My current research starts from the assumption that major transformation of our energy systems is necessary to mitigate climate change, and this transformation will have a profound impact on the sustainability–both ecological and social–of our societies (see “Climate Deadlocks” for a sketch of this argument).  The politics of energy system transformation thus provide a vital focal point for contemporary environmental and social justice movements.  My current work seeks to clarify this political terrain and provide resources to those who are seeking to negotiate it. I pursue this work partly in collaboration with research initiatives such as the Corporate Mapping Project and the 2060 Project, as well as with initiatives such as the VICC Climate Planning process.

My past research on these themes includes a range of co-authored articles on shale gas development in British Columbia, from general considerations of the governance challenges posed by shale gas to more focused considerations of the impacts of shale gas development for First Nations and the specific challenges that fracking poses to water resources. Other examples of this work include a project funded by Carbon Management Canada that examined public resistance to new energy infrastructure, such as run of river hydroelectricity and shale gas in British Columbia, and more recent research on First Nations-led renewable energy development in British Columbia. (Links to specific publications can be found here.)

Much of my research has been pursued in collaboration with NGOs, First Nations, government agencies, and local communities. I am always open to working in partnership on research projects that emerge from communities or organizations, as long as they are consistent with my general focus. I also seek to make the results of my research as widely available as possible.  Examples of popular publications resulting from my research include co-authored policy note for the CCPA (BC First Nations are poised to lead the energy transition), op-eds in the Vancouver Sun (BC can have a boom without the bust) and Victoria Times-Colonist (More data needed in natural gas debate). See also a summary of some of our shale gas research here.

photo credit: Mathew Murray

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