Dave Sawyer

Dave Sawyer

Chief Economist, Institute for Canadian Climate Choices

Dave Sawyer is Environmental Economist with over 25 years of national and international experience. Dave has built a solid reputation as a leader in the economics of climate policy and energy futures in Canada. His advice is routinely sought by a wide cross-section of climate policy leaders around the world, bridging political realities with sound economic theory.

For over 20 years, Dave has provided insight on the impact of carbon policy. He was the lead author of a number of seminal Canadian reports on national carbon policy (here, here and here) and has published on competitiveness impacts (here and here). Dave has also been working in developing countries on the socio-benefits of low carbon development (here, here and here).

Throughout this time, Dave has been working with a small group of energy and macroeconomic modellers to identify the key elements of low carbon pathways for Canada. Recent work on deep decarbonization pathways for Canada figured prominently in the Government of Canada’s Mid-Century Long-Term GHG Development Strategy and formed the basis of the policy package developed for Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.

Dave now co-leads Decarbonization Pathways Canada with Dr. Chris Bataille.

Dave is currently advising Alberta on the competitiveness implications of the transition of its large final emitter GHG program (SGER), advising Manitoba on carbon policy options and tax shifting outcomes; Nova Scotia on the design of its cap and trade program, and Ontario on scenarios for post-2020 cap and trade design (in addition to conducting Ontario’s competitiveness and macroeconomic analysis of the cap and trade program).

He holds a number of advisory positions:

  • Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund;
  • The Ontario Energy Board on long-term carbon price trajectories and marginal abatement cost curves for the natural gas sector.
  • The federal Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development, currently advising on two federal audits related to carbon technology deployment and long-term carbon policy.

He has held positions with Environment Canada, Canada’s Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development and leading Canadian consultancies. He was Vice-President for Climate, Energy and Partnerships with the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s (IISD) from 2011 to 2013. In this role, he led a team of 20 adaptation and mitigation specialists working on low carbon, climate resilient development globally. He is currently a senior associate with IISD and a School Fellow at Carleton’s School of Public Policy.



Sessions with this Speaker

The Era of Enhanced Ambition: Global Climate Leadership & Cooperation

  • Climate Crisis
  • Mobilizing Capital
The call for global climate action is hitting a critical peak, and 2020 is a crucial year for international climate policy. However, policy alone will not be enough to create the ambitious action needed to meet this call.

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Katie Sullivan Managing Director, IETA
Kelley Kizzier Associate Vice President for International Climate, Environmental Defense Fund
Dr. Maryam Golnaraghi Director of Extreme Events and Climate Risk, The Geneva Association
Eric Whan Director, GlobeScan
Dave Sawyer Chief Economist, Institute for Canadian Climate Choices
Duncan Van Bergen Vice President, Nature Based Solutions, Shell
Catherine Stewart Director General, Multilateral Affairs and Climate Change, Environment and Climate Change Canada