Nic Rivers

Grad student wins $150,000 Trudeau prize

June 12, 2008

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SFU grad student Nic Rivers, who co-authored Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Challenge on Climate Change (2007) with SFU environmental economist Mark Jaccard and Globe and Mail journalist Jeffrey Simpson, has won a 2008 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation award.

Rivers is one of only 15 scholars across the country to receive the $150,000 prize, intended to advance research on topics that include the environment, natural resources and energy, communication, and international trade.

The Vancouver native, who was recognized for his work in assessing the effectiveness of alternative strategies to counter climate change, is a member of the School of Resource and Environmental Management’s Energy and Materials Research Group.

Trained as an engineer and resource manager, Rivers works at the nexus of public policy, economics and science. His chosen field is climate change and over the last several years he has been involved in Canada’s climate-change debate at all levels, providing policy advice to local, provincial and federal governments. He has also advised industry, utilities and non-government organizations on strategies to proactively engage in forthcoming climate policy debates.

Rivers says his research, "aims to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of alternative policies and strategies for climate change abatement, an endeavour which has to date been lacking in Canada’s climate policy efforts."

He has written for academic journals, government agencies and think tanks, and co-authored (with Jaccard, in 2007) a report for the Institute for Research on Public Policy on Canada’s lack of effective policy response on greenhouse gas reduction.

The promising young climate-change expert says he will continue to explore reasons for success and failure in Canada’s past policy instruments. He also plans to study the distributional and competitiveness impacts of alternative climate-change abatement strategies in Canada.

"If concerns over income distribution and industrial competitiveness can be adequately addressed, developing appropriate climate policy in Canada will face one less challenge," says Rivers.

The Trudeau award consists of three annual $50,000 bursaries to subsidize tuition fees and living expenses and enable the scholars to travel for research and scholarly networking.

The Trudeau foundation anticipates that its scholars will go on to become leading authorities on issues affecting local and global societies.
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