Equinox offers an energy roadmap to a more sustainable future

Temperatures are rising around the world, and so is the population. As our planet becomes more crowded, the global energy demand will be greater than ever before.

By Kaija Hutteri

For Communications & Public Affairs

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Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Waterloo and WGSI Board Vice Chair, opens the Equinox Blueprint launch sessionAfter years of discussing climate change, our world still depends on carbon-heavy forms of energy like coal for electricity. This dependency will continue to wreak havoc on the planet unless we turn to more sustainable sources of energy.

The Waterloo Global Science Initiative — a partnership between the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics — convened the Equinox Summit in June 2011 to launch a new conversation about the world’s energy future.

The summit brought together researchers, policymakers and private sector leaders from around the world to discuss realistic strategies for reducing our global carbon footprint.

Fresh approach to global energy

Jatin Nathwani, University of Waterloo professor and summit scientific advisor, says the Equinox Blueprint, which emerged from summit discussions, is a fresh approach to a complex set of scientific and technology policy issues.

“The perspective is that the world is a complicated place and the long term transition to a low carbon energy future will require a very flexible approach” says Nathwani, who also serves as executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy. “The Blueprint isn’t a template that can be forced on anyone but it provides clear pathways around which different national interests can coalesce.”

Rather than championing one particular strategy for reducing carbon dependency, the Blueprint provides a comprehensive view of available options in the form of five recommendations, related to:

Change doesn't happen overnight

The message is simple: there is more than one way to reduce our carbon footprint, and we must start the process now with technology already at our disposal.

Global energy transitions don’t happen overnight – it will take anywhere from 50 -70 years -  but Nathwani believes the changes we make today will impact the future of our planet.

“We need to take the long view” says Nathwani, “but there is a compelling need to do the right things now to effect change in the 10 to 20 year timeframe that will ultimately transform the system.”