UVic Torch -- Autumn 2007
Spring 2008,
Volume 29, Number 1

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UVic becomes home base for province-wide approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Climate change threatens ecosystems, societies, cultures and economies worldwide. The magnitude of the challenge, and our response to it, demands an unprecedented collaborative effort.

It is within this context that I am delighted to share with you important and exciting news. The Province of British Columbia has allocated $94.5 million to establish the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions at the University of Victoria. The funding includes a $90-million endowment—the largest single contribution to a university endowment in Canadian history—and $4.5 million for start-up expenses. The endowment will generate approximately $4 million annually to fund research, graduate fellowships, internships and staffing.

PICS will be hosted and led by UVic in collaboration with the province’s other research-intensive post-secondary institutions: Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern BC. The institute will also engage the expertise of our colleagues from across all sectors: in government agencies, non-governmental organizations and industry. PICS will be the focal point for the considerable intellectual capacity, dedicated to climate challenges and solutions, which already exists in BC and will continue to grow.

Essentially, the institute will coordinate research on climate change impacts and solutions and it will lead the assessment of mitigation and adaptation options, including new technologies. It will promote education, capacity-building and technical training. And it will transfer new knowledge about climate change issues to government, industry and the general public.

British Columbians will be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent below 2007 levels by the year 2020, a target mandated by provincial law. Additionally, BC is expected to reduce emissions by at least 80 per cent below 2007 levels by 2050. It is against that backdrop that the new institute will provide a valuable resource to our province, Canada and indeed the world.

With a high-level advisory board, the institute will be in an unprecedented position to frame questions and provide answers on immediate technological, economic, societal, regulatory and public policy challenges related to climate change.

That our university is poised to lead an initiative of this magnitude is due to the tremendous knowledge, expertise and dedication of faculty, students and staff at UVic who helped make this happen.

Congratulations to them on this outstanding recognition and this enhancement of our collective capacity to make a difference. I hope that as a member of our community you will share in our pride in leading this exciting new initiative.

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