(October 26) PICS is Hiring!

PICS is hiring both an Associate Director and a Researcher in Residence, Negative Emissions Technology.

Ged McLean, the Associate Director of PICS for the past two years has been a driving force behind envisioning and implementing the new PICS strategic research agenda. This includes the launch of their new Opportunity Projects and $1M Theme Partnership Program. PICS is now ready for its next chapter of growth and impact – to further deepen and expand the institute’s network of climate solution experts and leaders, who are working collaboratively on this most urgent challenge of our time.

As part of this growth, PICS is hiring for a new position, Researcher in Residence, Negative Emissions Technology, which offers an exceptional opportunity to be at the cutting edge of climate solutions research and engagement on negative emissions technologies. Part of the role will be working with the international team behind PICSs’ newly announced Solid Carbon Theme Partnership project, which plan to turn the greenhouse gas CO2 into rock, by permanently injecting it beneath the Earth’s ocean floor.

PICS has a mission to help Canada and the world drive towards net-negative emissions with adapted and resilient communities and ecosystems. They invite appropriately qualified candidates to consider joining their dedicated team.

PICS is located at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC. Both applications are due by December 1, 2019.


(October 28) Event – From NYC to YVR: New York’s Waterfront as a model for Vancouver

Despite being surrounded by water, Vancouver doesn’t have a comprehensive waterfront plan. This November, City Council will vote on a number of motions that impact our water and so it’s the perfect time to hear from Roland Lewis, President of the NYC’s Waterfront Alliance.

New York established a comprehensive planning model for its waterfront to establish a clear vision that includes working, living, ecosystems, transportation and access. He’ll share what he’s learned advocating for, supporting, and now monitoring this plan and how it’s shaped the city.

This event is hosted by the Georgia Strait Alliance, who for the past five years has led the Waterfront Initiative – a stakeholder-led movement to bring this level of thinking and vision to Vancouver’s waterfront.

This event will be held at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue on October 28, from 7-10pm. To register for this event please click here.


(October 22) Just how many trees should we plant to stay under 1.5 degrees? Two ecologists have an idea.

In the latest IPCC Report, the panel recommends adding 1 billion hectares of forest to limit global warming by 1.5°C by 2050. Ecologists Jean Francois Bastin and Tom Crowther and their co-authors wanted to figure out whether today’s earth could support that many extra trees – and where they might go. The ecologists are researchers at the Crowther Lab based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and have determined that around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide are suitable for reforestation, with Canada ranked #3 on the reforestation list. These 0.9 billion hectares would be equivalent in size to the US and would translate to 1-1.5 trillion trees capable of capturing two-thirds of human made carbon emissions.

A Benchmark for Global Action: “The restoration of trees remains among the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation,” states Dr. Jean Francois Bastin, lead author for the study.

The researchers mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate. Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests.

Their findings highlight global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date. However, climate change will alter this potential tree coverage. We estimate that if we cannot deviate from the current trajectory, the global potential canopy cover may shrink by ~223 million hectares by 2050, with the vast majority of losses occurring in the tropics.

“Our study provides a benchmark for a global action plan, showing where new forests can be restored around the globe.. Action is urgent, and governments must now factor this into their national strategies to tackle climate change,” concludes Dr. Bastin.

Canada is #3 for Reforestation Potential: The study also shows which parts of the world are most suited to forest restoration. The greatest potential can be found in just six countries: Russia (151 million hectares); the US (103 million hectares); Canada (78.4 million hectares); Australia (58 million hectares); Brazil (49.7 million hectares); and China (40.2 million hectares).

Many current climate models are wrong in expecting climate change to increase global tree cover, the study warns. It finds that there is likely to be an increase in the area of northern boreal forests in regions such as Siberia, but tree cover there averages only 30 to 40 percent. These gains would be outweighed by the losses suffered in dense tropical forests, which typically have 90 to 100 percent tree cover.

To learn more about author Thomas Crowther, click here.

To learn more about the global tree cover, click here.


(November 8) Lecture: Mobilizing Finance for Climate-Resilient Greener Growth through Water Sector Interventions

On November 8th, Laila Kasuri, a development practitioner and engineer will provide a comprehensive overview of climate-resilient growth and discuss the role that water plays in the green economy. In particular, Laila will discuss some of the limits of a mitigation-based approach to achieving sustainability and highlight the importance of adaptation in achieving climate-resilient growth through interventions in the water sector. Three areas of support are discussed including policy development; investment planning; and mobilizing innovative finance – with a discussion of supporting case studies. This discussion can help to address two questions, namely how can climate change adaptation –in particular, adaptation to water variability – help the achievement of sustainable green growth. And how can climate-resilient growth contribute to reducing the impacts of water variability? Answering these questions can help water practitioners in better contributing to and mobilizing finance for climate-resilient, greener growth while also developing solutions for sustainable water management.

Laila Kasuri has more than nine years of experience in the water and green growth space, working on projects in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Jordan. She has played a key role in providing advisory support to national and municipal governments on green policy and strategy development; developing sectoral plans and investment pipelines; conducting technical assessments, spatial analysis and feasibility studies; project design, appraisal and management; and stakeholder engagement. Currently, she is working as a Water Investment and Policy Solutions Analyst with the Global Green Growth Institute, where she is involved in strategy and business development for low-carbon, bankable investments in the water sector.

This talk will take place at SFU Burnaby, TASC 2, Room 8570 at 10:30 am. Seating is limited, to guarantee your spot RSVP to Dr. Nastaran Arianpoo; Research Associate at PWRC, REM, at nastaran_a@sfu.ca.


(October 31) Webinar: The Benefits of Salmon Safe Development

Salmon-Safe B.C. is one of Canada’s first and only certification programs linking land management practices with the protection of urban watersheds. By adopting Salmon-Safe standards, developers, landowners, and property managers can help protect salmon habitat and water quality.

This webinar is the second in a three-part Introduction to Salmon-Safe Certification for Urban Development webinar series. The Benefits of Salmon-Safe Certification for Urban Development is taking place on October 31 from 12-1:15 pm, and will include multiple perspectives on the benefits of Salmon-Safe, including presentations from Mountain Equipment Co-op (a Salmon-Safe certified site) and DIALOG. The webinar will be an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Salmon-Safe certification and how it can benefit the urban environment. The webinar is open to all those involved in sustainable land and water management practices, including development, design, and building professionals, government agencies, and property owners and managers.

To register, click here.


(October 17) ACT Report: Paying for Urban Infrastructure Adaptation in Canada

ACT has released an updated report: Paying for Urban Infrastructure in Canada: An Analysis of Current and Emerging Economic Instruments for Local Governments. 

This report updates and supplements ACT’s 2015 report Paying for Urban Infrastructure Adaptation in Canada: An Analysis of Existing and Potential Economic Instruments for Local Governments. While governments of all levels have made significant progress in adapting to climate change, action across Canada still does not sufficiently address the growing risks that climate change poses.

Since 2015, as the need for adaptation to the current and projected impacts of climate change has become more evident, governments at all levels across Canada have made greater use of various tools to fund and finance infrastructure adaptation. Legislative changes and support from provincial and federal levels of government have led to the emergence of new tools and sources of funding for climate change adaptation and mitigation (emissions reduction). For example, since 2015 several tools have emerged in Canada with the potential to leverage private financing to support infrastructure adaptation.

This report provides descriptions and examples of new and emerging tools, as well as existing tools that have experienced recent uptake in Canadian communities. It also highlights opportunities and examples of tools that have the potential to support the integration of adaptation and mitigation (emissions reduction). It concludes with a set of recommendations for municipal, provincial, federal, and Indigenous governments, suggesting that they reduce legislative and administrative barriers to funding infrastructure adaptation; increase adaptation funding where available; and seize opportunities to create and employ funding and financing tools that support an LCR approach, helping governments realize adaptation and mitigation goals simultaneously.

To read the full report, please click here.


(November 6) Climate Change and its Effects in our Communities

On November 6, 2019 join the conversation about how climate change will impact communities. The Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) is hosting a full day workshop that will be focused on how professionals have accounted climate change as part of their design. The workshop will be followed by an informal networking event hosted by the Students and Young Professional Group.

The event is hosted at the Mountain Room at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. Lunch + Refreshments/Snacks will be provided at the workshop.

Keynote speakers include Mike Sullivan from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Tina Neale from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. This is in addition to professional experts in Climate Change.

ABOUT CWRA: The Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) is a national registered charity comprised of members from the public, private and academic sectors who are committed to promoting responsible, innovative and effective water resources management.

Formed in 1947 as the Western Canada Reclamation Association, CWRA is the only national organization addressing all water resources issues across all regions of Canada. We offer a range of services and programs focused on professional development, providing expertise and advice, education, and collaboration.

To learn more about this event and register, please click here.


(Apply Now) Climate Adaptation & Resilience Specialist

Climate Adaptation & Resilience Senior Analyst, Sustainable Finance

Location: London or New York preferred

Reporting to: Head of Sustainable Finance Analytics & Research, S&P Global Ratings

Key Roles and Responsibilities

This role is responsible for coordinating and leading our research and application of climate adaptation and resilience analytics in S&P Global Ratings as developed by the Sustainable Finance Team.

  • Support the Head of Analytics & Research to ensure high quality and timely analytics on climate adaptation and resilience, both in credit ratings and new products
  • Set standards for the quality application of adaptation analytical approach in Green Evaluations
  • Advise on the application of climate adaptation and resilience analytics and communicate resulting guidance to all analysts
  • Contribute to excellent customer service and a positive working environment

Success will be measured by:

  • Quality of writing in Green Evaluation Reports related to adaptation as well as input on resilience in ESG Evaluation and credit ratings analysis
  • Orderly production of high quality Evaluations as volumes grow
  • Efficient steering –high quality opinions delivered to meet time expectations of the market
  • Global consistency across regions and practices in Green Evaluations related to adaptation
  • Compliance with relevant policies and procedures

Minimum and Preferred Experience/Skills (Basic Qualifications)

Committed to analytical quality; exceptional analytical and organizational skills; strong knowledge of S&P Global Ratings’ methodologies and analytical approaches, especially related to Sustainable Finance

  • At least five years of relevant analytical experience, with some bias towards science-based qualification as well as finance/economics
  • Comprehensive knowledge of climate change adaptation and resilience, including physical risk scenario analysis and probabilistic modelling
  • Strong communications skills and ability to represent the company at variety of high profile external conferences related to adaptation, physical climate risk, the application of Green Evaluation on adaptation.

To learn more about this job, or to apply please click here.


(October 16) Webinar: How big data can quantify community social risks – from neighborhood to country levels.

A series of webinars entitled the Local Climate Resilience Webinars Series covers planning, financing, and investment best practices towards climate resilience.

The third webinar in this series: How Big Data can Quantify Community Social and Climate Risks – from neighbourhoods to country levels takes place on October 16th. This webinar will demonstrate how to use big data to calculate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures at the neighbourhood level to quantify investment risks. ESG measures can now be captured at the neighbourhood level and are used to evaluate the stability, resiliency, and economic vitality of a community. The webinar includes Breckinridge Capital Advisors which are using this analysis to assess ESG risk in its municipal level portfolios.

Panelists include:

Suchi Gopal; PhD, professor at Boston University conducting research on spatial analysis and modeling, GIS, data mining and information visualization, and artificial neural networks.

Joshua Pitts; a data scientist and software engineer, with a focus on integration of unique data sets to model complex systems.

Andrew Teras; Senior VP and senior research analyst at Breckinridge. In his role, Andrew performs municipal credit analysis.

Michael Bonanno; VP President, research analyst and the municipal sustainability lead at Breckinridge. Bonanno performs municipal credit analysis and contributes the ongoing development of Breckinridge’s ESG frameworks.

To get caught up, the slides for previous webinars can be found here.

To register for this webinar, please click here. 


(Apply now) Environmental Innovators Award

The Environmental Managers Association of BC (EMA of BC) has announced that submissions for its Environmental Innovators Award are open. This award is part of the EMA of BC’s annual workshop taking place on March 5th, 2020.

Students of BC post-secondary institutions who are currently enrolled in an environmentally-related technology, undergraduate, graduate or legal program are invited to submit a poster based on their original academic research for consideration of the Environmental Innovator’s Award. A total of $1500 will be awarded to students of the top three posters!

Up to eight (8) posters will be selected for display during the 2020 EMA of BC workshop. Students of the selected posters are asked to attend the workshop to engage with participants. Up to two (2) students per selected poster will be given FREE attendance to the workshop. This is a great opportunity to network with industry professionals and explore your career path.

Judges will determine and announce the top three (3) posters at the workshop. Students of the top posters will be awarded the following:

  • First Place: $750
  • Second Place: $500
  • Third Place: $250

Submission Details: Students must submit a 250 word abstract (2 page maximum), clearly articulating the relevance of the research to BC’s environmental industry, its originality, and its potential significance via email to awards@emaofbc.com.


  • Abstract Submissions Deadline: December 31st, 2019
  • Notification of Acceptance: January 7th, 2020
  • Final Poster Submission: February 15th, 2020
  • Workshop at the BCIT Downtown Vancouver Campus – March 5th, 2020

(February 19-21) Adaptation Canada 2020 Conference: Raising our Game on Resilience

With a rise in global temperatures, we know Canada is already facing critical challenges and more are on the horizon. Together we’ll explore the latest on climate projections, impacts and opportunities for risk reduction.This conference is unique. The conference will feature keynote speakers Per Espen Stoknes and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, and will be an opportunity for those working in adaptation to be a part of a confluence of energy and expertise in climate change adaptation brought by Canadians from different sectors, disciplines, and regions of the country.

Building on the success of the 2016 conference in Ottawa, Adaptation Canada 2020 rolls out February 19-21 for three intensive days, plus ample opportunities for networking and socializing. It all takes place in Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast, on the traditional, ancestral
and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations.
The Adaptation Canada 2020 Conference is at that centre of who’s who and what’s what when it comes to innovation on climate change adaptation. ACT is looking forward to attending and hosting a session on green infrastructure at this unique and energetic conference.
We recently launched early bird pricing, which will be in place until December 2, 2019, and offers the opportunity to save $75 on registration. Click here to visit the website and learn more.

(September 30) Partners for Climate Protection Webinar

The Low Carbon Resilience (LCR) and Green Asset Management Webinar gives a detailed explanation of LCR, discusses the  cutting edge Integrated Climate Action for BC Communities Initiative (ICABCCI), and outlines various LCR interventions such as green roofs and rain gardens. Presented by ACT ED Deborah Harford, the webinar gives participants:

  • A definition of LCR
  • The climate imperative for pursing LCR
  • An overview of the LCR conceptual process
  • LCR Synergies & Co-benefits
  • LCR Barriers & Opportunities
  • ICABCCI Survey #1 Results

The presentation is continued by James Lane, Manager of Natural Heritage and Forestry in the Municipality of York. Lane gives an overview and the imperative for asset management, and discusses other topics in depth such as:

  • Managing green infrastructure as an asset
  • Incorporating green infrastructure into an asset management plan
  • Creating and implementing a green infrastructure plan.

To listen to the webinar, please click here.

To view the slides please click here.


(October 30) Webinar: Farming Methods that Thrive in a Decarbonized World

The application of technology for agriculture will become increasingly computerized in the decades ahead, including moisture sensors, drones, smart irrigation, terrain contour mapping, self driving and GPS enable tractors, advances in ecosystem services, and better soil management can help farmers produce food more sustainably. We see these advancements in agriculture through an LCR (Low Carbon Resilience) lens, whereby producing food more sustainably is a combination of adapting to an environment with changing soils, climatic conditions, and weather, while using technology mitigate and significantly reduce our carbon emissions.

This webinar will touch on the research and technology that is aiming to transform farming entirely. Panelists for this event include:

  • Peter Byck: Peter Byck is a professor of practice at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Cronkite School of Journalism. He is the director, producer and writer of Carbon Nation.
  • Debbie Reed: Debbie Reed has been selected to guide the new ESM Consortium as its Executive Director. Debbie has been working on this project and its activities since its inception. She has focused on GHG mitigation and ecosystem services from the agricultural sector since 1997, having worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as the Director of Legislative Affairs and Agricultural Policy; and in the U.S. Senate as a Senior Staff on natural resource and agricultural issues for U.S. Senator Robert Kerrey of Nebraska.
  • Rene Villalobos: J.Rene Villalobos is an associate professor in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. His research interests are in the areas of logistics, automated quality systems, manufacturing systems and applied operations research.
  • Dorn Cox: Is a founding member of the Farm Hack community, the executive director for GreenStart, and a farmer working a 250-acre a multigenerational family farm with his wife, Sarah, and two boys. Dorn’s participatory research focuses on collaborative open source research and development for regenerative agricultural systems. Dorn is also a co-founder of the FarmOS software platform and has developed and shared systems for small-scale grain and oil seeds processing, biofuel production, and no-till and low-till equipment and cover crop systems to increase carbon capture and soil health.

To register for the event on Wednesday October 30 from 1:15 to 2:45 EST click here.


(September 25) IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

In the report, released at a conference on September 25, 100 scientists from more than 30 countries convened to assess the latest scientific knowledge to determine the impacts of climate change on ocean, coastal, polar, and mountain ecosystems as well as the human communities that depend on them. Adaptation capacities, as well as options for achieving climate-resilient pathways are also presented.

The report touches on observed impact areas:

  • Observed physical changes: mass loss from ice sheets and glaciers, and increasing sea level rise (projected to rise by 1m by 2050, not 2100 as previously predicted).
  • Observed impacts on ecosystems: changes in snow and permafrost cover have contributed to the distribution of ecologically, culturally, and economically important plants and species, altering ecosystem function.
  • Observed impacts of people and ecosystem services: the shrinking Arctic cryosphere has led to negative impacts on food security, water security and quality, livelihoods, health and well being, infrastructure, and tourism. Communities have also been exposed to climate related hazards such as tropical cyclones, sea level rise and flooding, and permafrost thaw.

And continues to outline projected changes and risks including:

  • Projected physical changes: global-scale mass glacier loss impacting river runoff and local hazards, increasing oceanic temperature, acidity, and stratification, and extreme sea level rise by 2050.
  • Projected risks s on ecosystems: Massive decrease in global biomass of marine animal communities, their production, and fisheries catch potential . We can expect reduced biodiversity and along with that, decreased ecosystem functionality.
  • Projected risks for people and ecosystem services: Cryosphere changes are expected to impact water resources and their uses, such as hydropower. Risks to human communities in low lying coastal ares are exacerbated.

The report continues by outlining challenges, strengthening response options, and enabling conditions, which support an Low Carbon Resilience (LCR) approach:

C4. Enabling climate resilience and sustainable development depends critically on urgent and ambitious emissions reductions coupled with coordinated sustained and increasingly ambitious adaptation actions (very high confidence).

To read the full report, click here.


(October 17) Beyond Borders: Tackling embodied emissions through local climate action

Join ACT representatives at the event Beyond Borders: Tackling embodied emissions through local climate action to discuss the complex topic of embodied emissions in cities and communities. Experts and decision makers from Vancouver, the U.S., and the U.K. will convene to discuss emissions reductions from sources that stem from outside their boundaries and the resulting embodied carbon that passes and accumulates through global supply chains.

Join this PICS-hosted event and learn from the challenges and successes of leaders in the field:

  • Anthony Pak, building life cycle analysis consultant and founder of the Vancouver chapter of the Embodied Carbon Network
  • Patrick Enright, Green Building Engineer at the City of Vancouver and lead on “Big Move 5,” targeting embodied emissions in construction
  • Caterina Brandmayr, Senior Policy Analyst with Green Alliance in the UK who works on local government policy for embodied emissions (joining remotely)
  • Abel Chavez, Associate Professor in Environment and Sustainability at Western Colorado University with expertise in urban emissions accounting and resilience planning
  • Georgia Piggot, Staff Scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute who focuses on low-carbon transitions at an urban scale
  • Hannah Teicher, event moderator and PICS Researcher-in-Residence for the Built Environment

This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so please register here.

You may also join remotely via webcast. https://www.sfu.ca/itservices/technical/webcasting-and-video-recording/webcast-archive/2019/10/2019-10-17-pics/



(September 19) Livable Cities Forum Keynote Speakers Annouced: Register Now!

Along with ICLEI, SHIFT Collaborative, and the City of Victoria, we are extremely excited to host Jennifer Keesmaat as a keynote speaker at this years Livable Cities Forum in Victoria, BC, October 28-30.

Recently announced keynote speaker Jennifer Keesmaat is passionate about creating places where people flourish. Named one of the “most powerful people in Canada” by Maclean’s, one of the “most influential” by Toronto Life, and one of the top Women of Influence in Canada, she spent five years as Toronto’s Chief City Planner, where she was celebrated for her forward thinking and collaborative approach to city-building.

Register by September 25, 2019 to attend the full Livable Cities Conference for $659*.

Our program provides a variety of unique formats including workshops, plenaries, and dynamic sessions to highlight our 3 conference themes:
  • Exploring the Climate Change and Health Nexus
  • Role of Infrastructure in Building Better Neighbourhoods
  • Advancing Low Carbon Resilience for more Livable Communities
  • Read more about the program >

*ICLEI/BARC member discounts, and limited day rates and student rates are also available. Processing fee and taxes will apply.

Register for the Conference here. 

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