Thomas Budd

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Thomas Budd is a Ph.D student researching energy and climate policy within SFU School of Resource and Environmental Management’s Energy and Materials Research Group under the supervision of Dr. Mark Jaccard. Thomas received his Bachelor of Arts (Honours with Distinction) in Economics at SFU where he focused on Resource, Environmental and Ecological Economics. He attained a master’s degree in resource management pursuing research in energy economy emissions modeling of urban climate policies.

As a Ph.D student, Thomas is enhancing the capabilities of energy economy emissions models to test policies and advance solutions to decarbonize Emissions-Intensive and Trade-Exposed (EITE) industries while mitigating ‘carbon-leakage’ and securing future economic and employment opportunities for industrial workers. For his academic efforts, Thomas has received fellowships and scholarships including a British Columbia Graduate Scholarship, SFU’s Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship, and a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship—Doctoral Program (CGS-D)

Thomas hopes that his SSHRC Research: Advances in integrating technological innovation and international trade modeling for analyzing deep decarbonization policies of emissions-intensive and trade-exposed industries, will contribute to  improved policies and the betterment of our local and global communities.

What inspired your current research topic?
I am inspired to use my interdisciplinary training at REM to pursue research that will give back to community.  I am working to advance analytical tools capable of assessing the effectiveness of policies to achieve a transition for our energy systems towards a path of rapid deep decarbonization.  Specifically, my research focuses on analyzing strategies and measures that will decarbonize Canada’s industrial sectors classified as emissions-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE).  In pursuing this research, I will be forming bridges between existing silos of expertise to present a comprehensive understanding of the problem.  I am excited to integrate relevant knowledge from climate policy studies, science and technology, business innovation, energy economics, and trade.  Moreover, I am looking forward to engaging with government and industry stakeholders in the pursuit of applying my research to develop solutions that will help achieve a Canada wide net-zero by 2050 greenhouse gas emissions target.

Why do you think this topic is important?
In 2015, industry contributed to 41% of British Columbia’s GHG emissions and 36% of emissions Canada wide. There are several primary challenges that accompany the technological transition necessary to reduce GHG emissions from industries that are emissions-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE).  Emissions-intensive industries are dependent upon industrial processes that require fuel sources with high energy density which are challenging to replace with renewable or zero-emission technologies without increasing production costs. Trade-exposed industries are dependent upon competitive international markets to sell their products and could lose market share if the implementation of zero-emission technologies require an increase in the price of their goods. The combined characteristics of being emissions-intensive and trade-exposed make EITE industries one of the most challenging of all emitting sectors to decarbonize, requiring solutions which transition industrial process to zero-emission while preserving domestic employment opportunities essential to the welfare of Canadians.

How will the British Columbia Graduate Scholarship, SFU’s Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship, and a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship—Doctoral Program (CGS-D) help you achieve your research goals?
I am grateful to REM, SFU, SSHRC and the B.C. Graduate Scholarship Fund, for the generous support I have received. Being the recipient of these awards has permitted me to invest all my efforts and energies in pursuit of my research.  I will have the opportunity to accomplish an ambitious research agenda of developing energy-economy modelling tools capable of conducting policy analysis and examining a portfolio of solutions available to government and the private sector to decarbonize industry.  I will be able to directly engage with stakeholders and solution seekers to develop and hone my research to provide the greatest impact in giving back to community.  Ultimately, this funding will enable the submission of research publications which contributes to the understanding for how our global societies can succeed in decarbonizing our economics and creating a more sustainable world.