still, peatlands can be subject to certain regulations and prohibitions under command-and-control law even without precise knowledge of the emissions from peatland use, which will be shown using the example of the European Union (EU) and German legislation. This paper is a contribution to governance research and illustrates that even comprehensive quantity-control instruments for fossil fuels and livestock farming—which would address various environmental problems and reflect findings from behavioral research regarding motivation towards sustainability—require complementary fine-tuning through command-and-control law, e.g., for integrating peatland governance.