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, who draws on recent breakthroughs in state-of-the-art renewable energy 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 to thrive in the twenty-first century economy.

A two-time National Business Book Award finalist, his latest book is The Patch: The People, Pipelines and Politics of the Oil Sands. He is also the author of the bestsellers The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy and The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need, (both of which were National Business Book Award finalists). His 2014 book, How to Breathe Underwater, a collection of his award-winning essays and feature writing, won the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. His reporting on energy, climate and sustainability issues has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, and many other publications.

Turner’s speaking and strategic communications clients have included Shaw Industries, the Pembina Institute, the Smart Prosperity Institute, Clean Energy Canada, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design, the Canadian Insitute of Planners, and the Prime Minister’s Office.

Turner was a 2013 Berton House writer-in-residence in Dawson City, Yukon, and he has served as guest faculty on environmental issues at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the University of Calgary. He was named one of Alberta’s “Next 10” Most Influential People by Alberta Venture, and was one of Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” Calgarians in 2009.

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 most recent 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 reinvigourated 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 of to get started.

The Urban Leap 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 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 & 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.

Geography of Hope

In this enthusiastic and optimistic tour of the world we need, Chris Turner charts the course of sustainability’s pioneers, hopping from carbon-neutral innovators on agrarian Danish isles to grassroots clean energy development in rural Thailand to the re-imagination of suburban life in Denver, Colorado.

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 the transition, and the prospects for an accelerating transition in 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.

This virtual presentation includes a 20-45-minute keynote, plus optional Q&A. Length and content can be customized to meet your needs.