Biography

I am a professor of sustainable energy in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. Originally from Vancouver, I did my doctorate at the Institute for Energy Economics and Policy at the University of Grenoble in 1987. Offered a position at SFU upon graduation, I leapt at the chance to return to my beloved home town with its beautiful setting of ocean and mountains. I have been at SFU ever since, except for taking a leave from 1992 to 1997 to serve as Chairman and CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

Internationally, I contributed to assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changewhich was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. My most recent contribution to the IPCC was as a lead author on the 2011 IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate ChangeMitigation. I was also convening lead author for the chapter on sustainable energy policy in the monumental 2012 Global Energy Assessment – a five year international collaboration of leading energy experts. I have contributed since 1994 to the China Council forInternational Cooperation on Environment and Development. My latest mission for the council was to co-chair a task force on sustainable use of coal. We presented our recommendations to the Chinese premier in November 2009, just prior to his departure for the Copenhagen climate conference. I have also provided advice to policy makers in other countries, including the United States, France, Brazil, Hungary, Abu Dhabi and Mexico.

Nationally, I have been a research fellow with the C.D. Howe Institute, producing evaluations and recommendations on Canadian climate policy. I was appointed by the Canadian government to a three-year term (2006-2009) on the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, an advisory body on sustainability. Having my own consulting company for over 25 years, I and my staff have provided advice on energy and climate policy to departments of the Canadian government, related agencies (such as the Auditor General and the National Climate Change Program), industrial organizations, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and provincial and territorial governments.

Locally, I chaired over 40 regulatory hearings while at the utilities commission, as well as leading special inquiries into energy efficiency, fuel pricing and incentive-based rate-making. I also chaired a one-year task force on electricity market reform in B.C. in 1997-98, and virtually all of my recommendations were implemented by the provincial government in 2003. This model was also adopted by Quebec, whose government I advised at the time. In the period 2006 – 2008, I played an advisory role in the development of B.C.’s innovative climate policies, which include North America’s most aggressive zero-emission electricity standard and its only serious carbon tax, the latter now at $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide for all fossil fuel related carbon pollution.

I have over 100 academic publications (see Energy and Materials Research Group). My research is mostly focused on the design and application of large computer models that simulate the likely effect of policies to shift the economy to a more sustainable energy path. My innovations in developing what are now referred to as hybrid energy-economy models played a key role in my selection in 2009 as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. My main model, called CIMS, is applied frequently to Canada and the US, and sometimes to other countries.

I frequently engage with the general public in sustainable energy issues through my writing and other media activities – interviews on radio, TV and in the print media. My co-authored 2002 book, The Cost of Climate Policy, won the Policy Research Institute award for best policy book in Canada and was shortlisted for the Donner Prize. My 2005 book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels, won the Donner Prize for best policy book in Canada. In 2007, I co-authored Hot Air with Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson. My latest book, to be published in 2013, focuses on how to overcome human psychological traits that hinder our ability to act effectively on the global warming threat.

My scholarly work and engagement with the public and policy makers has been recognized numerous times. One notable award was to be named the British Columbian Academic of the Year by the association of British Columbian faculty members in 2008.