Whisky barrels and whales: Finding optimism in a low-carbon economy (in London, UK)

Ensuring sustained economic growth while minimising environmental impact is a global challenge. Access to affordable energy has reduced poverty by more than a half since 1990, and yet approximately 1 billion people still live without access to the most basic energy services. Moreover, the rest of us need to face the mounting evidence on the negative impacts of our energy use (poor air quality, climate change, geopolitical instability, etc.) However, and despite the bad news, there is cause for optimism: UBC is the first Canadian university with a sustainability policy, and its research and innovation are leading the way to a low-carbon economy.

The energy transition will require political will, significant investment, and above all, clarity of thought. In this talk, Walter Mérida, Director, UBC's Clean Energy Research Centre; Associate Dean of Research and Industrial Partnerships; Professor, UBC Department of Mechanical Engineering, will describe the challenges and opportunities in sustainable energy systems. He will provide a few examples of UBC’s world-leading research on some of the enabling technologies including renewable energy, hydrogen technologies, and advanced electric vehicle infrastructure. These new technologies can enable urban assets to become active participants in city-scale energy management schemes. The new technologies, services and business models may enable cities to go beyond zero impact: providing a net benefit to human and planetary wellbeing.

Recorded November 1, 2018, at The Royal Society in London, UK.