Waterloo awarded $15.8 million in funding to tackle climate change

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Environment and Climate Change Canada has announced $15.8 million to six University of Waterloo research projects to identify solutions to environmental challenges. The research projects will be led by seven Waterloo Climate Institute members: Dr. Nandita Basu, Dr. Amelia Clarke, Dr. Eric Croiset, Dr. Michael Drescher, Dr. Laura Hug, Dr. Maria Strack and Dr. Vanessa Schweizer. The projects will support building a sustainable net-zero emissions in Canada by 2050. 

The Can-Peat project will quantify the potential of peatland management in Canada to contribute to climate change mitigation as a nature-based solution. This goal will be achieved by creating an open access database of peatland distribution, condition and vulnerability, innovative modelling response to disturbance, and developing decision-support tools for climate friendly management. 

The project aims to improve methane emission monitoring at landfills by combining state-of-the-art soil measurements with a novel application of hyperspectral infrared imaging. The team will also develop methods to reduce emissions using methane-consuming microbes from landfill cover soils. This project targets the large, poorly quantified emissions from Canadian landfills and provides information, tools, and methods for practical solutions.

The research will develop a simple, dynamic carbon and GHG scorecard that will complement existing green building standards by tracking the state and trajectory of residential developments. The scorecard’s potential to induce developer behavioral change by incentivizing green infrastructure investments through social norms and status-seeking behaviour will be tested.

The project will develop a decision-support framework for direct air capture (DAC) that acknowledges the scale of the enterprise, the immersive nature of the system with other systems, and the substantial amount of uncertainty surrounding its deployment. We use a dynamic adaptive policy pathways approach, a method developed to address decision making under deep uncertainty, to generate a set of policy actions and contingency plans to navigate the development and deployment of DAC in Canada.

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From November 6-18, the world will come together in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, for the international climate change negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual Conference of the Parties (COP). Before the University’s COP27 delegation departs, the Waterloo Climate Institute held an in-person discussion with them to reflect on the crucial issues that need to be tackled, Canada’s role in the negotiations, and what outcomes they hope to witness and achieve.