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Trottier Symposiums

Each year the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) at McGill University and the Institut de l’énergie Trottier (IET) at Polytechnique Montréal take turns hosting this event. Made possible through the generous support of Dr. Lorne Trottier, this is a forum for students, professors, government, and industry professionals to connect with the general public on advancements for sustainability through engineering and design. This series has been made possible by the generous gift from the Trottier Family Foundation.

2014: Engineering our Prosperity: Sustainable Cities and Industries in the 21st Century

bike chained to fence in park

The symposium focused on what roadmaps can help achieve more sustainable energy and materials flows in cities (urban metabolism) and in industrial systems (industrial ecology). The symposium discussed the theme in a global context as well as considering Canada’s political, economic, environmental and social setting.

Speakers: Dr. John C. Crittenden, Author Chris Turner, Dr. Timothy G. Gutowski, Dr. Julian Allwood, & Dr. Gregory Keoleian

2015: Energy in Quebec and Canada: A Conversation Starter

view of Montreal city from mountain top

The 2015 Trottier Symposium aims to raise public awareness and engagement with the energy choices that Quebec and Canada will make in the coming years.

The presentation and discussions will expand on the issues raised in the paper Energy in Quebec and Canada: A Conversation Starter available on this web page.

Speakers: Professor Hans Björn Püttgen, Professor Steven Gabriel, Senior Vice President Corporate And Business Development || Algenol Biofuels Inc. Jacques Beaudry-Losique, Po 82, Professor Mette Helene Bjørndal, Chief Economic Advisor, US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Richard O’Neill, & Professor Catherine Potvin

2016: Renewables: What holds us back? What moves us ahead

view of solar panels on grass with blue cloudy sky

In 2016, the landscape for renewables looks encouraging and challenging. The recent enthusiastic buzz and public support surrounding renewable energy confronts doubt despite decades of roughly 30% annual growth in solar and wind production. Costs of renewables are dropping rapidly, as photovoltaic modules costs have fallen by approximately 10% per year over the past 30 years and the costs of wind turbines by roughly 5%. Yet, still only 23% of installed capacity is from renewable resources. Why not a higher percentage?

Speakers: Mark O’Malle Director of the Energy Institute, University College Dublin y, Paul Denholm Senior Analyst, Energy Forecasting & Modeling Group, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Mark Z. Jacobson Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Director, Atmosphere Energy Program Stanford University, & USA, Phil Radford Environmental, Clean Energy & Democracy Thought Leader

2017: What’s Fuelling the Transition ?

Outside subway tracks with train with a highspeed effect blurring lines

Now that the nations of the world have agreed to act on climate change, and that most of them have set GHG reduction goals, it is time to take serious actions at reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. Since a large fraction of them are consumed – quite inefficiently, moreover – for transporting goods and people, reaching these goals will require major transformations of this sector of activity. 

The Trottier Symposium series will contribute to this mandatory energy transition by dedicating its fourth symposium to the transport sector and the challenges it faces, by exploring a number of possible futures, knowing that many upcoming technologies make a transition to a low-carbon society more likely each day.

2018: Planning for Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

looking up at skycraper building

The 5th Annual Trottier Symposium on Sustainable Engineering, Energy, and Design will focus on resilience and human responses to the threats brought on by climate change while considering the following questions: What is resilience and why is it so important to ensure sustainability in the context of urbanization and climate change? How can we be more resilient to disruptions such as extreme weather events, floods, drought, sea-level rise, and heatwaves? What solutions are being imagined, developed, and implemented? and much more.

Speakers: Guy Nordenson, Pippa Brashear, Alan De SousaKaren Seto, & Philippe Gourbesville

2019: Climate Change: Passively suffer or reinvent our societies?

zoomed in round view of city

What are the causes and consequences of global warming? How to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so that everyone wins? While Montreal wants to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050, the Sixth Annual Trottier Symposium will address the issue of climate change, from the perspective of just transition. What does this imply? Can society change? What role for the citizen, for businesses and for the government?

Speakers: Valérie Masson-Delmotte Climatologist Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group & Mario Tremblay Vice President, Corporate and Public Affairs – Fonds de solidarité FTQ

2020: Lessons from a Pandemic: Solutions for Addressing the Climate Change Crisis

a globe beings held by hand wearing plastic gloves and the glove is sprouting a vine- profile images of Michael E. Mann and Naomi Oreskes

The 7th Annual Trottier Symposium on Sustainable Engineering, Energy, and Design will focus on laying a road map to addressing the climate change crisis while considering the following questions: Are there lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and society’s response, which can be applied to accelerating action on the climate emergency? What are the most promising, important, equitable, and viable solutions to climate change and which are most likely to face opposition from the public and/or special interest groups? How can scientists and engineers communicate their work to policymakers to help accelerate the implementation of technological and operational solutions that support future sustainable development?

Speakers: Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D. & Dr. Michael E. Mann, PhD 

Moderated: Bruce Lourie, Ph.D.

2021: Energy Objective: Decarbonize while reinventing society

cartoon hand holding earth with a green house and leaves on it

Imagine a country with an economic and social system that meets all citizens’ basic needs, a country where everyone can expect a long, healthy, and rewarding life. Now imagine that this society achieves these goals – all while being carbon neutral and using sustainable natural resources. Lastly, imagine that this reality reaches all corners of the world, in each and every country.

– Is this dream even possible, or is it mere fantasy?
– Does our happiness increase with our energy consumption?
– If we take this dream and consider it in terms of Québec, what could such a transition look like here?

Speakers: Julia Steinberger, PhD and Éric Pineault, PhD

2022: Confronting Climate Change with Design for Resilience

water with a earth shaped tear drop with icons representing sustainability  and sustainability virtual event badge

The 9th Trottier Symposium on Sustainable Engineering, Energy and Design will explore success stories of sustainable engineering and design while considering the following questions:

  •  How can urban planners, architects and engineers incorporate nature-based solutions to build resiliency and sustainability in our communities?
  • What climate resilient living solutions have been implemented “on the front lines” of climate
    change and how can these strategies be scaled up more broadly?
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