2010 Sterling prize winner Mark Jaccard

Jaccard wins Sterling Prize

September 23, 2010

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Correction Appended

Environmental economist Mark Jaccard, whose work on sustainable energy and climate policy has garnered international acclaim—and criticism, has won SFU’s 2010 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy.

He will receive the prize at 7 pm, Oct. 5 at the Vancouver campus Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue before delivering his Sterling Prize lecture: Climate Controversies: The Saga Continues.

For almost two decades Jaccard has argued that energy options should not be seen as a choice between good (renewable energy, energy efficiency) and evil (fossil fuels, nuclear power). He says greenhouse gas emissions will not decline unless climate policies are dominated by strong emissions pricing (carbon tax, cap-and-trade) and regulations (vehicle standards, building codes, land-use zoning).

"Most governments have been unwilling to implement strong climate policies, although they talk a good line about ambitious targets and faking-it policies," says Jaccard. "Our (B.C.) government has established policies that are a model for the world, but it has not been easy… and there is much work ahead."

Jaccard has shown that subsidies are usually ineffective and energy efficiency is much more difficult than its advocates claim—positions that have sometimes put him at odds with politicians, industry, environmental organizations and certain media.

As a result, Jaccard has frequently been the object of attacks, sometimes of a personal nature. Today, Jaccard’s research has found acceptance and acclaim both nationally and around the globe, with real impacts on public policy.

A professor in SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management, Jaccard served as chair and CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission from 1992-97. In 2005, his book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels, won the Donner Prize for best policy book in Canada.

Jaccard is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change team that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2008, he was named Academic of the Year by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC.

The Nora and Ted Sterling award honours work that challenges complacency and provokes controversy or contributes to its understanding.

Jaccard’s lecture is free, but reservations are advised, at

Correction: Sept. 23, 2010
The original, print version of this story misspelled Sterling Prize winner Jaccard’s first name. It is Mark Jaccard (not Marc).


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