Ryan Katz-Rosene Profile picture
Academic at UOttawa / President, Environmental Studies Association of Canada / Editor, SPE & FlyingLessResourceGuide/ Regenerative farmer, Rock's End Farm
1 Oct 20
Lots of prospective and current PhD students applying for SSHRC grants these days. BEST OF LUCK TO YOU ALL! For those struggling with research statements, may I suggest the following formula for your first paragraph... /1
I recommend a short, punchy, 3-sentence (or 3-sentiment) paragraph that tells the evaluator what your Phd is about, what the specific research problem is, and how your PhD research specifically addresses that problem. Be succinct, avoid jargon, write so any peer would get it /2
Start with a captivating hook sentence that brings your reader directly into your field and the topic of study, and that sets the stage for sentence 2 (the problem). A common starting point is “In recent years X has happened” (Goal: Evaluator thinks “ooh that’s interesting!”). /3
Read 8 tweets
29 Sep 20
This is a timely new report by a team of top notch climate researchers laying out some ground rules for effective carbon offsetting. I've added it to flyinglessresourceguide.info

Reading through, it's clear there is still A LOT of work to be done in this area of study....
At the present moment the whole offsetting sector is like the wild west, and most offsets have been shown to have deeply troubling social (and even climatic) consequences. But as the report shows, institutions could be making progress in laying out more constructive...
guidelines around when carbon offsets should be used (including limiting their need in the first place!), delineating what kinds of offsets are truly 'additional' and equivalent to 'net zero', and further...
Read 4 tweets
15 Sep 20
I've learned a lot about transcription and closed captioning while putting together the @EcopoliticsP-odcast, and this has informed my understanding of accessibility challenges with virtual learning:
Main takeaway 👉 AI-transcription is pretty amazing, but humans are way better!
We realized that we can't rely on the AI-transcription software to produce captions for our podcasts - or moreover that the transcripts need to be closely reviewed and edited by a human...
So, we've hired someone who will be reviewing and editing transcripts to check for name spelling errors and other glaring mistakes (but unfortunately this won't capture grammatical or punctuation issues which is a whole other ball game for spoken word transcriptions)...
Read 5 tweets
25 Aug 20
It's taken a while to finally get this in peer-reviewed form, but here's my latest article comparing the carbon footprints of long-distance rail travel and commercial aviation in Canada!
Rail has a reputation as being a sustainable mode of transportation... and *usually* that's true (internationally, rail is the most energy-efficient mode). But long-distance passenger rail in Canada is, well, relatively terrible for the environment....
Flying by commercial aircraft across the country actually produces a smaller carbon footprint than taking the train. The article explains why that's the case, why it matters, and what the government can do about it!
Read 7 tweets
15 Jun 20
Pleased to be one of the three recipients of the @uOttawa's ‘Knowledge Mobilization Award’, for my project on “The Future of Sustainable Protein”

@uOttawaPoli @uOttawaResearch @uOttawaCIPS @uOttawaSustain
The project takes a narrative approach to the complex challenge of producing more environmentally friendly, ethically and culturally appropriate, and nutritionally fulfilling global diets!
Why a narrative approach? In short, the agri-food sector is immensely complex and diverse. There is no universal solution to the wide-ranging set of challenges it faces (and arguably we are better off with a diverse set of solutions). Image
Read 6 tweets
12 Jun 20
Excellent new paper (and explainer thread) on how and whether international shipping emissions can be brought within the global CO2 budget for 1.5C.👇
Like aviation, the shipping sector takes up about 2% of global emissions. And like emissions from international aviation, emissions from international shipping aren’t reported by nations as part of the UNFCCC’s intended contribution process...
This means we need a global agreement to get the sector to mitigate GHG emissions from shipping.

Luckily, the shipping sector does seem to be taking this seriously (though perhaps room for more ambition)...
Read 5 tweets
10 Jun 20
@ESACCanada recently pulled off a 100% Virtual Conference, with the support of @ideas_idees and AV Canada. A couple reflections on the organizing side of things… aimed mostly at fellow scholars organizing virtual conferences these days…

/long thread, starting w practicalities
PLATFORM: We did ours through a modified Zoom platform, where each conference room was essentially a Zoom call. In the past we’ve had success with BlueJeans too. Zoom seems to be the platform most scholars are becoming acquainted with, and that DOES count for something...
SESSION ENTRY PORTAL: I really liked the Swoogo site @ideas_idees set up for our conference (below). Each session title became a hyperlink through which participants could ‘enter’ a session. I also like the idea of the visual portal too (and I know they exist)..
Read 26 tweets
9 Jun 20
Surprise, surprise👉 reports out that IATA wants to change CORSIA's emissions benchmark to 2019 emissions only (instead of an average of 2019 & 2020). Thread below explains what this means... but IN SHORT: Industry using pandemic as excuse to water down climate commitments!
As you can see here in this INSANE figure... the total number of flights globally tanked in early 2020, as a result of the pandemic, after years of sustained growth. As you might imagine, GHG emissions from aviation also grew year upon year, reaching an all-time high in 2019. Image
Before COVID, the aviation sector was banking on another record-breaking year in 2020... and all signs suggested emissions would also reach new heights.

When the industry came up with a plan to reduce sectoral GHG emissions (years ago), it promised to cap them at 2020 levels...
Read 5 tweets
1 May 20
I REALLY, REALLY hope we can return to in-person teaching in September (though I recognize that might not happen). Either way, here're some things I hope the ‘higher-ups’ at my university are thinking about NOW to make the return to school safe experience… whenever it may come:
Start putting these up everywhere. In the entrances to buildings. In pedestrian ’chokepoints’ - including outdoor spaces (for the warmer months)… make it VERY EASY to wash your hands frequently.
Every building should have a kiosk at main entrances where people offer out free masks, offer randomized and/or voluntary temperature screenings, and provide the latest COVID-19 information.
Read 24 tweets
27 Mar 20
A number of @ideas_idees -affiliated associations have CANCELLED their Annual Conferences planned for Congress 2020.

I understand and respect these hard decisions, and sympathize with the rationale….
@esaccanada has taken a different path, however, and as president of the association I’m compelled to explain WHY we saw opportunities for enhanced inclusion in the virtual alternative, and HOW we plan to tackle some of the problems identified by our fellow associations:
1/ ESAC's in its 3rd year of experimenting with hybrid-live virtual conferencing (a project we originally launched to reduce our carbon footprint). 10% of participants scheduled for Congress 2020 were ALREADY participating virtually, so going 100% virtual is an extension of that.
Read 12 tweets
24 Mar 20
INTERESTING👉🏽: Due to the way the international community's agreement to tackle aviation emissions is structured, the Coronavirus pandemic *could* potentially have lasting repercussions for reduced sectoral emissions...

Quick Thread...
✈️Global air traffic has dipped about 20% since the same time last year.
✈️It was expected to be around 5% (give or take) higher than the year previous... so a 20% drop is HUGE.
✈️Hard to say how much this drop (which started in January) will reduce 2020 emissions... Image
More Context:
✈️ Globally, aviation accounts for about 2.5% of GHG emissions.
✈️ INTERNATIONAL AVIATION accounts for about 65% of total emissions. Since Int'l aviation is NOT included in National Climate plans, the world came up with... CORSIA. Image
Read 9 tweets
23 Mar 20
1/ The Government of Canada should make a pandemic management app before the private sector does, so we can make sure the data indeed remains private (this is assuming we can trust the government on that front, which admittedly is one helluva leap of faith in 2020)...
2/ An app like this could be an extremely effective tool in helping to beat the 🦠, the catch being that more effective the tool, the more personal data users would have to provide.
3/ examples: An app tracking location of users could help significantly with tracing, alerting other users if they have been in the close vicinity of someone who fell ill in recent days...
Read 6 tweets
12 Mar 20
📢 So far, for the vid-ISA-Environment Conference we have:
COMMITTED: @heff_andrew @Laurence_God
Considering: @RosalesAntulio @JoshuaRamisch @charlesbroger (possibly a whole panel)
Ready to provide feedback/discussant: @ProfSMGibson
LOTS of LIKES, but need 10 more to commit...
COMMITTED: @heff_andrew @Laurence_God @SarahSharms @bentleyballan
Sort of committed(?): @pmmcc @somardrawoh
Willing discussants: @g_auld @ProfSMGibson
Need 8 more confirmed videos to go ahead. Let's make the PDF share for participants only - in case that's a concern?
Hi guys, despite two additional commitments (@JenIrisAllan @__michaelmurphy - THANKS!) we don't have enough participants to go ahead with vid-ISA-Environment. Too bad b/c I think idea is definitely doable, but understandable that everyone's got other priorities right now...
Read 5 tweets
12 Mar 20
OK, so you want to get something out of your CANCELLED ISA paper? I PROMISE to set up a VIDEO CONFERENCE platform, so long as I get at least 12 people COMMITTING to participate, via REPLY to THIS tweet.

Here’s how this could work:
1/ I will set up a blog site called "vid-ISA Environment" or something like that. Each post will contain a short VIDEO presentation and a link to an online PDF of the corresponding paper, along with a space for comments and discussion.
2/ The site is primarily catered to the ENVIRONMENT SECTION of ISA (but other sections are encouraged to do the same - could link these up in a central space).
Read 14 tweets
11 Mar 20
1/ Folks, one of the aims of the Flying Less in Academia Resource Guide (flyinglessresourceguide.info) is to encourage the advance of digital conferencing platforms so it PROVIDES A GOOD experience in scholarly exchange. We obviously still have some work to do on that front... but...
2/… the Resource Guide is chock full of examples and testimonials of positive digital conferencing experiences. There have already been FULLY DIGITAL INTERNATIONAL conferences... It can be done (albeit with some planning and preparation).
3/ It seems like with all the CANCELLED academic conferences due to COVID 19 there’s an opportunity to practice, improve, test, and learn about how to make digital conferencing even better... [add it to our academic resiliency toolkit].
Read 6 tweets
8 Mar 20
GWP* shouldn’t serve as a "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD" for livestock producers or meat and dairy consumers.

However, there ARE some important ways GWP* should change the way we think of agricultural CH4...

--> quick thread...
1. Recognize that CH4 is fundamentally different than CO2 in terms of how it impacts the climate. So STOP measuring agricultural CH4 in terms of CO2 equivalents. Just stop. It’s unhelpful. Image
2. Livestock farmers (and by proxy, meat and dairy consumers) CAN SUPPORT climate change mitigation by supporting reductions in methane emissions.

One way to do this is to use technology…

yet another is to reduce the number of ruminants!

[We need both!]
Read 10 tweets
18 Feb 20
Here is why it is so important to get methane emissions under control...

Compare the global warming contribution of methane under a scenario of +1% annual increase (left) vs. steady emissions (right).

Now imagine a -1% annual decline in CH4 emissions. ImageImage
If we were able to reduce global CH4 emissions by 0.3% per annum, then CH4-emitting sub-sectors wouldn't be contributing to net warming (over a multi-decade period).
By the same token, we need to give credit where credit is due... The Canadian dairy sector, for instance, has seen a near 30% reduction in CH4 emissions over the last 3 decades. Over the same period of time it increased milk production by about 22%. (h/t @drsplace). ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
18 Feb 20
Jeepers this is depressing stuff... WWF reports a 60% decline between 1970 and 2014 in the 'Living Planet Index'. In other words "on average, animal populations are well under half the size they were in 1970." Image
If you break it down by biogeographic realms, some are doing even worse: "the Neotropical realm has suffered the most dramatic decline of 89% on average." Image
The main driver of biodiversity decline is NOT climate change. Rather, it's habitat loss.
(all from: livingplanetindex.org/projects?main_…) Image
Read 4 tweets
6 Feb 20
I predict this is going to become a tough policy debate at research funding bodies and universities: Should flight offsets be covered as eligible expenses by universities/research funding agencies...
Parke makes a very powerful case here for why we SHOULD NOT cover offsets... it comes down to the impact they have in reinforcing our behaviour, rather than changing it... Image
The most common counterargument (as Parke points out), is "IF we determine we HAVE to fly, isn't it better to OFFSET than not?"

And I admit this counter-logic has its allure...
Read 6 tweets
30 Jan 20
This article is an example of what happens when you try to reduce everyone's food decision-making (like, literally EVERYONE... in the world...🙄) down to the dogma of which commodities are 'in' and which are 'out': theguardian.com/environment/20…
It makes an attempt at context: "sustainability experts are reluctant to single out any one...[option]', and then makes a remarkable u-turn: "but we're going to try" anyway!

WHYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!? Image
Then comes the classic average LCA reference: Assigning EVERY glass of milk on the planet the same GHG footprint. No context, WHATSOEVER. And in a typical slight of hand uses that single average metric to depict all dairy everywhere as being "[bad] for the planet" Image
Read 7 tweets
28 Jan 20
This has been all over Twitter. Lots of climate tweeps have been pointing to it as evidence that local food is just a romantic eco-myth - that if we really want to eat environmentally, then ‘the what’ matters, not ‘the where’. Time for a thread…
As a professor studying climate change policy, and as a climate activist who does believe in the value of individual action as a potential catalyst for collective-scale change, I can see the appeal of a simple message like “it’s the what; not the where”.
Sure, for the average urban resident in an industrialized economy with no relation to how their food is produced - this rule of thumb will often stand to reason in terms of leading to lower carbon food choices.
Read 29 tweets