Deep decarbonization and sustainability transitions

Light rail transit is an example of deep decarbonization and sustainability transitions.

Transitions to sustainability are multi-faceted phenomena, requiring expertise in a range of science, social science and humanities disciplines. Our members are creating the technological advances that are necessary to wean society off of fossil fuels; they are exploring the urban forms and building technologies that contribute to more sustainable futures, and they are applying novel techniques to explore the many opportunities and obstacles along pathways to those futures.

Spanning many disciplines, mitigation research focuses on climate policies and governance, communication, energy efficiency and emissions-reducing technologies and approaches, engineered negative emissions solutions such as carbon capture, utilization and storage, and nature-based solutions that will support the global transition towards a low-carbon society. Sustainability transitions research explores the many intersections among water, food, climate, and energy issues, while also uncovering the policies, behaviours, discourse, socio-political dynamics, and markets that may enable or inhibit change.

Wind turbine.

As witnessed in recent weeks, rising seas, swollen atmospheric rivers and post-tropical storms are a threat to community infrastructure, housing and the safety of those living along Canada’s east and west coasts. In response, new guidance from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo, presents practical solutions to limit the financial and social costs of these evolving risks.

Waterloo researchers contribute to new science led by Nature United, which concluded that by protecting, better managing, and restoring nature, Canada can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The new study, Natural Climate Solutions for Canada, published in Science Advances shows that Natural Climate Solutions can help Canada mitigate up to 78 Mt CO2e annually in 2030—an amount equal to the current greenhouse gas emissions from powering every single home in Canada for about three years.