University of Calgary

PURE energy

UToday HomeJanuary 14, 2013

Shayan Najib is building a good foundation for post-graduate work thanks to PURE funding.   Courtesy of Shayan NajibShayan Najib is building a good foundation for post-graduate work thanks to PURE funding. Courtesy of Shayan NajibLast summer University of Calgary student Shayan Najib got to accomplish a couple of his dreams – to explore his growing interest in energy policy issues and to travel to Europe to meet leading environmental and energy experts — all thanks to a Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) award from the university.

“I wanted to do research that was in line with my interests in the energy and environment sector, and would build a good foundation for post-graduate work. The award helped me to do that,” says Najib, who is completing the final year of a BA in international relations.

With the support of a $3,000 PURE award, Najib spent the summer studying his chosen research topic — the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Launched in 2005, the EU ETS is the world’s largest emissions trading system. By putting a price on each tonne of carbon emitted, the scheme is intended to encourage innovative and cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“With today’s heightened interest in sustainability, I thought now was an ideal time to analyze the EU trading scheme — especially its benefits and lessons — given the current focus on implementing a similar system in other nations, including Canada,” says Najib.

To collect different perspectives, Najib spent August in London and Paris interviewing experts from the EU Office, investment banks, research institutes and the International Energy Agency.

“It was really interesting to hear different views on the same topic, and meeting with these different people was a great networking experience,” says Najib.

Najib’s decision to focus his research on the EU ETS was sparked by conversations with his project advisor, Professor Elizabeth Wilman, in the Department of Economics.

“She’s had a lot of experience in environmental economics. I’ve also had some exposure to the topic from past courses. Plus I’ve lived in Europe. Together we thought the EU trading scheme would be a great topic to explore,” says Najib, who grew up in London before moving to Calgary seven years ago.

Najib says his interest in energy policy also stems from his involvement as vice-president (academic) for the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy Students’ Association. Through the association, he’s organized guest lectures and participated in student events such as the International Case Challenge, which involves students working in teams to tackle real-world energy issues. He will attend the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi this month thanks to an award through the Shell Experiential Energy Learning program.