Welcome! I’m an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. I am also cross-appointed in the School of Environment. I have previously held positions at Case Western University (in Cleveland, OH) and New York University (in NYC). My research focuses on transnational private regulation and its interactions with public forms of authority. More broadly, I am interested in the ways that global institutions, both public and private, can provide public goods, particularly in the area of environment. My book, Rethinking Private Authority: Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance, was published by Princeton University Press in January 2014. It received the 2015 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for best the book in environmental politics from the International Studies Association, the 2015 Lynton Keith Caldwell Award from the American Political Science Association, and the Levine Prize. In 2017, I received the Emerging Young Scholar Award from APSA’s Science Technology and Environmental Policy Section.
Energy And Climate Policy
International Law & Organization
Greenhouse Gas Accounting
Non-state actors – including firms, non-governmental organizations, and networks – are now a permanent fixture in environmental politics. However, we know surprisingly little about when states choose to delegate to non-state actors through multilateral treaties. This paper provides an historical picture, tracing patterns of delegation to non-state agents in a random sample of multilateral environmental agreements from 1902 to 2002. I introduce a new unit of analysis – the policy function – to understand what nonstate actors actually do as agents. I find that analyses of delegation are sensitive to the unit of analysis; patterns of delegation at the treaty level are very different from those at the level of individual policy functions. While overall the decision to delegate to nonstate actors – what I term transnational delegation – is rare, it has grown over time. Complex treaties, those with secretariats, and those focused on the management of nature are more apt to delegate to non-state actors. Non-state agents fill a small, but growing role in multilateral environmental treaties.
A global network of cap-and-trade systems would deliver greater complexity and fewer emissions cuts
Despite the increasing urgency of many environmental problems, environmental politics remains at the margins of the discipline. Using data from the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) project, this article identifies a puzzle: the majority of international relations (IR) scholars find climate change among the top three most important policy issues today, yet fewer than 4% identify the environment as their primary area of research. Moreover, environmental research is rarely published in top IR journals, although there has been a recent surge in work focused on climate change. The authors argue that greater attention to environmental issues—including those beyond climate change—in IR can bring significant benefits to the discipline, and they discuss three lines of research to correct this imbalance.
Carbon markets are flourishing around the globe, created both by governments and by nonstate actors. In this article, I investigate when and why governments choose to interact with and use private rules about carbon offsets in public regulatory arrangements. The analysis demonstrates that there is blurring between public and private authority, insofar that there are a multiple interactions between the two spheres. However, a closer look reveals that most of these are of a relatively weak nature, since private standards are used for voluntary rather than compliance purposes. To explain this trend, I use qualitative and quantitative analysis and find that NGOs are the main catalysts for the interaction between public and private rules. States are most likely to interact with private regulations when they have large numbers of NGOs active within their borders. In short, private authority is largely a complement to public regulatory arrangements. While previous work that suggests that private authority arises when there are gaps in public rules, the analysis here demonstrates that at the domestic level, this logic does not hold.
We need to rethink the relationship between advocacy and the academy. The time for being an honest broker has passed. The existential threat of climate change requires that we use our expertise, and our position of privilege in the academy, to advocate for solutions rather than merely lay out options.
The Consequences of Trump's withdrawal from Paris Agreement
Trump Withdrawal from Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement -- COP 21
Commenting on the new IPCC 1.5 Degree report on curbing climate change.
Article in The Monkey Cage about the existential politics of climate change