New ISI ready to tackle Climate Change

Canada has formally committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – and since 78 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions globally are related to energy, finding cleaner sources is a big part of the puzzle.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have responded to this challenge by forming a new research network: the Climate Positive Energy Initiative, which seeks to harness U of T expertise, across a wide range of fields, to develop clean-energy solutions that are guided by political, human and societal considerations.  It’s one of 19 projects currently supported by U of T’s Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISI) program, a tri-campus network that unites researchers, students, faculty and external partners to fuel multidisciplinary solutions to today’s problems.

So far, the Climate Positive Energy Initiative comprises more than 100 faculty members from departments ranging from anthropology to electrical engineering. The initiative will work with community, non-profit, government and industry partners in a bid to address climate change. To enable this effort, the network aims to raise $100 million in external funding within three years.

“If you have a very narrowly defined problem, you can collect a small group of experts, execute a solution and get it done,” said David Sinton, the academic lead of the new initiative, a professor of mechanical engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and Canada Research Chair in microfluidics and energy.

“But when you have a problem like how to respond to climate change, you’ve got an everybody problem. You have an all-profession, all-social sciences, all-natural sciences and all-humanities problem.

We’re united by the climate challenge.”

Sinton recently spoke to U of T News about the Climate Positive Energy Initiative, the problems it plans to tackle and what role students will play in the research network. 

Read the interview on U of T News