Chris Turner

Expert on Sustainability, Climate Change, Cleantech, and the Global Energy Transition

Chris Turner is one of Canada’s leading voices on climate change solutions and the global energy transition. He draws on his reporting of the state of the art in renewable change, cleantech, and urban design to paint a vivid portrait of a new, sustainable world order that will allow individuals and businesses alike not only to survive but thrive in the twenty-first century economy.

An award-winning author, Turner has published several bestselling books. The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands won the National Business Book Award, and his previous books on climate solutions, The Leap and The Geography of Hope, were both National Business Book Award finalists. His latest book, How to Be a Climate Optimist: Blueprints for a Better World, was published by Random House Canada in 2022. Turner also published a collection of his award-winning essays and feature writing in 2014, How to Breathe Underwater, which won the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize.

In addition, Turner’s writing on energy, climate, and technology have appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, and many other notable publications. He has won 10 National Magazine Awards, among other distinctions. Turner was a 2019 media fellow at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue; a 2013 writer-in-residence at the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon; and a 2010 Paul D. Fleck Fellow at the Banff Centre.

As a speaker and communications strategist, Turner’s recent clients have included the Canadian Climate Institute, Natural Resources Canada, TD Bank, Compugen, Shaw Industries, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and Siemens Energy.


How to Be a Climate Optimist

The global economy is undergoing the greatest transformation since the dawn of the industrial age as it shifts from an energy regime built on fossil fuels to one run by clean, renewable power.

Award-winning author and strategist Chris Turner has been documenting the global energy transition for almost 20 years. This presentation, drawing on his most recent book as well as his previous bestsellers on energy and sustainability, distills those years of field research and analysis into a concise case for real optimism about the better world emerging from the global pursuit of climate solutions.

Turner explains where the energy transition leads, what our energy future looks like, and what it means for the strategic decisions businesses and organizations need to make to find a place to thrive in this new economy.

Tracking the Global Energy Transition

The global economy is undergoing the greatest transformation since the dawn of the industrial age as it shifts from an energy regime built on fossil fuels to one run by clean, renewable power.

Award-winning author and sustainability strategist Chris Turner has been documenting this energy transition for more than a decade, and his presentation combines insights from his bestselling books on the cleantech revolution, The Leap and The Geography of Hope, as well as analysis of the transition’s impact on the conventional energy economy drawn from his National Business Book Award-winning book, The Patch.

Turner explains where the energy transition leads, what our energy future looks like, and what it means for the strategic decisions businesses and organizations need to make to survive and thrive in the new energy economy.

Making the Leap

The next industrial age, powered by renewable energy and characterized by radical energy efficiency, is already underway.

In “Making the Leap”, Chris Turner provides a guided tour of this world of renewed prosperity and reinvigorated community. His boundlessly optimistic overview of the state of the art in sustainability shows how radical shifts to clean systems of energy production and efficient use, next-generation architecture and urban design, and reinvigorated political engagement and community development, will enable individuals and businesses alike not only to survive but to thrive in the twenty-first century economy.

The Urban Leap

We are living in the first truly urban century, and the way we build cities today will determine whether we survive and thrive in the sustainable economy.

“The Urban Leap” shows how the Copenhagen model of livable urban design can help us build our brightest possible future and how “tactical urbanism” provides the quick and inexpensive toolkit to get started.

This keynote surveys the state of the art in urban sustainability from Melbourne to Montreal and Dallas to Dawson City.

The Leap for Democracy

Combining his deep personal experience as the co-founder of a citizen engagement group and a federal election candidate with the latest in the science of behavioural economics and the art of community development, Chris Turner shows how the tools of sustainability can build not just a greener future but a much more democratic one.

The War on Science and the Defining Issue of the 21st Century

Drawing on his experience in the political arena and the award-winning bestseller The War on Science, Chris Turner examines how the Canadian government has turned its back on science and expertise at the moment they are most needed to guide the country through the climate change crisis.

Planet Simpson

The Simpsons was the defining pop cultural institution of its era and the foremost pop document of its time. Using the show’s incomparable humour and biting satire as a lens, Chris Turner explains the predominant cultural, social, and political trends of the twentieth century’s ridiculous final act. This cromulent topic embiggins us all!

Tracking the Global Energy Transition Before and After the Pandemic

Drawing on 15 years of reporting on the challenge of climate change and the global wave of innovation that has emerged to solve it, Chris Turner will provide an overview of the transition to low-carbon energy worldwide, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic lockdown on the pace of this transition, and the prospects for an accelerating transition into the next decade.

This presentation can be adapted to add particular emphasis on the role of clean energy, the role of the built environment and energy efficiency, the opportunities for Canadian business, the political landscape at home and abroad for climate and energy policy, and/or the most effective ways to communicate about the transition and inspire behaviour change.