Local project secures EU funding to reduce carbon emissions from our bogs

An NUI Galway project which aims to reduce carbon emissions from peatlands has secured close to €1 million in funding.

Led in Galway by Terry Morley from the Discipline of Geography and Niall Ó Brolcháin of the eGov Centre at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, the project aims to develop new policies and methods for managing and monitoring carbon reduction from peatlands.

The €6.23 million EU project is called Care-Peat and involves partners in five different EU countries — Ireland, the UK, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.

Terry Morley this week welcomed the funding, which amounts to €978,000 for the NUI Galway arm of the project: “We are delighted to secure this innovative project for NUI Galway and we hope to play a significant role over the next three years in reducing our carbon emissions with our Irish and international partners,” he said.

Niall Ó Brolcháin added: “The use of sophisticated monitoring technology and data analytics techniques should inform policy at local, regional, national, and European levels to improve peatland management and reduce carbon emissions.”

Northern hemisphere peatlands contain 33 per cent of global soil carbon, while accounting for only three to five per cent of total land area. Many of these peatlands are degraded and emit, rather than store, carbon.

Global annual greenhouse gas emissions from drained organic soils are twice that from aviation. The Care-Peat project aims to both monitor and manage the emissions from degraded peatlands.

Within Care-Peat, NUI Galway will monitor pilot sites in the midlands using data generating technologies including drones. The university will work with a number of Irish partners and peatland experts including the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Florence Renou-Wilson of UCD, David Wilson of Earthy Matters environmental consultants, Bord na Mona, An Taisce, the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly, and the Community Wetlands Forum to reduce carbon and to develop innovative policies based on the data collected from restoration works to be carried out by the various agencies.

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