Climate, Energy & Politics Group

About us: We are a small, interdisciplinary research group doing work along multiple axes of resource extraction/development in western Canada (environmental, cultural, economic, political). Our goal is to produce credible, independent work that speaks to the broader conversations about contentious subjects including IPPs, shale gas and LNG development, and public engagement in and resistance to these developments in BC and beyond.

Our research breaks down into specific but complementary studies. These include case studies and case comparisons focusing on particular resource developments and policy processes. For example, we are currently working on global and cumulative environmental impacts of shale gas development, consultation processes with the Fort Nelson First Nation, and watershed governance in the Horn River Basin.

Conducting this constellation of related studies allows us to better examine relationships between different forms of resource extraction. For example, we are using the framing of energy systems to situate shale gas, LNG, IPPs and electricity generation in relation to one another. We’re also looking at cumulative effects on biodiversity resulting from multiple overlapping industrial developments. We are interested in how historical legacies shape decision-making, for example situating today’s growth in shale gas against the backdrop of a historical staples economy and declines in forestry. We are also interested in how decisions undertaken today build path dependency towards the future of our economy and energy system.

We’re working to situate these topics in global context. Development of BC’s significant natural resources, including timber, water, natural gas, and renewable energy potential, are all situated in a larger context, affected by regional and global economic and political drivers. Our energy system has infrastructural/ regulatory/ economic links with neighbouring jurisdictions. We aim to take this all into account. We’re also attuned to the ways in which BC is globally significant, including its biodiversity and wildlife values, climate policy leadership, and near-unparalleled energy resources. We’re interested in learning about best practices and lessons from related projects in other jurisdictions.

We are also engaged in bigger-picture conceptual work on the politics of transformation of energy systems and politics of resistance. We are interested in public engagement, and in how resistance movements build in and around industrial developments. Our work has placed particular emphasis on First Nations consultation and title, the causes and nature of resistance, and policy recommendations for improved public engagement.

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