Research targets climage change solutions for BC and beyond

Developing new climate-friendly refrigerators, saving lives during extreme weather events and making carbon pollution cost accounting more accurate—these are just some of the projects among the 11 new fellowships announced today by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS).

The fellows for 2014 will receive a total of $474,000. Research will be carried out by PhD and master’s students at the four PICS universities: the University of Victoria (UVic), University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The researchers will work with experts from a range of university disciplines, government, NGOs and industry over the duration of their projects, which range from two to three years.

PICS executive director Tom Pedersen says the world requires technical innovation and societal change to cope with climate change and to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. “With an emphasis on practical solutions, these fellowships will help British Columbia at a policy, personal and organizational level to take the right steps toward mitigating and slowing climate change,” he says.

Among the goals of the approved projects:

  • Making energy efficient adsorption cooling systems—which typically use water as a refrigerant, and are powered by solar or waste heat energy—a commercial reality.
  • Identifying the socio-demographic factors that influence British Columbians’ ability, or willingness, to reduce carbon emissions in their home energy, transport and purchasing choices.
  • Improving the accuracy of calculating the social cost of carbon. This will allow for more robust analysis of the costs/benefits and environmental impacts of major projects such as pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) development.
  • Minimizing the health impacts of future extreme heat wave events in the Lower Mainland.
  • Creating new tools to monitor BC’s natural ecosystems and boost resilience to climate change.
  • Investigating how climate change will affect future freshwater resources of the Columbia River Basin, with implications for the Columbia River Treaty that is currently under review.
  • Assisting the Haida Nation in developing climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, which can also contribute to solutions for other First Nations communities.

PICS fellowships are worth up to $12,000 a year for master’s students and $18,000 a year for PhD students. PICS is a collaboration of BC’s four research intensives universities, hosted and led by UVic.

Editors’ note: See backgrounder for the 11 projects’ details. Interviews are available on request. For information on other PICS fellowships and research visit the PICS website under Research.

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Keywords: climate change, research, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, environment, clean energy

People: Tom Pedersen

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