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David Sawyer

School Fellow

Dave Sawyer is an environmental economist with a twenty-five year track record in helping solve policy challenges for sustainable development. He is an accomplished advisor, author and communicator with experience working with government and industry in Canada and around the world. He holds a B.A. in economics from McMaster University and a Masters of Development Economics from Dalhousie University.

Dave provides innovative modelling, analytics and institutional support to reveal the implications of environmental policy choices. He has an in-depth understanding of Canadian and international environmental policy issues, bridging political realities with sound economic theory.

He has held positions with Environment Canada, Canada’s Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development and leading Canadian consultancies. Most recently, he was the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s vice-president for climate, energy and partnerships, leading a team of 20 adaptation and mitigation specialists working on low carbon, climate resilient development globally.

For over 20 years, Dave has provided insight on the impact of carbon policy. He was the lead author of important Canadian reports on national carbon policy, such as the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy’s Getting to 2050 and Achieving 2050.  Dave has also been working in developing countries on the socio-benefits of low carbon development.

Throughout this time, Dave has been working with a small group of energy and macroeconomic modelers to identify the key elements of low carbon pathways for Canada. Recent work on deep decarbonization pathways for Canada figured prominently in the Government of Canada’s Mid-Century Long-Term GHG Development Strategy and formed the basis of the policy package developed for Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.

Dave is advising a wide range of governments and institutions on climate policy design and economic outcomes.