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Scientists measure tree cleansing powers in city carbon emission tests

dr rowan fealy

dr rowan fealy

Instruments capable of measuring the ability of surrounding trees and vegetation to consume carbon dioxide emissions have been located at sites across Dublin as part of a joint research initiative led by scientists from NUI Maynooth and University College Dublin. The idea is to understand how different types of urban landscapes cope with carbon dioxide (CO2)emissions, and how planners might create ‘carbon neutral’ or more sustainable city developments in the battle against carbon emissions.

The instruments, which also measure wind, temperature, humidity andsunshine, record the CO2 concentration of the air as it passes by. They have been fixed on masts above Marrowbone Lane (an urban site with little or no surrounding trees or vegetation), and above St. Pius X Girl’s National School in Terenure (a suburban site with plenty of surrounding trees and vegetation). A third instrument has been fixed to a mobile mast that can be located at different locations around the city. This will allow the scientists to measure the impact of heavy traffic and other key factors involved in the local carbon cycle. The instruments will be in place for 3-5 years.

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Globally, cities contribute about 80% of CO2 emissions attributed to human activities, but the nature of these emissions is rarely studied. Through this research the scientists hope to better understand the urban processes that give rise to these emissions and to determine the ability of particular urban spaces to capture CO2 after its generation. According to Dr Rowan Fealy, Department of Geography & ICARUS at NUI Maynooth, until recently, these types of studies were not made in urban areas as they were regarded as far too complex. “As a result, scientists have tended to estimate the CO2 emissions based how much fossil fuel is used. However, measuring the flux allows us to see the link between urban landscapes and their role in generating or consuming CO2,” he says.

“While industry, traffic and other fossil fuel burning activities act as sources of CO2 emissions, trees, through the process of photosynthesis, remove carbon from the atmosphere,” says Dr Gerald Mills, UCD. “In many urban areas, the absence of trees means that CO2 that might otherwise be captured in the city, drifts into the wider atmosphere and contributes to global climate change.”

*unfortunately when this press release was sent there were no contact details and no images attached…. normally I’d bin it that being the case – but it is a nice story. I did contact two of the people mentioned but… I got one answering machine and one simply rang out.

UPDATE: jan 21st 2010

I have just received an email from Dr Rowan Fealy who very kindly emailed the images now used above. The first image is of Dr Rowan with the devices at Marrowbone Lane in Dublin. The second is the instruments at Templeogue in Dublin.

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bord bia invests €1m irish export market

First up a quick peek at the market place.

Here’s the stats:

the irish food market

the irish food market

Ireland’s agri-food sector plays an important role in the Irish economy, accounting for almost 9% of employment and 10% of Irish exports. As much as 65% of manufacturing exports by Irish-owned firms are estimated to consist of food and drink.

The UK is the main destination for Irish food and drink exports, accounting for 45% of the total; 32% go to Continental EU markets with the remaining 23% going to non-EU markets. The Irish food and drink sector has the highest usage of Irish produced inputs across major sectors in the Irish economy with close to three quarters of the sector’s inputs sourced domestically.

Irish food and drink exports fell for the first time in 2008, by 6.5%, to just under €8.2 billion. A further decline is anticipated in 2009 arising from continued sterling pressure, severe difficulties in the global dairy market, and the impact of the economic downturn which is bringing pressure on returns across all sectors. However, there is some prospect for a return to growth in 2010.
It is at this point that I’m a big believer – you dont cull the spending. One increases it.

it has to be worth something...

it has to be worth something...

And this is exactly how they are gonna do so:

A graduate Fellowship Programme aimed at boosting Irish food and drink exports and supporting Irish companies expand their market reach was launched by Bord Bia  [in Dublin today].

25 experienced graduate Fellows will be placed in the international marketplace and will partner with 100 Irish food companies on whose behalf they will undertake 200 key assignments across 33 international markets. The €1 million Marketing Fellowship Programme, will be run in association with the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

On being launched by Minister Brendan Smith TD he commented that:

the programme will play an important role in helping Irish companies to diversify into new markets while seeking to protect existing export business that last year exceeded €8 billion in value

The administration of the programme, for which recruitment is to start immediately, was awarded to the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business following a tender process.

While the graduates will be based full-time in the marketplace, the programme will also incorporate six academic modules at the Smurfit School and marketing assignments will be rigorously assessed. The graduate Fellows will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in International Marketing Practice on completion after twelve months and will then have the option of completing a Masters degree.

The programme will cover all food industry sectors, from prepared consumer foods to meat, dairy, beverages, seafood and horticulture. The markets covered will include the UK, Continental Europe, Russia, Asia and the United States.

worthwhile...?

worthwhile...?

Aidan Cotter Chief Executive of Bord Bia noted that:

The initiative, in particular the completion of some 200 business development assignments, will provide us with the most comprehensive overview ever of commercial market opportunities and Irish supply capabilities.

Bord Bia will integrate the new Fellowship Programme with a range of other market building initiatives planned by the organisation to assist the food industry broaden its export reach.

A new, targeted trade awareness campaign will focus on the European marketplace and coincide with the industry’s largest ever presence at Anuga, the world’s most important food and beverage trade fair, taking place in Germany this autumn. Some 22 Irish food and drink companies, representing sectors from meat and dairy products to seafood and frozen foods, will exhibit across five exhibition halls at the fair, which takes place in Cologne from 10th to 14th October.

Bord Bia has also decided to bring forward Marketplace 2010, to build on the momentum the Fellowship Programme is expected to create. Marketplace, which will now take place in Dublin next February, will bring upwards of 250 food and drink buyers from UK and mainland Europe to meet with Irish suppliers.

In the meantime, funding for its Foresight4Food programme, designed to support companies bring consumer focused innovations to the market is being expanded. In total, Bord Bia is investing more than €1 million in additional market building initiatives that will run in parallel and be integrated with the Marketing Fellowship Programme.

In January, Bord Bia indicated that the task of “Broadening Export Reach” had become a major strategic priority in light of the challenges the industry was encountering in the marketplace as a result of the global economic downturn and currency volatility and the need to seek out new opportunities.

every little helps....?

every little helps....?

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