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Maria McGuinness

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It’s time to take pride in peat

By Maria McGuinness
Ireland is famed for its peat bogs. And rightly so, given that 8% of blanket peat bogs worldwide are located in our small nation. Another thing we are famed for is the exploitation of these peat bogs mainly in the form of turf which is burned and used for energy. What you may not know, however, is that peat when burned as a fossil fuel emits far more greenhouse gases than coal, what is generally perceived to be the major culprit in this climate disaster. Our nations attachment to peat fires has contributed majorly to the current crisis we face. We need to change our relationship with the bogs. Yes, they do hold cultural significance. But we can no longer…
Maria McGuinness
November 27, 2019
News

Here Comes the Sun: the increasing importance of solar panels in combating climate change

By Maria McGuinness
Possibly the best known form of renewable energy is solar power; that is, power generated from solar panels. These are cells which absorb light energy from the sun and convert it into either heat or electrical energy. There are broadly speaking two types of solar panels: photovoltaic (converts light to energy) and concentrated solar power (harnesses heat energy). Photovoltaic or PV cells are comprised of a sandwich of semiconducting materials, silicon typically, which are oppositely charged creating an electric field. Phosphorus is often used to generate a negatively charged layer and boron is used to generate a positively charged layer. When a photon of light hits the PV cell, it ‘knocks’ an electron free and as a result of the…
Maria McGuinness
October 13, 2019
News

Winds of Change

By Maria McGuinness
It’s official: Ireland has the third highest emissions of greenhouse gases in the EU per capita. Yes, that’s us. Climate change may seem like a far-off concept to many of us living in the Emerald Isle, but we are actually key contributors to it. While we’ve made so many positive steps forward in the past few years with social issues, such as the marriage referendum; our performance on this global crisis is more than disappointing. What’s even more disappointing is that we have a far greater potential to decarbonise than many other countries in Europe. Our wind speeds are the envy of our fellow European nations. Yet, are we harnessing this vast amount of natural resource? Of course not. We’d…
Maria McGuinness
September 23, 2019