Tuesday 25th February, 5pm, AD1-045 Analog Devices Building

Science & Engineering/ESB Visiting Lecture Series

The Connection between the Land and Energy Sector in Meeting Green House Gas (GHG) Mitigation Targets: Considering Local Conditions for Meeting Global Goals

(To reserve a place email: eileen.madden@ul.ie  Light refreshments will be served at 4.30pm)


Meeting the GHG emission reduction targets agreed upon in Paris agreement will be an immense challenge for all countries. It requires immediate action to decarbonize the various sectors. The energy, transport and agricultural sector are the key contributing sectors to total anthropogenic GHG emissions. This also applies to Ireland, where the agricultural sector is responsible for about 33% of the GHG emissions, and transport and energy both account for almost 20% of the anthropogenic GHG emissions. The use of biomass for bioenergy and biofuels could contribute to GHG emission reduction in the transport and energy sector. Furthermore afforestation and reforestation could contribute to negative emissions. However, it adds to the already high pressure on land and could result positive as well as negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. For this reason, an integrated perspective on GHG emission reduction is key. The  direction and magnitude of environmental and socio-economic impacts highly depend on the local context and should therefore be assessed taking the local biophysical and socio-economic conditions into account.

A systems approach is necessary, connecting technology innovation, logistics, land use (change), job creation, industry hubs and investments, as well as user requirements. Floor will indicate robust approaches to connect large scale data and models on global developments with spatially explicit  methods to enable the assessment of these widely different aspects. These approaches are developed and demonstrated for various regions worldwide such as Latin America, USA and Africa. She will also provide suggestions on how such approaches could be extended to Ireland, its energy matrix and how to develop strategies to support policy making, de-risk investor decisions and overall optimise economic and climate impacts in support of the Ireland 2040 strategy.

Prof. Floor van der Hilst: Floor is an assistant professor in the Energy and Resources group of the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University. Her research focuses on sustainable biomass production for the biobased economy and sustainable land use. She coordinates several international research projects on environmental impacts of biomass production, biomass potentials, land use, and sustainable intensification of agriculture. She spent several working periods in Mozambique, Ukraine, Brazil and South Africa. She is frequently invited as speaker at international conferences and workshops. She teaches in the Master Energy Science and the Bachelor Global Sustainability Science.