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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Finding the way forward on climate change

UOIT features extensive research related to clean and green energy

Paris, France is hosting the the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference from November 30 to December 11.
Paris, France is hosting the the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference from November 30 to December 11.

It has been nearly two decades since the international community came together with a formal plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and put a stop to global warming.

The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 was premised on two key acknowledgements: that global warming existed, and that human activities such as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were the most likely reason the problem was accelerating.

The Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005. It committed signatory nations to binding targets on cutting CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels. In 2011, Canada withdrew from Kyoto, arguing that major emitters such as China and India were not required to cut their emissions. Canada wanted a new international agreement that included commitments from all major emitters, including countries in the developing world.

As international leaders and global science experts gather in France from Monday, November 30 to Friday, December 11 for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (21st session of the Conference of the Parties (or COP 21)), hopes are high a meaningful new agreement will be achieved. And Canada is once again back at the table.

Among those in France in advance of COP21 was the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT) Dr. Dan Hoornweg, a Professor in the Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science.

“Paris is still recovering from the terrorist attacks of November 13, so the joie de vivre is temporarily strained, but everyone agrees the city needs to stay open and COP21 must go ahead,” said Dr. Hoornweg, who regularly blogs on environmental issues and advocates new approaches to urban planning to help achieve sustainability goals. “The citizens of cities are critical for any climate agreement, as they are responsible for about 80 per cent of the world’s GHG emissions, and they will be especially impacted by a changing climate.”

More evidence of rising temperatures

On November 25, 2015 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicated the year 2015 remains on track to be the warmest on record – and the first where the average global surface temperature surpassed the symbolic milestone of being one degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era. This has resulted in:

  • Rising sea level.
  • Glacial melting, especially at the Earth’s poles.
  • Increased global precipitation.
  • Changing ecosystems.

Some experts say a two-degree temperature increase above pre-industrial levels will set off an irreversible spiral of increasingly warmer conditions, potentially leading to:

  • Dramatic sea level rise that will threaten oceanside communities (e.g. one quarter of the city of Miami, Florida is less than one metre above sea level).
  • Melting of permafrost in northern climates, releasing methane and CO2 from the soil.
  • Warmer oceans with decreased capacity to hold CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Stronger and more frequent storms such as hurricanes.
  • More droughts and floods.
  • Less available fresh water.
  • Major ecosystem changes.
  • Greater spread of diseases.

Various links to UOIT faculty conducting research in alternatives technologies, green energy and environmental issues (partial list from the Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science; Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; and Faculty of Science):