Environmental Governance Seminar Series: Harris Ali

ENP launches the Environmental Governance Seminar Series. Nationally and internationally renowned speakers will highlight a variety of recent topics in Environmental Governance. Lectures are open to the general public. You are warmly invited to attend the lectures.

Organised by Environmental Policy

Tue 18 June 2013 12:30

Venue Leeuwenborch, gebouwnummer 201
Room C70

The next Environmental Governance Seminar is scheduled for Tuesday 18 June 2013.

Harris Ali of the York University in Toronto, Canada will give a seminar, entitled Maintaining a high-carbon society in an era of peak oil: the case of the Canada Tar sands, the Keystone XL and Northern gateway Pipelines.


The extraction of oil for export from the tar sands of the province of Alberta leads to debates on Canada's environmental policy. In particular proposals to construct pipeline are highly controversial, the Keystone XL pipeline that is to run from the province of Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the Northern Gateway pipeline that is to run westward to the  Pacific Ocean coast. This lecture will discuss how institutional arrangements and political economic configurations have influenced the governance of globalized oil flow in our contemporary high-carbon society. Issues are: the competing ways climate change is framed; the influence of domestic and international politics; a threatened trade war between Canada and the EU pertaining to the latter’s fuel quality directive that would prevent export of tar sands oil to Europe; issues of foreign ownership of natural resources in Canada and the role of competing scientific and technical claims, and the role of Indigenous First Nations peoples in the controversies. The analysis will draw upon the synthesis of the sociology of environmental flows, political economy and social constructionism.


Harris Ali is an environmental sociologist who is cross-appointed in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Department of Disaster and Emergency Management and the Department of Sociology at York University, Toronto.   His research emphasizes the interconnections between the biophysical and the social in the analysis of environmental disasters, environmental health issues (particularly disease outbreaks) and issues of environmental risk management.

More information and upcoming seminars of the Environmental Seminar Series can be found on the website