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The University of Toronto has a long and outstanding record of research and innovation in matters related to energy and the environment, including climate change. Over 200 U of T faculty members across our three campuses are engaged in these endeavours, many in collaboration with leading national and international institutions and organizations. They represent a wide range of disciplines – from Engineering and Physics to Biology and Public Health, Law and Political Science – and they are based in more than 30 academic units and affiliated hospitals. They also figure prominently among the University’s leading scholars and scientists, constituting almost 10 per cent of our Canada Research Chairs.

U of T’s contributions to research in relevant fields are magnified by the rare breadth and depth of academic excellence concentrated on our campuses.

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The unexpected link between the ozone hole and Arctic warming: U of T expert

One of the earliest climate model predictions of how human-made climate change would affect our planet showed that the Arctic would warm about two to three times more than the global average. Forty years later, this “Arctic amplification” has been observed first-hand.

Record-breaking Arctic warming and the dramatic decline of sea ice are having severe consequences on sensitive ecosystems in the region.

But why has the Arctic warmed more than the tropics and the mid-latitudes?

We now know that this is due, in part, to tiny concentrations of very powerful greenhouse gases, including ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

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‘Reverse fuel cell’ built by U of T researchers converts waste carbon into valuable products

Fuel cells turn chemicals into electricity. Now, a team from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has adapted technology from fuel cells to do the reverse: harness electricity to make valuable chemicals from waste carbon dioxide.

The research was recently published in the journal Science.

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Microplastic pollution is everywhere, but scientists are still learning how it harms wildlife: U of T experts

Plastic pollution is a growing global concern. Large pieces of plastic have been found almost everywhere on Earth, from the most visited beaches to remote, uninhabited islands. Because wildlife are regularly exposed to plastic pollution, we often ask what effects plastics have on the animals.

Over time, macroplastics (plastic debris larger than five millimetres in size) break up into tiny particles called microplastics (smaller than five millimetres), which can persist in the environment for hundreds of years.

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Substances that created hole in ozone may account for half of Arctic warming, U of T researchers find

The substances responsible for creating a massive hole in the Earth’s ozone layer may account for nearly half of Arctic warming over a 50-year period, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto.

The research, published in Nature Climate Change, highlights how ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are a significant and unrecognized source of 20th-century Arctic climate change.

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U of T researchers turn McDonald’s deep fryer oil into high-end 3D printing resin

Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough have, for the first time, turned waste cooking oil – from the deep fryers of a local McDonald’s – into a high-resolution, biodegradable 3D printing resin.

Using waste cooking oil for 3D printing has significant potential. Not only is it cheaper to make, the plastics made from it break down naturally unlike conventional 3D printing resins.

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U of T researchers develop sponge that removes oil from water

University of Toronto researchers have developed a new strategy to remove tiny oil droplets from wastewater with more than 90 per cent efficiency in just 10 minutes. Their secret weapon? 

A sponge. 

“Oil extraction operations such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, produce nearly 100 billion barrels of oil-contaminated wastewater each year,” says Chul Park, a professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. 

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