Brendan Haley

Expertise: Environment, Political Economy

Brendan Haley promotes Canada’s sustainable energy transition through research and action. He is currently a Banting Post-Doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies. Brendan has a PhD in Public Policy from Carleton University. His thesis examined the role of traditional natural resource sectors in Canadian low-carbon transitions, drawing insights from Canadian political economy and technological innovation system frameworks.

He forged a stakeholder consensus to create Canada's first energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Nova Scotia. He has written and taught on energy efficiency issues. He was also involved in the development of Nova Scotia's renewable electricity policy, including the community feed-in tariff program. Brendan believes that Canada must develop an approach to climate and energy policy that is rooted in knowledge of the country’s unique history, ecological context, and economic structure. He is interested in exploring climate policy solutions that also create positive political feedbacks and tackle the unique problems confronted by Canada’s diverse regions.

Posts & Activities by Brendan Haley

  • Why a Green New Deal Could Spark a Technological Revolution

    The movement for a “Green New Deal” has taken off in the US and Canada. The idea takes inspiration from the American post-war economic mobilization and creation of a welfare state. The Green New Deal calls on us to solve the climate crisis and provide economic security, through a big, ambitious, and multifaceted policy approach.

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  • Climate policy and Canadian social democracy


    Recent events have triggered an important discussion on the Left’s approach to climate change policy. The Leap Manifesto is one expression of the desire to transition to a carbon neutral economy while creating a more just and “caring” society.

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  • Green transition cannot be left to provinces alone


    Last week, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau appeared to back away from a national carbon price. He said some of the provinces have already implemented carbon pricing, so the federal government will be left to "oversee."

    What Trudeau is actually saying isn’t quite clear, but it certainly seems like he is giving up on creating a national carbon price and leaving it to the provinces.


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  • Conservatives learn efficiency, not fossil fuels, the path to energy security


    On May 1st, the Standing Committee on Natural Resources considered the issue of “Energy Security of Ukraine and the Rest of Europe”. Government MPs likely picked this topic because they were expecting the export of Canadian oil and gas to be the “solution” to Europe’s challenge.

    What they learned, however, was unexpected. What was the most realistic way to promote energy security in the Ukraine and Europe? Energy efficiency!

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  • Innovation: re-thinking the role of the state


    Mariana Mazzucato’s new book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, has created some buzz: her Ted Talk has been widely shared, and the book is being discussed by the Economist, the Financial Times, and in the Globe & Mail by the Broadbent Institute’s own Andrew Jackson.

    The book goes a long way towards debunking myths about private sector innovation. There is a persistent view that private entrepreneurs are the lions of the economy, fearlessly setting new directions and taking risks. Mazzucato argues that the private sector is important, but should really be viewed as a pussycat, with the state more aptly described as the lion that takes risks and drives innovation. 

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  • As climate landscape shifts, Canada sticks head in the (tar) sands


    Barack Obama’s new climate change plan could significantly shift the landscape for Canadian economic and climate policy. It should really invite reflection on the Canadian side of the border about the direction in which we should be heading as a country.

    Lots of questions remain about the details and implementation of the U.S. plan. What will the Environmental Protection Agency’s power plant regulations look like?  Will the White House be able to bypass Congress and coordinate with cities and states? What are the implications for Obama’s eventual decision on the Keystone XL pipeline?

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  • Keystone XL and Canada’s Resource Trap


    Harper has just made a trip down the US, after the Canadian government has launched a “please buy our oil” publicity campaign promoting the Keystone XL pipeline on the American airwaves. The federal Conservatives have been tirelessly lobbying American officials. Thus far, this campaign has been quite bizarre, resulting in the Natural Resources Minister hurling threats at governments and insults at climate scientists.  

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  • Why is Joe Oliver okay with 2° C of warming?


    This morning La Presse published a stunning statement by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. He stated “I think that people aren’t as worried as they were before about 2° C of warming” (my translation). 

    Really? To recap, 2° C is the absolute upper limit that climate scientists suggest the world can reach before we introduce the danger of runaway climate change because of feedback effects such as the releases of natural carbon sinks. If we go beyond 2° C we might not be able to turn climate change around.

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  • Proposing a green economic direction in the face of conservative confusion


    In the lead-up to the 2013 budget it is worthwhile recalling the Conservatives’ economic record thus far. Faced with the 2008 economic bust, and a potential ouster from government, the Conservatives were eventually forced into providing “economic stimulus” after the Liberals rejected a coalition with the NDP.

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