Douglas Macdonald

Senior Lecturer and Associate Member of graduate faculty, School of the Environment.
Academic Associate Director, July 1 2013 to December 31, 2015

Office: School of the Environment, Room 1049B (5 Bancroft Ave. entrance);
tel: 416-978-1558; fax: 416-978-3884; email:

Hon. B.A., M.A., Toronto; Ph.D. (Environmental Studies), York.


Doug Macdonald


Politics of Canadian environmental policy making, in particular climate change, energy-environment, toxic substances.



1) Canadian federal-provincial climate and energy policy

The need for agreement on equitable sharing of emission reduction costs: A fifth Working Group should be added to the Vancouver Declaration process  Submission to the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Groups, with Asya Bidordinova, doctoral candidate, Geography, July 25, 2016

“Climate Change Policy” In Debora L. VanNijnatten, ed. Canadian Environmental Policy and Politics: The Challenges of Austerity and Ambivalence. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2016.

“The challenge of Canadian climate and energy federalism: Explaining the collapse of the Canadian National Climate Change Process, 1998-2002".  Paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association June, 2015

Allocating Canadian Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions Amongst Sources and Provinces: Learning from the European Union, Australia and Germany. SSHRC-funded research project, with European and Canadian colleagues. 2013

“Allocating greenhouse gas emission reductions amongst sectors and jurisdictions in federated systems: the European Union, Germany and Canada.” In Inger Weibust and James Meadowcroft, eds. Multilevel Environmental Governance: Managing Water and Climate Change in Europe and North America. Chelthenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2014.

Carbon province, hydro province: the challenge of Canadian climate and energy federalism. Book manuscript in preparation.

Macdonald, D. and Matthew Lesch. 2013. “Competing visions and inequitable costs: the national energy strategy and regional distributive conflicts.” Journal of Environmental Law and Practice 25: 1-17.

Macdonald, D. 2012. Harper energy and climate policy: failing to address the key challenges. In G.B. Doern and C. Stoney (eds.) How Ottawa Spends 2011-12. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Kingston-Montreal.


2) Political resistance to the low-carbon transition motivated by distributive effects

Changes in relevant policies, social norms and market practices will bring about a major change in the existing distribution of cost and benefit. Winners, such as renewable energy industries, will support low-carbon policies while losers, such as those living new wind turbines, will resist them. How can academics and policy makers both conceptualize the issue and design policy to minimize such effects?

“Political implications of the distributive effects of Canadian climate policy.” with David Houle. 2016. Unpublished paper.

“Management of Distributive Impacts Impeding Expansion of Interprovincial Hydro-electricity Transmission” with Matt Lesch, Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol 49, No 2 Fall 2015. Forthcoming.


3) Theoretical foundations of interdisciplinary environmental studies

Each of the disciplines upon which interdisciplinary environmental studies is based rests upon a limited number of core theoretical assumptions and conceptualizations. As interdisciplinary environmental studies is being established within teaching and research, is it generating its own core theoretical approaches?

“Conceptualizing the Human (H) - Nonhuman (NH) Relationship”. Summary overview, for comment. May, 2016.

“Human capacity, self-interest and moral restraint: attempting to understand the ecological crisis.” Paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, June, 2015.


Macdonald, D. 2012.  State interest as an explanatory factor in the failure of the soft-path energy vision.  Energy Policy 43 (April  2012): 92-101

Macdonald, D. 2007. Business and Environmental Politics in Canada.  Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ontario. 240 pages.  (Winner of the 2008 Canadian Political Science Association Donald Smiley Prize.)