Guest And Plenary Speakers:  Topics


Henry F Hall Building

Both the realities of human existence and our general perception of these realities are changing very rapidly. The duties of the professional engineer remain as they always have been – to work with the elements of the natural world to create systems for the benefit of at least some segment of humanity, and often for all. The very success of our species has led to a situation in which this planet’s finite resources must be considered in all future planning. This conference is dedicated to the study and exposition of the status and prospects of engineering in support of a bright future for humanity in the midst of a rapidly changing and uncertain environment, both physical and sociological.

There are basically two approaches to dealing with climate change. One approach is to reduce the forcing functions that may be causing the problems; a second is to take steps that allow people and communities to cope with its impact. Mitigation refers to the policies and measures designed to reduce these forcing functions. While mitigation tackles the likely causes of climate change, adaptation focuses on its effects. Adaptation refers to the adoption of policies and practices to prepare for the inevitable effects of climate change.



Henry F Hall Building; Andrew Jones, Chair


STEPHEN DE BOER, Deputy Chief Negotiator and Director General, Climate Change International Environment Canada:
This presentation highlights the challenges and opportunities facing countries in the global fight against climate change. Specifically it looks at the current negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the work of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC). These fora bring together developed and developing countries to address climate change through nationally appropriate action that has real environmental and economic benefits.

A key solution to tackling climate change lies in clean energy and the development of clean energy technologies. This presentation also looks at how policy bridges the gap between technological expertise.

KATHERINE ALBION:  Canada has been created by big projects in energy, transportation, and communications, initiated by visionaries who overcame enormous obstacles. Canada’s “Big Project Innovation Strategy” has time and again provided the direction and challenges for Canadians to design, build and operate ambitious, strategic infrastructure. New big projects can continue this tradition with emphasis on sustainable development and on a higher level of upgrading of our energy resources into value-added products. As the world begins its slow transition to non-carbon energy resources, Canada is in a unique position to serve both carbon- and non-carbon-based energy resource needs in an environmentally responsible manner.

TOM BLEES, president of The Science Council for Global Initiatives, will present a comprehensive plan to eliminate non-agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The presentation will include not only the technologies that can make this happen but also a brief discussion of those technologies that many people think will suffice but fall far short of humanity's demands. Eliminating GHGs is but one crucial goal. We must do it while at the same time vastly increasing the energy supply worldwide. Blees will explain not only the inescapable energy demands we can anticipate but the ways in which we can meet them.


Henry F Hall Building; Dan Meneley, Chair

CHANDRA MADRAMOOTOO of McGill University: Innovations in Water Management to Conquer Global Hunger
It is estimated that the global population will increase to about 9 billion by 2015. This coupled with projected increases in air temperature and water scarcity, due to a changing climate, will seriously constrain food production in the future. Variability in rainfall will not only limit rainfed agricultural productivity, but is also expected to affect the reliability and integrity of irrigated agriculture. This will call for the design and implementation of innovative and creative solutions for water management. Methods of better managing soil moisture and increasing the efficiency of irrigation systems must be urgently developed. Improvements in irrigation infrastructure will be required both on and off-farm. The ability to use modern information, digital and soil and water sensing technologies will be at the heart of the proposed improvements. This presentation will explore the types of technological innovations that are required in soil and water management to meet the food demands of the future.

JOHN J. KENNELLY of the University Of Alberta:Feeding 9 billion People – The Global Challenge to Achieve Nutritional Security
Globally, one billion people are malnourished and another billion suffer from obesity, and other chronic diseases, associated with over consumption of food. The rapidly growing world population - predicted to grow by two billion to 9 billion over the next 30 years – adds urgency to the challenge of achieving nutritional security for all. Although increased production in developing countries is essential to meeting the needs of their rapidly growing population, imports of agricultural products, especially animal protein, are likely to grow. Canada is one of a handful of countries that has the land base to make a significant contribution to meeting the increased global demand for food.

RASHID SUMAILA of the University of British Columbia:
Science suggests that changes in temperature and ocean chemistry directly affect the physiology, growth and reproduction of marine fish species. For example, fishes in warmer temperatures are expected to have smaller maximum body size and smaller size at first maturity, and fish with smaller bodies that live in warmer environments are expected to suffer higher natural mortality rates. In this presentation, I will explore the potential economic and food security consequences of ocean warming and acidification through their impacts on global fisheries.

BERTRAND DEROME, Institute for product development (IDP):
Food is one of the basic necessity of humans and one of the major challenges of our time. The sector faces a number of environmental and social challenges, such as:

  • climate change related to fertilizers and livestock;
  • competition for land use and potential toxicity;
  • evolving consumption patterns;
  • food waste.

How can we meet the customer’s needs while sustaining our food chain by reducing its environmental and social footprint?
Three action fields will be explored:

  • the ingredients and the recipe;
  • ecodesign, packaging and life cycle approach;
  • designing to limit waste.


DARREL DANYLUK:  Climate Change In a Sustainable World


Henry F Hall Building; Ken Putt, Chair
COLIN CLARK of Brookfield Renewable Energy Group
RICHARD MOFFETT of Candu Energy Inc.

One of the largest climate change initiatives in the World has been taking place in Ontario over the last 10 years – the phase-out of coal electricity. Over a decade ago, coal accounted for nearly 30% of Ontario’s electricity and with coal output down by 90% during this time the province is on track to phase-out coal by the end of 2013. Bruce Power Nuclear has been an essential part to achieving this providing about 70% of the energy needed to phase-out coal in Ontario as a result of our revitalization of the World’s largest operating nuclear facility.

The world’s energy systems are under intense pressure to transform but no consensus exists regarding the ultimate goal of such a transformation, let alone the timelines and pathways for change. Proponents and opponents spar over specific energy or environmental technologies and policies in most cases the results serve neither the environment, nor the economy. The university research community has an important role to play in informing and elevating the conversations around energy system choices. A case will be made for a national, interdisciplinary research effort focused on energy systems analysis, including technology assessment, system level modeling and structured decision support.

The production and use of energy and water are interdependent. This energy-water nexus applies in some degree to most of the conventional forms of energy production in use at present. The energy-water relationship is inherent to hydropower, which is established on the basis of an adequate water resource. Hydropower presently accounts for approximately 16% of global electricity generation, and as much as two-thirds of global hydropower potential has yet to be developed. This presentation is an overview of the attributes of hydropower, its relationship to water resources, and the role of hydropower in the sustainable development of global energy supplies.

Scientific studies have confirmed the correlation between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. The world energy consumption is growing, mainly driven by accelerated development in countries like India and China. Fossil fuels remain the predominant source of energy, continuing to put pressure on greenhouse gas emission. Nuclear power is the largest source of low-carbon electricity after hydraulic. With over 60 reactors in construction worldwide and many others being refurbished to extend their life, nuclear will continue to play a major role in our energy mix. Canadian CANDUTM nuclear reactors have a proven track record of reliability and efficiency. By using natural uranium and heavy water, CANDU reactors produce about 30% more energy per mass of natural uranium than light water reactors (LWRs). CANDU reactors can use natural uranium equivalent (NUE) fuel made of recovered and depleted uranium from LWRs to produce an additional 30% of energy and saving natural uranium.


Norwegian Ambassador to Canada

Twenty years ago, the World Commission on Environment and Development released its report on “Our Common Future.” At the time, the World Commission was chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The report offered new and revolutionary ideas and has formed our environmental and foreign policy since then. The report made the following observations: there must be equity and justice within and between generations, long-term goals, new governance instruments, and both local and global collective action. Further, it pointed out that economic development and sound environmental management should go hand-in-hand.

All this applies to our important agenda of discussion today on climate change. It commands us to move forward.

The improved knowledge of the interactions between regional and global climate change has increased the awareness of what is happening in the High North and its dramatic effects.

To Norway, the rapid pace of climate change and the corresponding, expected economic activity in the Arctic means that a strong and consolidated environmental policy must be integrated into all sectors. This type of policy applies specifically to the High North agenda. Norway has high expectations and ambitions for collective science-based action to halter climate change regionally and globally.


Henry F Hall Building; Jon Jennekens, Chair
LORNE TAYLOR, Water Smart, Alberta
DR. DAVE SAUCHYN of the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative

There would be a global water crisis and a global food crisis without climate change, but climate change will exacerbate both. Science and Technology will help and hinder the search for solutions. There are solutions and they need Technology within evolved policy, public, and pricing frameworks. Pressure on water resources comes primarily from some very complex phenomena. If these forces are examined and acted on singly, we will not understand the Nexus of demand between Water, Energy and Food. Synergies can be found in use patterns – but it takes attention to find them.

Water issues around the world are complex, involving water for people, food, industry, and the environment, all connected through the politics of water ownership. We think about water globally, and plan regionally, but all water actions are implemented locally. Water is personal and each person impacted by a planning decision wants to be involved. In Alberta, several projects are underway to develop water management plans that adapt to changing conditions through collaborative actions by the holders of water licenses. These projects are expected to provide a more inclusive and robust system of water management in the face of climate change.

Standard engineering methods for the assessment of hydrologic effects of climate change are an extension of conventional practices; a dynamic distributed hydrologic model is run with climate scenarios rather than climate observations. Model outputs tend to be mean changes in water balance variables; while variability and extremes are inherited from this historical calibration period. An alternative approach is to model runoff as a function of the ocean-atmosphere oscillations that drive the natural hydroclimatic variability. This approach captures the shifts in climate variability and extremes that are forced by a warming oceans and atmosphere.

The Water Technology Acceleration Project (WaterTAP) was established to help Ontario-based water industry entrepreneurs and emerging water technology businesses grow to become successful global competitors. Providing industry experience and expert guidance, WaterTAP shares industry best practices and commercialization insights and facilitates access to Ontario water assets, industry partners, research organizations, business assistance, government support, capital sources, and more. The WaterTAP mandate is to help foster a new generation of world-class water technology businesses strengthens Ontario’s position as the North American centre of water excellence, and maintains Ontario’s leadership in conserving and sustaining water resources for present and future generations.


Room EV 2-260; Tony Kosteltz, Chair
MARC A. ROSEN of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology

For several years the public transit industry has been positioned as a major player in achieving the government targets for the reduction of GHGs. In Quebec, 43% of emissions come from the transportation sector, mainly from road transport. This is why the STM believes that if Quebec wants to reduce its emissions by 25% between now and 2020, it must invest massively in the development and the electrification of the public transit. In 2010, in fact, the STM committed to acquiring only zero emissions vehicles as of 2025. Mr. Forget will describe the projects that support the STM’s strategy and the inherent challenges in reaching that goal.

Energy sustainability is important given the pervasiveness of energy use, its importance in economic development, and the significant impacts that energy processes and systems have on the environment. Factors that need to be considered and appropriately addressed in moving towards energy sustainability are energy resources, efficiency, and environmental stewardship, as well as economics, equity, lifestyle, sociopolitical factors and population. The speaker will discuss these and the recently published Global Energy Assessment, which identifies the urgent need for a sustained and comprehensive strategy to resolve the challenges facing sustainable development, including climate change mitigation and energy security and access.

Science and technology have key roles at every point of the Nexus. If we do not turn our attention to understanding these issues at the use level, the advances in science and technology lose value – or have none.