Photo of James Meadowcroft

James Meadowcroft

Environmental politics and policy, Energy and climate policy; Energy transitions and decarbonization pathways; Governance for sustainable development

Degrees:BA (McGill) DPhil (Oxford)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2214
Office:5139 River Building


James Meadowcroft holds a Canada Research Chair in Governance for Sustainable Development. He is a Professor in both the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Administration. His research is focused on the ways governments are adjusting their practices and policies to cope with the emergence of problems of the environment and sustainable development. Meadowcroft has written widely on environmental politics and policy, democratic participation and deliberative democracy, national sustainable development strategies, and socio- technical transitions. Recent work focuses on energy and the transition to a low carbon society, and includes publications on carbon capture and storage (CCS), smart grids, the development of Ontario’s electricity system, the politics of socio-technical transitions, and negative carbon emissions. He co-edited the first international comparative study of the politics and policy of CCS (Caching the Carbon, Edward Elgar, 2009). Meadowcroft’s research has been funded by the UK ERSC, SSHRC, NSERC and Carbon Management Canada. He has supervised PhD students working on a variety of environment and energy-related topics including North American air pollution, the politics of biofuels, decarbonization pathways and energy futures.

Meadowcroft is currently co-lead, with Hayley Stevenson (University of Sheffield), on an international research project on Ecosystem services: valuing nature for sustainable development and a green economy, which is being funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the Wellcome Trust and the VolkswagenStiftung. Another initiative is the ‘Taskforce on conceptual foundations of earth system governance’, an international research network (linked to the Earth System Governance project and Future Earth) which is interrogating key ideas that are being formulated to orient global governance of environmental issues (for example: ‘the Anthropocene’,  ‘sustainability science’ or ‘green democracy’). In collaboration with Peter Feindt (Wageningen) and Andreas Duit (Stockholm) he recently edited a special issue of Environmental Politics focused on the Environmental State. Meadowcroft has served as co-editor of the International Political Science Review (1999-2007) and Associate Editor of the Journal of Political Ideologies (2006-). He holds an honorary doctorate from the University Tampere in Finland.

Selected Publications

D. Rosenbloom, H. Burton and J. Meadowcroft (2016), Framing the sun: A discursive approach to understanding multi-dimensional interactions within socio-technical transitions through the case of solar electricity in Ontario, Canada’, Research Policy 45 (6) (2016): 1275-1290.

F. Kern, James Gaede, James Meadowcroft and Jim Watson, ‘The political economy of carbon capture and storage: An analysis of two demonstration projects’, Technological Forecasting & Social Change 102 (c) (2016): 250-260.

P. Feindt, A. Duit and J. Meadowcroft, ‘Greening Leviathan: the rise of the environmental state?’, Environmental Politics 25 (1) (2016): 1-23.

D. Rosenbloom and J. Meadowcroft, ‘The journey towards decarbonisation: Exploring socio-technical transitions in the electricity sector in the province of Ontario (1885-2013) and potential low-carbon pathways’, Energy Policy 65 (2014): 670-679.

J. Meadowcroft, ‘Reaching the limits? Developed country engagement with sustainable development in a challenging conjuncture’, Environment and Planning C, 31(6) (2013): 988 –1002.

J. Meadowcroft, ‘Exploring negative territory: carbon dioxide removal and climate policy initiatives’, Climactic Change (2013), 118 (1): 137-149.

J. Meadowcroft, What about the politics? Sustainable development, transition management, and long term energy transitions, Policy Sciences 42 (2009): 323-340.