The clIMate Policy & ACTion (IMPACT) Lab, led by Prof Laura Tozer, studies environmental politics and governance with a focus on action to address the climate crisis and to drive transitions to sustainable energy. We are part of the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Urban Just Transitions

Urban Just Transitions is a community-based research project where University of Toronto Scarborough researchers are working together with community and environmental organizations towards equity and climate action in Scarborough. Through this project, we are working to accelerate equitable transitions to cities that do not produce carbon pollution while enabling all residents to live good lives. We are developing a Listening Project to understand how climate action intersects with people’s everyday concerns across a wide range of communities in Scarborough. Together we are working to understand how climate action can also address equity priorities and how we can turn this vision into action.

Energy Justice

The IMPACT Lab is conducting research on how to catalyze equity-oriented energy transitions. How can we accelerate the transition to renewable energy in ways that reduce existing inequalities? Our Retrofit the Future project focuses on understanding how to catalyze deep energy retrofits for the households that need them the most. Deep energy retrofits are essential to meet climate targets, but retrofits to increase energy efficiency and enable decarbonization have been difficult to implement. Research projects by lab members are focused on: how to accelerate privately-owned rental residential building retrofits while maintaining housing security; obstruction of electrification retrofits by natural gas utilities; retrofit financing through green bonds; and targeting retrofits to households vulnerable to energy poverty.

Toronto Youth Climate Engagement

This project examines how the City of Toronto can enable, empower and equip youth-led leadership in climate action in Toronto to support the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Strategy – TransformTO. This is a community engaged research project delivered in partnership with the City of Toronto and youth organizations where we are co-designing a consultation process with youth organizations, creating a youth (ages 10-25) engagement for climate action strategy for the City of Toronto, and co-constructing just transition narratives, visions, and processes for Toronto with the potential to catalyze systemic change.

Local Government Climate Action

The IMPACT Lab conducts research on the planning and implementation of just, zero carbon, and resilient transitions in communities. Our current research supports Canadian municipalities in monitoring, measuring and achieving their GHG mitigation goals through the Municipal Net-Zero Action Research Partnership (N-ZAP) project. N-ZAP is a partnership between the University of Waterloo, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, ICLEI Canada, 11 Canadian universities, 7 national organizations and 10 municipal governments. Lab members are researching: the state of municipal GHG mitigation plans across Canada; effective approaches for collaborative climate change and sustainability governance with an equity lens; and municipal climate budgets in Oslo, Norway.

Transnational Urban Climate Governance

IMPACT Lab members are conducting research on the politics of transnational urban climate governance. Current research focuses on the emergence, implementation, and wind down of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative in order to better understand and help enhance the potential for transnational initiatives and cities to catalyze transformation towards sustainability and a low-carbon future. In a project led by Matthew Hoffmann, our goal is to provide a fulsome picture of the life cycle and impact of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative and in so doing generate academic insights into the nature of sustainability transformations and practical knowledge for urgently pursuing transformation in a time of climate crisis.