The best Canadian mind on the environment

November 30, 2006, vol.37, no.7
By Marianne Meadahl

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To Canadians who follow energy issues, SFU professor Mark Jaccard is a familiar commentator. In recognition of his exemplary efforts to educate the public about challenges related to energy, he is the recipient of SFU's 2006 President's award for service through media and public relations.

Professor Mark Jaccard is one of three new appointees to the federal government's National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE). Jaccard, environmental consultant David Chernushenko and Timothy Haig, president and CEO of BIOX Corporation and chair of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, will examine and advise on the environmental and economic implications of issues brought to the NRTEE.Jaccard is also the winner of a media prize.

Described by Globe and Mail columnist Roy MacGregor as “currently the best Canadian mind on the environment,” Jaccard is regularly sought by journalists across the country and internationally. And lately, with growing attention on the grim impact of climate change and Canada's environmental role and responsibility, such issues arise almost daily.

A fervent commentator and editorial writer, Jaccard has been at the forefront of the climate change debate for decades. His SFU Energy and Materials Research Group (EMRG) is one of the largest energy-environment policy groups in Canada. The former chair of the B.C. Utilities Commission (1992-97) and consultant to governments nationally and abroad, Jaccard was recently appointed to the federal government's National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.

Jaccard says there is a great public hunger for information on the future of our energy system and related issues, such as decreasing oil supplies and rising energy prices. “I try to respond, to make myself available to help the media do a decent job of educating the public,” he says. Jaccard's research is related to the design and application of energy system models that are useful to politicians and interest groups wanting to explore policies to shift our energy system to a more sustainable path.

Jaccard describes 2006 as his most intensive year of public engagement, including tours of Europe and North America to talk about his latest book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels, which earned the Donner prize earlier this year. By the end of December he will have given 54 public talks in 38 different cities. Another book is in the works.

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