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[en] The 2nd Climate Change Technology Conference (CCTC2009) was held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on May 12-15, 2009. CCTC2009 is a Canadian/International forum for engineers, scientists, policy advisors, industry and other stakeholders to share new information and ideas for dealing with climate change and global warming. It also provided an opportunity for participants to keep abreast of emerging techniques and technologies for the mitigation of and adaptation to, the impacts of climate change. The conference theme: 'Climate Change ..... Deal with It!' emphasized the need to develop practical engineering and administrative responses to address the impacts of climate change and global warming.
[en] This abstract presents research from two studies investigating urban flood perceptions and mitigative behaviours of private individuals in Canada. The first study, completed in July, 2006, investigated perceptions of overland flooding and sewer backup resulting from extreme rainfall events in Peterborough, Ontario. The second, completed in November, 2007, investigated sewer backup perceptions of homeowners in Edmonton, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario. The research studies sought to explore: Hazard and risk perceptions of individuals affected by overland flooding and sewer backup; Knowledge of mitigative options, and mitigative actions taken by individual residents to reduce the risk of basement flood damage; Attributions of responsibility for urban flood damages; Awareness of municipal actions designed to reduce urban flood risk; Satisfaction with the cost sharing tools of insurance and government relief.
[en] Professional Engineers are to large degree stewards of the environment. Our students in the course of their career may be called upon to make decisions that could have a significant impact on the environment and society at large. There are many high profile media issues today that require a critical analysis in order to make rational decisions. These decisions while taking into consideration the political climate of the day must still reflect sound technology and science. In the field of Chemical Engineering, process design is an excellent example. Although energy efficiency has in general improved significantly and the inherent safety of the units have improved as well there is no ideal design. There are always tradeoffs to take into consideration and one must recognize that there is always some measure of risk. It is vital that our students will recognize this in their professional practice and exercise a high level of skepticism when assessing any issue that they may have to deal with not just design. The use of life cycle analysis is an important tool to introduce students to this issue. (author)
[en] Energy cannibalism refers to an effect where rapid growth of an entire energy producing (or conserving) technology industry creates a need for energy that uses (or cannibalizes) the energy of existing power plants or devices. For the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to grow while remaining net greenhouse gas emission mitigators, they must grow at a rate slower than the inverse of their energy payback time. This constraint exposes a current market failure that significantly undervalues the physical reality of embodied energy in products or processes deployed to mitigate GHG emissions and indicates potential solutions. (author)
[en] This paper examines a portion of the thermodynamics of global warming. The calculations use the endothermic photosynthesis reaction and yearly measures of CO_2 uptake to determine the amount of energy that is absorbed by forest cover each year. The energy absorption value of forest coverage determines the yearly cost of deforestation. The calculations reveal that 3.92 * 10"1"5 kJ less solar energy is absorbed by global forest coverage because of deforestation each year. The energy is enough to warm the atmosphere by 0.00008 °C / year. By comparison the same amount of energy represents 0.001 % of the atmospheric energy gains between 1995 and 2003. The results of this paper raise questions about the nature of global warming and the possibility that thermodynamic contributions to global climate change are significant. (author)
[en] This paper provides a summary of the findings from the literature scan, directed at identifying engineering literature that relates to road and associated infrastructure vulnerabilities in light of climate change. The scan was carried out over the course of several weeks in late 2007/early 2008. Although many Canadian transportation agencies are thinking about the potential vulnerabilities and associated engineering impacts, very few agencies have completed any formal analysis at this time. A few agencies currently have some on-going activities that are expected to be completed in 2008, but the majority have not started to examine the engineering aspects of how the change will need to be addressed in design, construction and maintenance. Although climate change and it's impact on transportation and specifically roads and associated structures is appearing in various reports and documents across Canada, available detailed information on engineering impacts was limited to nonexistent. This paper includes a brief introduction and background on climate change in general and the related predicted impacts on road infrastructure and associated structures, with primary focus on bridges. These sections are followed by project scope and objectives and methodology of assessment. The summary of findings provides some more specific details and has been prepared using available public agency documents that were located during the aforementioned search. Finally a few closing comments are provided. (author)
[en] In today's increasingly interdisciplinary post secondary educational landscape sustainability is the key recurring constant that is appearing in the form of green campuses, greening existing curricula and inventing new majors and hybrid disciplines in which art, design and creativity are taking on new value and cache on campus. In this paper I will discuss strategies and conceptual models for intersecting sustainability, education and engineering with design disciplines by discussing some of the strategies being practiced today. The primary goal of this paper is to advocate for bringing design thinking into numerous disciplines as a catalyst and as a means of addressing the complex needs of our endangered planet in a responsible and innovative way that could also be honest and effective. (author)
[en] In the United States (US) there are currently voluntary reporting programs (EPA Climate Leaders, Carbon Disclosure Project and The Climate Registry), organized market-based trading platforms (Chicago Climate Exchange and The Green Exchange) and proposed regional mandatory cap and trade programs in California, the Northeast, the West and the Midwest. The past success of the US Acid Rain 'cap-and-trade' system market-based format together with the availability of the European Union Emission Trading Scheme to serve as a template for future greenhouse gas regulations is promising as the US can participate in the world wide carbon markets already established. (author)
[en] The oil and natural gas industry is addressing the challenges of meeting the world's growing energy demands in a responsible manner. Real and sustainable actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are an important aspect of achieving this objective. Such GHG reductions will require diverse strategies including the deployment of emerging emission reduction technologies. The policy frameworks for deploying these technologies and achieving these reductions might vary among countries and regions but a robust, flexible and consistent global system of accounting for such reductions is needed to ensure that a harmonized framework is in place when quantifying these emission reductions at the individual initiative and project levels. To this end, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) have collaborated on a series of guidelines to promote the credible, consistent, and transparent quantification of GHG emission reductions from emission reduction projects that are of specific interest to the oil and natural gas industry, and of general interest to the energy industry at large. The first document - the Oil and Natural Gas Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Projects  (referred to as Project Guidelines) - provides general guidance on applying common principles for estimating and reporting GHG emission reductions. A second report of this study: Carbon Capture and Geological Storage Emission Reduction Family  (referred to as the CCS Guidelines) provides a transparent framework for quantifying GHG emission reductions associated with carbon capture and geological storage (CCS) activities. These documents build on earlier protocol development work contained in the Petroleum Industry Guidelines for Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions  and the API Compendium of Emissions Estimating Methodologies for the Oil and Gas Industry . The intent of this summary and corresponding presentation is to provide a high-level overview of the CCS Guidelines and to demonstrate the recommended assessment framework via two types of CCS projects. The CCS projects types addressed include: (a) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations, and (b) geological storage of acid gas. The reader is directed to the referenced documents for additional details. The focus of the CCS guidelines is on specific technical considerations and the assessment of project emission reductions over the entire CCS chain - capture, transport, injection and storage. The guidelines address potential baseline candidates and scenario assessment, potential emission sources, and monitoring considerations. Case studies for potential applications are provided to demonstrate the application of emission reduction principles. Key messages include: Growing industry experience with CCS can be used to develop an overall approach to managing geological storage and reducing the risk of unintended physical leakage; Comprehensive examination of possible sites, with appropriate site selection for geological storage, as well as operation and monitoring, are all components of a risk management approach; Good practices in monitoring are especially important for CCS to be a safe and secure GHG emission reduction option; Monitoring should be based on a site-specific risk assessment, with monitoring methods appropriate for the identified risks and to assure the long-term environmental integrity of the storage formation. Technologies for the capture of CO_2 from fossil fuel use and long-term storage underground offer significant potential for meeting society's energy needs while mitigating GHG emissions. The guidance provided by the industry sets the foundation for technically robust methods and plays a key role in future efforts to implement CCS projects and properly account for their full potential to mitigate GHG emissions globally. (author)
[en] Impacts on forests will vary regionally across Canada, with continental interior locations likely to experience greater extremes in temperature and precipitation. At the species level there will be short-term physiological responses to climate variability and long-term genetic responses to future climate change. Trees that are adapted to the climate at the time of establishment may be considerably maladapted to the climate at harvest time, displaying reduced productivity and increased frequency of pest attack. Although our ability to pro-actively mitigate possible short-term impacts to current climate change is limited, we have the opportunity to assist species and populations with migration to climatically-suitable habitats. This is a management activity called “assisted migration”, and represents an important forest management activity to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change. Other possible management interventions to assist the adaptation of tree species include; improved tree breeding, altered silviculture activities, shorter rotation periods, use of exotics and fast-growing species. (author)