News and Events

UBC understands that the actions we take today, will affect human and environmental wellbeing for generations to come.

The news and events below provide a window into the broad range of climate emergency-related activities underway by UBC academic units, operational departments, community initiatives, and student groups.

UBC invites you to explore what’s happening, and join us in this vital work.


New tool supports student access to climate change courses

June 10, 2021

The UBC Sustainability Initiative has launched a curated selection of climate change-related courses available to UBC undergraduate and graduate students at the Vancouver campus.

The tool curates and promotes courses with climate change-related content to students from diverse faculties. Students can browse courses by restrictions (including no- to low-restriction), categories (including climate justice and social science, climate science, and climate change mitigation and adaptation), or by year of study.

UBC launches ‘Vienna House’ – first off-campus living lab research focused on climate, affordability and social equity

May 28, 2021

A proposed six-storey building with approximately 100 units at the intersection of Victoria Drive and Stainsbury Avenue in East Vancouver. The project is a partnership between BC Housing, the City of Vancouver (through the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency), More Than a Roof Housing Society, and the UBC Sustainability Initiative.

The project represents a path-breaking approach that seeks to simultaneously address housing affordability in Vancouver, while offering an innovative, zero-emission building standard.

The UBC Sustainability Initiative will capture and document the knowledge that will emanate from this project and support the dissemination of this knowledge to relevant stakeholders in the region.

UBC breaks ground on $23 million renewable energy hub

May 6, 2021

A new $23 million renewable energy hub will transform an entire city block at the University of British Columbia into a smart energy district, including the province’s first-ever hydrogen refuelling station for light and heavy-duty vehicles.

A key feature is a water electrolyzer that uses electricity from the solar panels to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, resulting in “green hydrogen” — or 100 per cent renewable hydrogen. The process does not emit carbon emissions. It will also include the addition of a solar array, as well as intelligent charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

The electric vehicle charging stations have been installed and will be operational by the end of the summer. The hydrogen refuelling centre is scheduled to open in March next year, followed by the commissioning of the solar array in October.

UBC professor and UN Special Rapporteur David Boyd to elicit Indigenous perspectives for climate-related policies

April 30, 2021

UBC professor and UN Special Rapporteur David Boydhas established a new mechanism - a researchathon - that seeks to elicit Indigenous perspectives, communities and worldviews to shape the development and implementation of climate-related initiatives and policies.

Professor David Boyd (SPPGA; IRES), UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, and Marcos A Orellana, UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights, are gathering information on “sacrifice zones,” places of severe pollution or environmental degradation where profits have been prioritized over people.

Information received will be used for a report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2022.

Universities Must Do More to Address the Climate Emergency

April 26, 2021

The energy youth have shown in putting climate change on the political agenda and global protests in support of social justice this past year remind us that this generation has a vision for a post-pandemic world that is more sustainable and equitable for everyone.

At the University of British Columbia, a groundswell of student climate activism in recent years prompted the university to join organizations around the world in declaring a global climate emergency and committing to full divestment of investments from the fossil fuel industry.

However, more urgent progress is now needed, as the university mobilizes its institutional education, research and innovation capacity in continuing pursuit of climate solutions.

UBC completes initial transitioning of funds through the responsible investing strategy

April 12, 2021

As part of UBC’s commitment to a low-carbon, sustainable future and divesting the endowment, the university is pleased to share that $34M of endowment funds have been transitioned to fossil-fuel-free investments.

In late 2019, the university directed UBC Investment Management Trust Inc. (UBC IMANT) to develop and adopt an investment approach that builds on existing responsible investing practices, further addresses climate risk, and helps to drive positive social change.

UBC and UBC IMANT will continue to demonstrate leadership among universities and endowments as this responsible investing journey continues. Progress planned for 2021 includes divesting further funds to fossil-fuel-free funds with lower emissions, establishing an active ownership policy, and incorporating climate risk analysis into an asset mix study.

Student activism and divestment at UBC

April 10, 2021

Student activism, including on divestment on fossil fuels, is an important part of UBC's climate emergency story. Climate Justice UBC, a student group, prepared and produced this video to tell the story of UBC's fossil fuel divestment from their perspective.

One of the priority areas identified in the resulting Climate Emergency Task Force Report is to, "Demonstrate Institutional Leadership on Climate Justice", and the report makes a number of recommendations on divestment. This report is now being implemented under the mandate of the UBC Board of Governors Sustainability & Climate Action Committee , who consider matters relating to sustainability, climate action, and responsible investment at UBC.

April 9: What is UBC’s responsibility in relation to climate justice?

March 31, 2021

What role can and should UBC play as we strive for climate justice? Join a discussion with UBC faculty and staff committed to this work.

The webinar will include reflections on what climate justice means to the panelists and the role they feel that UBC and postsecondary institutions have in relation to climate justice.

Panelists will consider UBC as an institution engaging in education, research and outreach as well as the role of students, faculty and staff in bringing about climate justice.

Greta Thunberg receives honorary degree from UBC

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and internationally renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg will receive honorary degrees from UBC this spring.

Thunberg, 18, has gained international recognition for challenging world leaders to take immediate, science-based action against climate change, and for sparking climate-change activism in many parts of the world.

A three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, she has given speeches at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; at the European Parliament; in front of the legislatures of Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States; at the 2019 UN Youth Climate Summit in New York, to which she famously traveled on an emissions‐free yacht; and the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid.

Climate Action Plan 2030

March 26, 2021

In December 2019, UBC declared a climate emergency. As a result, the university is developing an ambitious Climate Action Plan (CAP2030) aimed at implementing strategies that will result in emissions reductions from UBC’s core operations by 2030 through clean energy solutions and energy-efficient technologies.

Now we’re turning to you, members of the UBC community, to share your valuable insights around what we can all do to help meet our goals. Come to one of our virtual events to learn more about CAP2030 and fill out a survey to share your perspective!

All survey participants will be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift card.