Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
February 15, 2001
Guelph Researchers get major new funding to study greenhouse gases
Two University of Guelph researchers are among only 15 nationwide to receive first-round funding from a new federal government initiative to study clean air and climate change, it was announced today.
Profs. Claudia Wagner-Riddle and Jon Warland, Land Resource Science, were awarded more than $350,000 in funding to study agriculturally-produced greenhouse gases. The funding announcement was made by Professor Gordon McBean, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS), at a reception at York University.
“It’s a challenge to obtain industry participation in atmospheric science research,” says Wagner-Riddle, who will receive $240,000 over three years, “so this government funding is most welcome. It will be put to use investigating the causes and effects of greenhouse gases and best practices for soil management. We will eventually be able to share the outcomes of this research with farmers.”
Warland’s research examines how trace gases such as carbon dioxide, ozone and methane are absorbed and emitted by forests and vegetated farmland. With experiments planned at an Ontario forest and the University of Guelph’s Elora research station, he is developing new techniques to measure the exchange of these gases within the plant canopy. “So much is still unknown about climate change, what it’s effects will be on agriculture, that we need time and support just to be able to ask the right questions,” he says. “The CFCAS funding is crucial to do this sort of curiosity-driven research.” Warland will receive $110,700 over three years.
The 2000 federal government budget established CFCAS with a one-time grant of $60 million. The initiative was designed to help Canada meet its environmental objectives, including those of the Kyoto Protocol. The CFCAS funds research in the areas of climate system science, climate change, extreme weather, air quality and marine environmental prediction.
“The Government of Canada invested $60million for the creation of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences because we truly believe that research plays a vital role in developing effective environmental policy,” said Federal Minister of the Environment David Anderson. “We have made significant progress in understanding climate change and air pollution, and we need to build on this momentum to ensure that we continue to take the most appropriate actions to address these issues.”
More than $3.9 million was announced at today’s CFCAS reception. “Each of these 15 research projects is unique and important to our understanding of climate and atmosphere,” said McBean. “This work not only adds to the overall knowledge base, it enhances the reputation and activities of leading edge research in Canada. Improving the understanding of the implications of climate and atmospheric sciences on human health and the natural environment is among the most important of the Foundation objectives. These projects will go a long way in meeting those objectives. For instance, we will learn more about areas as diverse as how forests filter persistent organic pollutants, stratospheric indicators of climate change and the effects of lake breezes on weather.”
Ross Hallett, U of G Assistant Vice-President (Research Infrastructure Programs), noted that having two research projects selected of 15 in total is “national recognition of the impact Guelph faculty play in research that will benefit the environment. I congratulate Claudia and Jon, and would like to thank the federal government for its commitment and foresight in establishing this Foundation and the support it provides to basic and applied research in Canada.”
More information about CFCAS is available at www.cfcas.org.
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