Expand, strengthen and coordinate climate research at UBC

Research and teaching are core to UBC’s contributions to climate action. Gaps in our understanding of the complexities and consequences of climate change remain. We seek to understand the pathways towards a just and equitable future and meaningful action at the scale of the crisis.

UBC is recognized globally as a hub of climate research and action. Our climate researchers and scholars are making considerable contributions, with strengths spanning many disciplines. They are collaborating with government, industry, academic and community partners to deepen our understanding of all aspects of the climate emergency.
The university is invested in further developing the capacity of faculty members, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to engage with climate change research and scholarship.



Recommendations from the climate CETF report focused on creating a new cross campus interdisciplinary Institute, Centre or Body, and providing new opportunities for community engaged scholarship, with priority to IBPOC individuals.

Short-term actions so far include hiring for leadership positions, new faculty hires, and pursing funding opportunities for major research projects and new cohorts of climate scholars.
Centre for Climate Justice: World-renowned climate activist and author – Naomi Klein – has joined UBC faculty and is playing a key role in building the new Centre, co-leading this work with an interim executive committee to bring together activists, policy makers, elders, scholars and frontline communities. Oct 2021. Learn more.

Faculty of Arts Climate Emergency Cluster: The Faculty of Arts’ hiring cluster of five new positions on the Climate Emergency through the President’s Academic Excellence Initiative is being considered as a top priority to address the lack of coordination in UBC climate change research, gaps in expertise within Arts, and gaps in the Arts curriculum. Sep 2021.

Climate Change Research Symposium: The virtual symposium brought together climate change researchers from multiple faculties to enhance connections between clusters of relevant research activity and the potential of UBC researchers to impact climate change through research and innovation. Oct 2021. Learn more.

Integrated Adaptation and Mitigation Assessment (IBAMA) Framework: Research to inform adaptation and mitigation strategies for multifamily buildings supported by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions PICS Opportunity Project Program. Tool that was developed in use by partners at BC Housing, and learnings will be shared with the BC Climate Action Secretariat and other levels of government and industry. Phase 2 Pilot to be complete by 2022. Learn more.

Living with Water: Research aims to develop an integrated response to sea level rise, in particular sustainable solutions to flooding caused by climate change.Research goals include the integration of community values and Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in coastal flood risk assessment, and to develop decision-support tools for emerging alternate flood adaptation solutions, such as multifunctional dikes and nature-based solutions. Five-year project supported by $1M PICS funding. Jan 2021. Learn more.

Tellurium Boosted Li-S Batteries for Zero Emission Vehicles: This project aims to develop a solid-state, lithium tellurium-sulfur (Li-TeSx) battery with doubled energy capacity and higher safety than the conventional lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles today. Four-year project supported by the PICS Opportunity Project Program. April 2021. Learn more.

$323,500 Collaborative Research PhD Pilot: The Climate Emergency Fund has awarded $323,500 to invest in acollaborative PhD cohort on the climate emergency. June 2021.

Developing Innovative Solar Energy Conversion: The Laboratory for Solar Energy & Fuels (LSEF), under the leadership of Associate Professor Alexander Uhl, is developing innovative solar energy conversion tools and processes that incorporate photovoltaics, solar fuels, and thin film semiconductorsto achieve emissions reductions. Sep 2021. Learn more.

Wilden Living Lab: A collaboration between UBC, FortisBC, Wilden, AuthenTech Homes, the City of Kelowna, Okanagan College and more, to build, test and monitor the sustainability and energy consumption of two new homes – one built to current code and the other using new building technology and renewable energy sources. Now entering phase 2. Sep 2021. Learn more.

Forestry Co-Generation Waste Repurposing: Dr. Shahria Alam and Dr. Sumi Siddiqua are working with Tolko industries to look at alternate ways to deal with co-generation waste – adding fly ash to concrete production and avoiding landfill. April 2021. Learn more.

Green Construction Research Training Centre: UBC and Okanagan College collaboration to create an innovative Green Construction Research & Training Centre providing multi-disciplinary research and training for students and researchers focused on green construction. Learn more.

Hydrail, Zero-Emission Rail Technology: UBC Okanagan’s Sustainable Transport Safety Lab, Hydrogen in Motion Inc. and Southern Railway of BC are developing the first in-service hydrail locomotive in North America – using a zero-emission fuel cell / battery hybrid to replace a traditional diesel internal combustion engine. Sep 2021. Learn more.

Renewable Energy Hub: Launched new $23 million renewable energy hub to transform an entire city block at the University of British Columbia into a smart energy district, including the province’s first-ever hydrogen refueling station for light and heavy-duty vehicles. The energy hub will become a city-scale, “living laboratory” that explores critical links between energy, transportation and urban design. May 2021. Learn more.

Hydrogen Blending Test Bed: A research collaboration between UBCO and UVic campuses is addressing hydrogen blending, rail, combustion, synthetic fuels, aviation, liquid hydrogen storage, fuel cell and battery materials. Designed to support FortisBC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, and support the Federal Government’s Hydrogen Strategy for Canada goals. Jan 2021. Learn more.

Clean Tech Hub: A central innovation space at UBC Okanagan that catalyzes academic-industry collaborations to promote clean technologies, help Canadian companies to bring their technologies and products to domestic and international markets, and support Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Jan 2021. Learn more.

Related Resources

SEEDS Sustainability Program

The SEEDS program creates applied research and interdisciplinary partnerships between students, faculty, staff and community partners. Spark collaborations across disciplines and organizations, and tests solutions to sustainability challenges using our Campus as a Living Lab.

Schooling the World

Examine the assumption of cultural superiority behind education aid projects, which overtly aim to help children “escape” to a “better life” – despite mounting evidence of the environmental, social, and mental health costs of our own modern consumer lifestyles.

How to Save a Planet

Journalist Alex Blumberg and scientist and policy nerd Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson look into what we need to do to solve the climate crisis and how we get it done.