SPPA PhD in Public Policy graduate Daniel Rosenbloom received the 2019 Senate Medal for outstanding academic achievement at the convocation ceremony on June 12. His research focuses on the policy and political dimensions of low-carbon energy transitions. Drawing on transition and political perspectives, he explores the intersection of climate change, energy and societal transitions. Daniel’s work has appeared in a number of high impact journals such as Global Environmental Change, Research Policy, and Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

Daniel says the overriding motivation for his work is a deep concern for the environment and the need for promising responses to the decarbonization challenge. His thesis explores the politics of decarbonization pathways, with a particular focus on the responses to and conflicts surrounding the transition to a low-carbon energy future. As part of this, his dissertation scrutinizes how low-carbon pathways are contemplated and contested within climate-energy policy and analysis.

While technology and the economy are obviously essential to developing a credible response, it is well understood that social and political factors are the primary barriers to serious climate action. That is why I have focused my efforts on the policy and political dimensions of moving toward a low-carbon future. Broadly, my work shows that struggles over ideas are absolutely core to this process. Not only in terms of how we think about the climate problem but also how we assess low-carbon innovations and possible decarbonized futures. Policy can draw lessons about the transformative nature of deep decarbonization and the importance of creating compelling visions for change.

Daniel was co-chair of the organizing committee for the 10th annual International Sustainability Transitions conference to be held at Carleton University June 23-26, 2019. Daniel is also a member of the board for the Sustainability Transitions Research Network and is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto.