Understanding Past Energy Transitions to Inform Future Ones
Societies around the world face an urgent need to transition to zero-emission economies. This transition is necessary if we are to address the impacts of climate change and air pollution on the environment and the economy.
At the same time, urban systems—defined as collections of cities and the infrastructure that connects them—consume almost three-quarters of our global energy and generate about three-quarters of global carbon emissions. In fact, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. As a result, understanding the fundamental forces that have shaped our urban systems in the past is necessary if we are to transition to a future energy system that can give people the power they need while minimizing environmental impacts.
Bringing about a low-carbon energy transition is one of the biggest challenges of our generation. As Canada Research Chair in Energy Transitions, Dr. Juan Moreno-Cruz is addressing it by studying how the structure of the current energy system came to be, the role that access to energy played in creating our current urban systems, and the role that energy and urbanization will play in the next energy transition. An important aspect of this research is understanding the impacts of this transition on the environment.
Moreno-Cruz and his research team will guide Canada’s energy and urbanization policies by developing a set of theoretical, empirical and numerical tools to analyze energy, urbanization and environmental outcomes. Ultimately, their work will support the necessary transition to a zero-emission energy system.