Matthew Paterson

Expertise: Environment, global environmental politics, Political Economy

Matthew Paterson’s research focuses on the political economy of global environmental change. His publications include Global Warming and Global Politics (Routledge 1996), Automobile Politics: Ecology and Cultural Political Economy (Cambridge University Press 2007), Climate Capitalism: global warming and the transformation of the global economy (with Peter Newell, Cambridge University Press 2010), and Transnational Climate Change Governance (with Harriet Bulkeley and 8 others, Cambridge University Press 2014).

He is working at the moment on a book on climate change politics in the city of Ottawa, on political rhetoric and climate change, and continuing to work on global climate change governance. He was a Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (2014), working on the chapter on international cooperationt.

Posts & Activities by Matthew Paterson

  • Moving from good optics to sustained action on climate change


    The new Canadian government has certainly shot off the starting blocks at breakneck speed on climate policy. Catherine McKenna was more or less packing for a ministerial meeting in Paris while swearing her oath to become Minister of Environment and Climate Change. 

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  • Serious climate action requires emission reduction targets


    Justin Trudeau has announced that the Liberals “won’t set a specific emissions target” for greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change. His reasoning is that, “what we need is not ambitious political targets. What we need is an ambitious plan to reduce our emissions in the country.”

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  • Why Crowley has it wrong on cars, freedom, and public transit


    In Wednesday's Globe and Mail, Brian Lee Crowley of the MacDonald Laurier Institute produced what he called a “homage to the (undeservedly) hated car”. In it, he reproduced a number of standard shibboleths against what he sees as “the paternalistic philosophy of centralized urban planning that has infected city halls in virtually every major city in the country” determined to get people out of their cars.

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  • 'Economic freedom' and the politics of environmental performance


    The Fraser Institute released a report (on Earth Day naturally) claiming that, "air pollution declines as economic freedom rises." PressProgress provided a quick reality check on some of the main idiocies of the report.

    But there is more to be said about this report and what it tells us about the ways that conservative forces attempt to appropriate (and de facto, even if this is not their intent, undermine) environmental policy. In part this is because behind the ideological obfuscation, the report asks a good question – can we say anything sensible about the political conditions under which good environmental policy is made?

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  • With U.S.-China climate deal, Canada's isolation deepens


    Tuesday’s U.S.-China climate deal has been hailed widely as an “historic deal” that dramatically changes the dynamics of international climate politics as countries search for a new global agreement by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Climate Convention in Paris in 2015.

    Clearly it is a welcome development in a number of senses: it involves a very public commitment from the world’s largest emitters that will be hard to renege on; it puts pressure on other countries that have not already made pledges (many already have) to reduce emissions, or to up the ambition of their pledges in some cases; and it can act to create further trust amongst countries that the major emitters are negotiating in good faith building momentum towards Paris.

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  • The race is on: the U.N. climate summit and the pursuit of a low-carbon economy


    The race is on. Monday’s U.N. climate summit, entitled “catalyzing action”, was designed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a sort of opening stage of the Tour de France, which like that epic race, ends in Paris.

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