Climate change report published by EPA

On October 29th, a report entitled A Summary of the State of Knowledge on Climate Change Impacts for Ireland was published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EAP).

The likely aspects of climate change in Ireland, with regards to increasing temperatures, rainfall and sea levels are all considered. The report examines how these climate changes will impact on key sectors in Ireland, such as agriculture, marine, tourism, energy etc.

The expected impacts in Ireland are based on existing knowledge on climate change, and so the report also identifies areas where further research is needed e.g. options for cost-effective adaptation to the challenge of climate change for planners and policy-makers.

The full report is available for download on the EPA website.

New campaign launched to reduce carbon emissions in 2010

On October 29th, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. John Gormley T.D. launched a new campaign in an effort to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Members of the public are encouraged to support climate change by signing a pledge to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010. A new website, www.1010.ie, has been set up to support the campaign.

This campaign has been launched in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Copenhagen in December. This conference will focus on sealing a new climate change deal that will come into force following the end of the Kyoto Agreement in 2012.

In order to support efforts to reduce global carbon emissions and to reach an agreement in Copenhagan that is fair and balanced to all nations, pledges can be signed online at www.1010.ie. Alternatively, pledge books are available to sign in public libraries across the country.

Dublin to commence EuroGeoSurveys study

Starting on October 27th and continuing through November, a study of the soil quality in Dublin took place. This research was carried out as part of a European-wide EuroGeoSurveys study of urban soil, and will be lead by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI).

Soil samples were taken from green areas, playgrounds and other public lands across the city.

The aim of this European-wide survey is to establish the extent of pollution caused by metals and organic compounds in the city. Findings from other European cities show that soils from older, inner city areas have been highly polluted and contaminated. The findings will be taken into consideration in the sustainable planning and development of urban areas.

It is expected that the results of the survey will be available in a digital atlas in 2011.

Irish company to market new hydro-turbines

Eco Evolution, an Irish company based in Ferns, has become the main agents in Ireland for Mann Power Consulting Ltd., a company that specialises in the area of hydro-turbines.

They are the first company in Ireland to market hydro-turbines that are designed to create electricity from water flow. These new hydro-turbines have some important benefits. Leaves and other debris can easily pass through the turbine without blocking. Also, these turbines do not disturb the fish populations.

Irish homes and businesses will now be able to become more environmentally friendly by employing these sustainable hydro-turbines.

Farm animal waste could be used to create energy

At the Tomorrow’s Thinking Today conference that took place in Tullamore on October 22nd, the importance of anaerobic digestion for Ireland ’s future was emphasised by Teagasc speaker, Barry Caslin.

Caslin outlined how organic waste from a herd of 250 dairy cows could generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 40 homes, if processed by anaerobic digestion.

Anaerobic digestion would remove the gas from organic animal waste, which could then create electricity. The remaining waste could be spread on the land with a huge reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Investment in such treatment, which is already in widespread use in other European countries, would help to improve waste management in Ireland , meet electricity needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ireland’s Top Recycling Counties

During Repak Recycling Week (12-18 October) a survey was conducted by Rehab Recycle to find out the top recycling counties in Ireland. The survey showed that people in Galway were the best recyclers. The people of Mayo were given second place, while the people of Cork were given third place.

Figures also showed that Sligo had the greatest increase in glass recycling, which had risen by 28% since last year. Mill Shopping Centre in Clondalkin, Dublin, was awarded the busiest Rehab Recycle Bring Site in Ireland , where almost 297 tonnes of glass were deposited.

In total, 149.5 million glass bottles and jars were deposited at bring banks around the country since the start of the year. Deposits at such bring banks over the past eight years have almost doubled from 30,000 tonnes of glass to over 70,000 tonnes last year.

See the Rehab Recycle website for information on your local bring site.

Energy technology research laboratory opened at UCD

A laboratory for the research and development (R&D) of new energy technologies was officially launched by Walter Kohn at UCD on 16th October. Walter Kohn is a Nobel Prize winning scientist whose main research focuses on ways to capture the sun’s energy.

One of the main aims of the new laboratory is to develop new solar energy devices for the production of green fuels and electricity, which will be targeted at the global renewable energy market. These would be worth an estimated €113 billion by 2015.

€3.4 million has been awarded to the new UCD laboratories by Science Foundation of Ireland and the Higher Education Authority.

Partnership between UCC and Energy Sense Ireland

University College Cork (UCC) and Energy Sense Ireland (ESI) have agreed to work together to develop Eco software, which will help to manage and reduce power used by IT equipment.

This venture has developed from a Masters project at UCC. As a result of the project, four new posts were created to continue its development in this new partnership with ESI.

The project, which was launched on October 6th, is supported by the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme.

Technology Roadmap for Carbon Capture Released

On October 13th, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released the Technology Roadmap: Carbon Capture and Storage.

This roadmap provides a detailed projection of growth in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, from only a few projects today to over 3,000 projects by 2050. The report finds that without CCS, the costs of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the 2005 levels by 2050 would increase by 70%.

This roadmap is intended to provide clear goals and action plans for policy makers to achieve best results from CCS technology in greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. It also maintains that CCS must be adopted by both developed and developing countries in order to reach its potential in combating climate change.

The full report is available for download on the IEA website.

Airlines to cut carbon emissions

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 230 airlines, has presented the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) with a commitment to improve the industry’s carbon footprint. The industry is addressing the impacts of climate change based on technology, operations, infrastructure and positive economic measures. There are three main goals:

  • Improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% each year until 2020

  • Achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020

  • By 2050, reduce carbon emissions by 50% compared to 2005 levels

Their approach to climate change was then presented to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York on October 13th. This is a positive step in the lead-up to the climate change talks that will take place in Copenhagen in December.

New EU Energy Saving Project

A new EU project called Regional Clusters for Energy Planning will be lead by Shannon Development, Ireland. This project, which is supported by the EU Intelligent Energy Programme, aims to help industries across Europe improve their energy efficiency.

Representatives from eight countries will be involved in the project. They are: Ireland, UK, Italy, Finland, Hungary, Estonia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria. The group will make assessments on potential energy efficiencies, develop action plans for businesses, and implement pilot projects in the regional cluster in each of the eight countries involved.

It is expected that by the end of 2011, work on the project will be completed. Advice can then be given to clusters of regional businesses across Europe on the best approaches to achieving better energy efficiency.

Sea Otters Habitat in Alaska Gains Protection

On October 9th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 5,855 sq. miles of Alaskan waters will be designated as a protected habitat area for sea otters under the Endangered Species Act.

In some areas, there has been up to 90% decline in the population of sea otters. Some of the main threats to these marine mammals are killer whales, overfishing and changes to their eco-system due to global warming.

Climate Change Review Report published

On October 5th, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormely TD, launched the Climate Change Review Report. The report was commissioned jointly by the Heritage Council and Fáilte Ireland .

The report presents the possible impacts that climate change will have on the Irish culture, natural heritage and tourism. The report outlines the risks to the heritage of the Irish coast and inland waterways as a result of severe weather changes, especially flooding. This would also affect related tourism activities. Various recommendations are made to prepare for the impact of these climate changes.

The full report may be downloaded from the Heritage Council’s website.

€4.3 million committed to Ocean Energy Development

Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) is to give €4.3 million towards the development of ocean energy technologies.

There are 10 Irish companies that will gain assistance from the SEI funding. This will enable them to continue to the next stage of development with their prototypes and proposals. Each company will receive between €20,000 and €2 million.

Some of the ocean energy technologies to be developed include wave energy converters, an open-centre turbine system, and a tidal turbine system. Research facilities will also benefit from the funding.

Further details on the companies involved can be obtained from the SEI website.

Ireland ranked 4th in the world for creating electricity from wind energy

Following the publication of the Wind Energy Annual Report 2008, Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has announced that Ireland is ranked 4th in the world with regards to using electricity created from wind energy. The report is published by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report shows that a total of 8.7% of Ireland ’s electrical needs is generated by wind energy and, by the end of December 2008, 77 wind farms were connected to the national grid. This is an increase from the 2007 figure of 6.8%, and is getting closer to Ireland ’s aim of supplying 15% of the national electricity needs from renewable energy by 2010.

Ireland is ranked behind Denmark (19.3%), Spain (11.7%) and Portugal (11.3%) in producing the national electricity demand from wind energy.

All reports from 2000-2008 are available on the IEA website.

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