Nathan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research looks at the impact of the fossil fuel industry on climate change policy in advanced, liberal democracies and is funded by a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation scholarship and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada CGS doctoral scholarship.
Beyond his own research, Nathan is a research assistant at the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Environmental Governance Lab, where he has studied fossil fuel subsidy reform initiatives and German energy policy. Recently, Nathan was a Junior Fellow at Massey College, where he was Co-chair of the Environment Committee. He also co-chaired the University of Toronto’s Responsible Investment Committee, which provides independent advice for the stewards of the university’s $7.6 billion (CAD) endowment and pension fund. Nathan also sits on the Community of Interest Panel of the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining program.
Prior to his doctoral studies, Nathan spent four years as a senior policy analyst at the Pembina Institute, a Canadian environmental and energy policy thinktank. In that capacity, he published policy reports and op-eds on the environmental impacts and economics of oilsands and pipeline development. At Pembina, Nathan contributed to private- and public-sector consulting projects on such topics as offshore oil and gas drilling regulations, wetlands policy, sustainable design, and sustainability reporting. In 2013, he testified at the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline Joint Review Panel hearing, on market diversification in the energy sector at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, and on the safety of hydrocarbon transport in Canada at the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. Nathan’s commentary on climate and energy policy has appeared in such venues as the Montreal Gazette, The Globe and Mail, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has appeared regularly on CBC, Global, and CTV news and current affairs television programs.
Nathan has worked as a biologist in the Yukon, Alberta, and France, as an environmental educator, as a youth mentor, and as an intern with UNESCO. Nathan holds a bachelor’s of science degree in environmental and conservation sciences from the University of Alberta and a master’s degree in city planning (certificate in environmental policy and planning) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he wrote his thesis on the interface between Alberta’s environmental policies and the corporate environmental performance of three oilsands mines.
Sept 2013 – Present
Research Assistant, Environmental Governance Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
• Research case studies on policy pathways to decarbonization
• Currently examining the Global Subsidies Initiative’s fossil fuel subsidy reform program and Germany’s energy policy
August 2011 – July 2013
Senior Policy Analyst, The Pembina Institute
Calgary, Alberta and Ottawa, Ontario
• liased with Members of Parliament, senior federal bureaucrats, think-tanks, national media and diplomatic community in Ottawa on oilsands and pipeline-related issues.
• organization liaison with U.S. congressional and administration offices and other DC-based NGOs on oilsands policy issues
• lead analyst and spokesperson on macroeconomics of oilsands, reclamation liability management of the oilsands and oilsands export pipelines
October 2009 – July 2011
Technical and Policy Analyst, The Pembina Institute
• conducted research on a range of energy issues from greenhouse gas emission management to offshore drilling regulations and oilsands environmental policy
• engaged with provincial elected officials and senior bureaucrats on oilsands policy
• authored several major reports on reclamation liability management of oil sands mines and the economic case for Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline
May 2006 – July 2007
Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of A Rocha International
• supported the chief executive officer of an environmental group operating in 20 countries
• managed logistics and accounting for C.E.O., travelling with him to South Africa, Kenya, Portugal, and London
• coordinated an international environmental education network within 17 organization countries
• developed ecological studies of a threatened bird species and implemented habitat monitoring program
Fall and Spring of 2005
RiverWatch River Interpreter
• led day-long environmental education raft trips on the North Saskatchewan River to promote water quality awareness within the Edmonton region
• delivered guided tours of wastewater management plant for local school and community groups
• conducted upstream and downstream environmental chemistry tests with children to determine river health
Summer of 2004
Central East Slopes Wolf and Elk Study – Field Assistant
Rocky Mountains, Alberta
• collected data for study examining the effects of oil/gas development and logging on wolf populations
• tracked, trapped and handled wolves and fitted with GPS collars
• conducted ungulate mortality investigations; extensive pellet transects, habitat classification and plant sampling
• ground and aerial telemetry of wolf and elk populations
Summer of 2003
NSERC Undergraduate Field Assistant
Haines Junction, Yukon Territory
• investigated the effect of climate change on the behaviour of red squirrels
• spearheaded an independent study project exploring the “Dear-Enemy” hypothesis in red squirrels
• developed techniques in live trapping, radio telemetry and behavioural observations
- Presentation to the Parliament of Canada Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on the safety of hydrocarbon transport in Canada – 30 May 2013
- Presentation to the Parliament of Canada House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources on market diversification in the energy sector – 7 May 2013
- Witness on behalf of ForestEthics Advocacy for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel – September and November 2012 (Pipeline economics, upstream and midstream environmental impacts)
- Expert witness on behalf of Oil Sands Environmental Coalition for the Total Joslyn North Mine Joint Review Panel – October 2010 (Reclamation liability, emergency planning)
September 2008 – June 2009
M.I.T. – U.S.G.S. Science Impact Collaborative Intern
State of Maryland – Coast Smart Communities Initiative
• developed a role-playing simulation for 170 local elected officials, state legislators, developers and residents designed to facilitate local conversations on how coastal communities in Maryland can adapt to climate change
Consultant for BP Energy India and Swayam Shikshan Prayog
• evaluated the economic and social sustainability of a partnership between BP Energy and a local development NGO to sell pellet bio-mass stoves through empowered women in post-disaster villages
• recommended strategies on how to leverage social capital along the supply chain to improve profitability and social impact for a program that currently reaches 400,000 local people
June 2008 – August 2008
Graduate Student Intern, Management of Social Transformations Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
• crafted strategic guidance documents for a UNESCO online policy research tool, designed to provide no-fee, global access for both social scientists and policymakers
May 2008 – June 2008
Consultant to the Dept. of Environmental Management, eThekwini Municipality
Durban, South Africa
• assessed city’s management climate change-associated risks
• constructed web architecture for an online tool to help city managers better integrate climate adaption activities
January 2008 Navajo Nation, Arizona
Diné Peacemaking Project – MIT/Harvard Public Disputes Program
• investigated role of traditional peacemaking in building social capital among indigenous environmental groups by interviewing key politicians, lawyers, activist groups and local community members in a 10-day fact-finding mission
• drafted a strategic assessment document for MIT/Harvard Public Disputes Program professors building multi-year collaboration with Diné Peacemakers
Urban Designer – Gulf Coast Community Design Studio
East Biloxi, Mississippi
• assisted in re-designing environmental infrastructure for a Hurricane Katrina affected community in conjunction with an MIT site planning course
September 2007 – May 2008
M.I.T. – U.S.G.S. Science Impact Collaborative Intern
Cooperative Sagebrush Initiative
• using a joint fact finding process, assessed the largest private industry-led conservation credit trading scheme in the Sagebrush region of the Western U.S.; stakeholders in this initiative included energy industry, local landowners, government agencies, environmental and indigenous groups
• researched government mitigation policies of energy industry on federal land
- PhD Candidate in Political Science (Comparative Politics and Public Policy subfields): University of Toronto 2013 – Present
- Masters in City Planning (Environmental Policy and Planning Certificate): Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2007 – 2009
- Thesis: Alberta bound: the interface between Alberta’s environmental policies and the environmental management of three Albertan oil sands companies.
- B.Sc. Environmental and Conservation Sciences (Conservation Biology Major): University of Alberta 1999 – 2005
Scholarships and Awards
- 2014 Trudeau Foundation Scholarship
- 2014 SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship
- 2011 MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning Excellence in Public Service Award
- 2007-2009 MIT – USGS Science Impact Collaborative Research Associate
- 2007 M.I.T. Entrance Scholarship and Research Fellowship Award
- 2007 National Council of Churches Faith and Eco-Justice Fellow
- 2006 ECO Canada International Environmental Youth Corps Internship
- 2003 NSERC Undergraduate Research Award
- Mining Association of Canada – Towards Sustainable Mining Initiative – Community of Interest Advisory Panel Member 2012 to present
- Graduate Association of Students in Political Science – External Representative to the Graduate Student Union 2014 to 2016
- University of Toronto – Responsible Investment Committee – Co-Chair 2015 to 2016
- Massey College – Environment Committee – Co-Chair 2015 to 2016
- Vanquishing the “bitumen bubble” will require fresh ideas, not business as usual, Pembina Institute, Published in Edmonton Journal (31 Jan 2013).
- Conference Board short-changes Canada’s clean energy future, Pembina Institute, Published in iPolitics (1 Nov 2012).
- What’s at the end of the oilsands rainbow?, Pembina Institute, Published in iPolitics (29 Oct 2012).
- Government statements on Gateway hearings show Canada is open for business, closed to criticism, Pembina Institute, Published in The Mark (11 Jan 2012), The National Post (13 Jan 2012), Calgary Herald (23 Jan 2012).
- Should Canada export oil and gas to Asia?, Pembina Institute, Published on the Asia Pacific Foundation (1 Sept 2011).
- Enbridge should go back to the drawing board with pipeline plan, Pembina Institute, Published in The Vancouver Sun (18 Dec 2010).
- Albertans could be on the hook for oilsands cleanup bill, Pembina Institute, Published in Edmonton Journal (15 Sept 2010) and Montreal Gazette (17 Sept 2010).
Selected Recent Interviews
- 26 January 2015 – Vancouver Sun: “Mount Polley rating won’t be released“
- 10 March 2015 – Radio-Canada: “Gogama : la hausse du transport de pétrole par train en partie responsable des accidents, croient des experts“
- 15 April 2015 – CBC News: “NEB spill map takes a step towards transparency“
- 7 July 2015 – Vice’s Motherboard: “Robots are wandering through oil pipelines that have never been inspected“
Newspaper: Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Free Press, Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Observer, The Tyee, National Post, Globe and Mail, Le Devoir, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Le Monde, Financial Times
Radio: CBC, Radio-Canada, AM 660, NPR Market Place
TV: CBC, Radio-Canada, Alberta Primetime, Omni, BNN, Canada AM, CTV News, Global, Sun TV, Fox News.
Magazines: Oilweek, Oilsands Review, MIT Technology Review, Bloomberg Businessweek
Blog Posts: The Mark, Troy Media, Digital Journal, Pembina Institute, Corporate Knights, University of Toronto Sustainability Office