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Opinion: College of Alberta taking part in a key function in serving to Canada meet its local weather commitments

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Final week, I used to be honored to attend COP27, the UN Local weather Change Convention in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Together with our vice-president (analysis and innovation) Aminah Robinson Fayek, we represented each the College of Alberta and the Worldwide Universities Community (WUN) of which the U of A has been an energetic member since 2008.


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Happy with the U of A’s report as Canada’s main college advancing analysis on vitality transition, new vitality options and local weather change, Aminah and I had the chance to fulfill with all kinds of key decision-makers from Canada and past, together with the chance to discover analysis hyperlinks with universities worldwide.

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As a member of Staff Alberta — a broad cross-section of governmental, educational, NGO and business companions from Alberta — we met with the provincial minister of surroundings and guarded areas, Sonya Savage, and her workers, together with Emissions Discount Alberta and Alberta Innovates, sharing a message of Alberta’s dedication to advancing vitality options for the world and taking motion on local weather change. We additionally met with Canada’s ambassador for local weather change, Catherine Stewart, and Canada’s minister of surroundings and local weather change, Steven Guilbeault, sharing that very same message and highlighting the very important function of college analysis find the options that may allow Canada to fulfill its bold local weather change commitments.


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In our conversations, we shared among the main U of A analysis applications referring to vitality options and local weather change. Launched in 2016, the Future Vitality Techniques (FES) program, supported with $75 million from the Canada First Analysis Excellence Fund (CFREF), helps Canada transition to a low net-carbon vitality economic system. FES addresses a full vary of vitality fields, from sustainable growth of fossil fuels to analysis on carbon seize and storage and renewables resembling biomass, geothermal, wind, photo voltaic, and grids and storage. Utilizing interdisciplinary approaches, FES tackles technical questions on vitality; examines penalties for our society, economic system, and surroundings; and addresses mitigative and reclamation measures.


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Understanding local weather change and advancing vitality options requires a broad vary of interdisciplinary approaches. These approaches will contain know-how and innovation, however may even want to deal with coverage, social impacts and social innovation options. And we’re doing simply that with the Ărramăt challenge, supported with a $24-million grant in 2022 from the federal authorities’s New Frontiers in Analysis Fund.

The challenge brings collectively greater than 150 Indigenous organizations and governments from around the globe, with researchers at 19 Canadian universities, two Canadian schools and 14 worldwide universities. They are going to perform 140 Indigenous-led, place-based analysis tasks to look at the hyperlinks between the lack of biodiversity and the decline in Indigenous well being. Working in additional than 24 international locations and talking greater than 30 languages, the varied workforce will develop coverage roadmaps for sensible options in 10 areas, together with strengthening Indigenous meals programs and re-establishing wholesome relationships with wild species.


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Constructing on this report, the U of A has put forth probably the most bold analysis proposal we’ve ever undertaken. With our sturdy basis of vitality and local weather analysis, the U of A is main an utility to the Canada First Analysis Excellence Fund for a analysis program entitled Vitality Techniques Transitions, Resilience and Local weather Change (ESTRCC). ESTRCC is an unprecedented, interdisciplinary, pan-Canadian initiative involving 12 Canadian post-secondary establishments, worldwide companions, business and authorities.

It brings collectively main consultants from various disciplines to ship analysis outcomes that may resolve sensible challenges in aiding resilient vitality transition, local weather change and vitality programs resilience in northern cold-affected climates. ESTRCC will contribute to options that help under-represented and susceptible communities in Canada’s rural and distant areas, and can help the targets of reconciliation with Indigenous communities.


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The outcomes of the proposed program will result in the event and piloting of latest applied sciences to realize net-zero targets; environmental, social and coverage improvements; commercialization of know-how; and coaching of extremely certified personnel. At COP27, Aminah and I had the chance to share particulars of this proposal with some key decision-makers, with the objective of constructing each provincial and federal help.

We had one central message in all these conversations: Alberta — and the College of Alberta — are on the forefront of growing the options that may allow Canada to advance vitality options for the world and meet Canada’s local weather change commitments.

I additionally participated in a panel dialogue on Universities as Key Options Suppliers: Leveraging our Native and World Networks for Innovation. My fellow panellists included representatives from Northwestern College, the College of Edinburgh, Université Côte d’Azur and the College of Toronto. We had a wide-ranging and engaged dialogue of how universities working collectively will help tackle the various challenges posed by local weather change and assist discover sustainable options for the planet. The dialogue thought of how the college networks represented on the panel, together with the U7+, UC3 and WUN, might be leveraged. With nearly half of its 24 college members from the World South, WUN is especially well-placed to deal with the differential impacts of local weather change around the globe.


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COP27 was a large and considerably overwhelming occasion, drawing greater than 45,000 individuals from almost 200 international locations worldwide. Though the main points are nonetheless being launched, there was progress on at the very least one main initiative: developed international locations agreed to determine a loss and harm fund to help susceptible international locations affected by local weather change-related disasters.

However COP27 was way more than its last protocol. It was a chance for an enormously big selection of governments, NGOs, business and educational companions from around the globe to come back collectively and share improvements and concepts, all of that are urgently wanted if the world is to fulfill its local weather change ambitions and safe a sustainable future for the planet.

Invoice Flanagan is president and vice-chancellor of the College of Alberta.



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