A No­bel win­ner from Bayview

Brad Bass on re­ceiv­ing a No­bel Prize as part of the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change by Sarah Kidd

Bayview Post - - Life -

In the years since Brad Bass walked the halls of York Mills Col­le­giate In­sti­tute as a tal­ented eu­pho­nium player and On­tario Scholar, he has gone on to pur­sue a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in en­vi­ron­men­tal science.

Cur­rently work­ing with En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Canada, he is also an ad­junct pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Toronto and Univer­sity of Regina and is the as­so­ciate ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Foun­da­tion for Stu­dent Science and Tech­nol­ogy.

Bass was awarded a Life­time Achieve­ment Award in 2012 from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, for his con­tri­bu­tions to green roof re­search, and was part of the team at the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) when the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­ceived a No­bel Peace Prize in 2007.

“It just so hap­pened that me and about 3,000 other sci­en­tists were work­ing with the IPCC at the time,” he says. “I was work­ing in one of the tech­ni­cal groups and was pri­mar­ily mak­ing sure that the out­put from all the cli­mate mod­els was avail­able for ev­ery­one who wanted to use it, no mat­ter what part of the world they were in.”

The IPCC was the co-re­cip­i­ent of the No­bel Peace Prize, which was shared with Al Gore.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion re­ceived the award in recog­ni­tion of their ef­forts to dis­sem­i­nate greater knowl­edge about hu­man­gener­ated cli­mate change and to lay the foun­da­tions to coun­ter­act cli­mate change. The IPCC’s sci­en­tific re­ports cre­ated a broader in­formed con­sen­sus about the con­nec­tion be­tween hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties and global warm­ing.

Bass didn’t al­ways en­vi­sion him­self in en­vi­ron­men­tal re­search.

“I ac­tu­ally started off more in eco­nomics but got more in­ter­ested in the en­vi­ron­men­tal side at dif­fer­ent parts of my univer­sity ca­reer,” he says. Iron­i­cally, much of his cur­rent work is in eco­nomics.

Af­ter com­plet­ing his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree at the Univer­sity of Toronto and his grad­u­ate de­gree at Penn­syl­va­nia State Univer­sity, Bass re­turned to Canada and was of­fered a vis­it­ing fel­low­ship with En­vi­ron­ment Canada.

Al­though his cur­rent re­search is ap­plied to wa­ter qual­ity pol­icy analysis, in the mid-1990s Bass helped ini­ti­ate green roof and green wall re­search in Canada.

With fund­ing from Nat­u­ral Re­sources Canada in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Na­tional Re­search Coun­cil, a site was built to ex­plore the im­pact of green in­fra­struc­ture in the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment. The re­search, al­though ex­cit­ing, proved con­sum­ing.

“What started off as a mi­nor side project be­came the ma­jor fo­cus of my ca­reer for many years,” he says.

Later, the re­search he and his col­leagues pro­duced was used by the City of Toronto in as­sess­ing the ben­e­fits of green roofs and in mak­ing the case for its green roof by­law. When the by­law passed in 2009, Toronto be­came the first city in North Amer­ica to re­quire and gov­ern the con­struc­tion of green roofs on new devel­op­ments with a min­i­mum gross floor area of 2,000 square me­tres.

Al­though now terms like “green roofs” and “ver­ti­cal gar­dens” are a rec­og­niz­able part of the en­vi­ron­men­tal lex­i­con, Bass gives credit to cities for its growth.

“It prob­a­bly wouldn’t have be­come as big as it has if it wasn’t for the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties tak­ing it on as some­thing they wanted to do,” he says. “They were re­ally the first level of gov­ern­ment to give it a lot of sup­port.”

Bass cur­rently works with En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Canada

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