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Over $1.4M in funding awarded to Nipissing University professor for climate change research

A Nipissing University professor has received nearly $1.5M in federal funding for climate change research.

Dr. Colin McCarter, Assistant Professor at Nipissing University and Canada Research Chair in Climate and Environmental Change, has been awarded an Alliance Missions Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) valued at $1,466,449 to further his team’s work on climate change and ecosystem restoration research.

Officials say partnering with the City of Greater Sudbury and Vale Base Metals, along with Drs. Pete Whittington (Brandon University), Ellie Goud (St. Mary’s University), Nathan Basiliko (Lakehead University), John Gunn and Peter Beckett (Laurentian University), Dr. McCarter’s research will examine how metal and sulfur pollution from historical mining activities in Northeastern Ontario has impacted carbon storage, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil and water quality in wetlands. A key goal is also to develop novel reclamation techniques to restore both the biodiversity and ecosystem services of severely polluted peatland wetlands.

“Peatlands are the most common wetland to Northern Ontario and play an important role in both water quality and carbon sequestration,” shared Dr. McCarter. “The information gathered will be important to understand how this affects climate change in Northern Ontario and help us to understand how to protect our environment and community. Our hope is that this research will offer northern solutions to northern problems.”

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The university says Sudbury, Ontario is one of the world’s largest metal mining centres and historically was among the largest global point sources of sulphur dioxide and metal pollution. Ecosystem reclamation is a prominent goal of the City of Greater Sudbury’s Regreening Program, and both Vale Base Metals and the City of Greater Sudbury have a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“We’re excited to support this foundational research,” said Lisa Lanteigne, Manager, Environment, Canadian operations at Vale Base Metals. “Vale Base Metals has made substantial investments to reduce our environmental footprint including significant reductions in air emissions. This program is a key component in Sudbury’s long-term regreening strategy with potential to restore peatlands across the wider region.”

NSERC Alliance Missions grants are awarded to university researchers collaborating with private-sector, public-sector or not-for-profit organizations and support research that generates new knowledge and accelerates the application of research results to create benefits for Canada. Dr. McCarter’s funded project is titled Mining atmospheric CO2: Assessing the efficacy of novel carbon sequestration strategies in smelter damaged ecosystems to achieve net zero GHG emissions.

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