News & Events

Blockchain for Climate — MEL Guest Lecture

July 10, 2018

MEL student participates at a conference and brings a specialist to campus to discuss the intersection of blockchain technology and climate protection.

Facilitating positive connections and chances to collaborate is one of the most impactful aspects of education. This is a value embodied in the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) programs, which aim to position students with opportunities to meet key industry contacts.

In March, Hannah MacDonald was selected to attend the GLOBE Forum 2018 through the MEL in Clean Energy Engineering program in which she is currently enrolled. Those conferences are fantastic opportunities for students to network and make meaningful connections with individuals in their field. Not only was the GLOBE Forum itself a great experience for Hannah; Joseph Pallant’s presentation about capabilities of blockchain technology to revolutionize climate credit exchange caught her interest.

Joseph Pallant has been active in the carbon market since 2004, providing project development experience and strategic direction across private, public and NGO endeavours. He has developed first-of projects in forestry, fuel switching and transportation, co-founded the Carbon Cocktails society, and founded CPS Carbon Project Solutions Inc., a pioneering offset development firm. He currently runs Brinkman Climate, developing emission reduction projects and helping smart climate policy succeed. Bringing his climate work to blockchain, he founded and is now Executive Director of Blockchain for Climate and is the Mitigation Lead of the Climate Chain Coalition. Pallet’s work, insight and advocacy continues to shape the growth of Canada’s low-carbon economy.

After the presentation, Hannah introduced herself to Joseph and told him about the Clean Energy Engineering program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). At Hannah’s request, Pallet agreed to give a special guest lecture at UBC to share his ideas about the potential capabilities of blockchains and to meet a cohort of students specifically studying clean technology and climate solutions.

Blockchain for Climate
Photo Credit — M.K. (Madhan Anand)

The lecture was held on June 11, with collaboration between the MEL Program and the Blockchain @ UBC.Students group. Besides a strong interest from the MEL in Clean Energy Engineering students, others were in attendance including students from a variety of MEL programs (Dependable Software Systems or Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering), from computer science, arts, and more.

Joseph explained the applications of blockchain technology in climate control, and that a universal and transparent system of climate credit gain and transfer could provide clear incentives for countries to make positive climate choices. This tool is especially useful to support countries’ commitments under The Paris Agreement (2016), which was made up of individual agreements from 180 nations. Blockchain has the capability to align those unique agreements through a transparent and equal means of managing carbon accounting internationally. With 50 people attending, there was great engagement, questions, and cross-discipline discussions after the lecture.

Hannah’s actions and leadership exhibit the core values of the MEL degree: a commitment to cross-disciplinary collaboration and a holistic education, values reinforced by supporting students and such events.

Joseph Pallant holds an MBA degree from INSEEC, Paris, France, a post graduate diploma in Latin American Management from the McRae Institute of International Management (Capilano University) and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the and environmental studies from the University of Victoria.

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