Stefan Pauer, Ph.D. Candidate

Ph.D. candidate Stefan Pauer is a climate policy professional with several years of experience in policy analysis and development. His interdisciplinary research draws on political science and economics as well as law, with a strong focus on producing research that is useful for practitioners involved in policy-making. Prior to his doctoral studies, he worked as a Policy Officer at the European Commission on the European Union’s cap-and-trade system, which forms the cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change.

In his research, Stefan investigates a particular climate policy tool that many experts consider to be among the most promising options to make much-needed progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions: border tax adjustments, also known as carbon tariffs.

In fact, a growing number of scholars, business leaders and environmentalists have recommended border tax adjustments to support domestic climate policies. These measures can extend climate or other environmental policies beyond the domestic domain. They offer the promise of environmental, economic and political benefits.

However, despite growing political support and potentially substantial benefits, border tax adjustments are conspicuously absent in practice. Although more and more carbon pricing policies are adopted throughout the world, very few examples of border tax adjustments exist and so far none have been implemented at a general scale in any jurisdiction.

To date no study has subjected this puzzle to a specific and empirical analysis that focuses on actual decisions taken by policy-makers on the ground. Stefan’s research seeks to understand the conditions under which governments adopt these measures by comparing the experience of different jurisdictions around the world.

Stefan’s research will help identify why, despite advice from academics, policy-makers are reluctant to adopt border tax adjustments. With that knowledge, it may be possible to identify opportunities for policy change, in collaboration with policy-makers. Throughout his research, Stefan interviews policy-makers and stakeholders in business, industry, and the environmental community, follows this up by sharing his research results, and seeks out opportunities for knowledge translation to a broader practitioner audience.

Stefan has received numerous scholarships, grants, and awards. The organizations supporting his research include the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, the Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network, the UBC Public Scholars Initiative, and the Allard School of Law at UBC. Most recently, Stefan was awarded a scholarship from the Centre for International Governance Innovation, which includes a period of residency at the organization’s offices in Waterloo, Ontario.

Building on his research to advance effective climate policy, Stefan is pursuing a non-academic career. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he aims to continue focusing on climate policy analysis and development, possibly as part of a think tank or in government administration.

Further Reading for You

Elspeth Kaiser-Derrick, Ph.D. Candidate

Elspeth Kaiser-Derrick was awarded SSHRC support for her doctoral work. For her PhD dissertation, supervised by Dr. Emma Cunliffe, she will analyze court transcripts and other official records pertaining to the incarceration of women. She will examine the cycle through which prison as an institution engenders distress in women, whose coping mechanisms may then be treated with greater punitiveness by correctional authorities.

Read article

Krish Maharaj, Ph.D. Candidate

In addition to his doctoral work on mitigation, Krish has also researched and published on issues relating to promissory estoppel and the effective regulation of exclusion clauses, and worked on a wider range of issues in private law including anti-trust, agency, fiduciary duties, estoppel, and taxation during his time at the bar in New Zealand, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Read article

Lachlan Caunt, Ph.D. Candidate

Lachlin’s doctoral dissertation uses multi-level qualitative and quantitative analysis to attempt to determine if, after an insurer pays out a damage award, they make the wrongdoer ‘pay’ for their negligence in some fashion. This would include tactics such as the insurer refusing to pay for future claims arising from similar negligence, increasing the amount that the insurer charges for coverage, or requiring training to avoid that particular kind of negligence.

Read article

Robert Russo, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Russo has a longstanding personal and professional interest in human rights law and social justice issues, which led him to return to graduate law studies. His cultural identity has been shaped by his parents, who immigrated to Canada from Italy in the years following the Second World War. Being born in Montreal to the son of working class Italian immigrants influenced his chosen academic focus on immigration and labour law issues within a general human rights context.

Read article