Dr. Sarah Burch is a Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Governance and Innovation, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo.

Her work focuses on the multi-level governance of climate change in cities, the role of small businesses in sustainability innovation, and transformative shifts in development pathways.

She was a Coordinating Lead Author in the ongoing Assessment Report on Climate Change in Cities (ARC3-2), and North American coordinator of the Earth System Governance network of Research Fellows.

Sarah holds a PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada (2009), a BA in International Relations (University of Calgary, 2004) and a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science (University of Calgary, 2004). She was a Contributing Author to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in both Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) and Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change).

Selected Publications    

  • Burch, S., Andrachuck, M., Carey, D., Frantzeskaki, N., Schroeder, H., Mischkowski, N. (2016) Governing and accelerating transformative entrepreneurship: exploring the potential for small business innovation on sustainability for urban transitions. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 22, 26-32.
  • Mitchell, C., S. Burch, and P. Driscoll.  2016. (Mis)communicating climate change: Why online databases may fail to catalyze adaptation action in the Global South. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change.
  • Burch, S. 2015. Global treaty or sub-national innovation? Canada’s path forward on climate policy.  Centre for International Governance Innovation Policy Brief No. 66. Available online at: www.cigionline.org/publications
  • Burch, S. 2015. Uncovering the implications of the Paris Agreement: Climate change as a catalyst for transformative sustainability in cities. Centre for International Governance innovation Policy Brief No. 72.  Available online at www.cigionline.org/publications.
  • Krupa, J., S. Burch, and L. Galbraith. 2015. Exploring and contrasting renewable energy development models in disparate Canadian Aboriginal communities. Local Environment 20(1):81-101.
  • Burch, S. and S. Harris.  2014. A Massive Open Online Course on climate change: the social construction of a global problem using new tools for connectedness. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change (Editor Mike Hulme) 5(5):577-585.
  • Shaw, A., S. Burch, F. Kristensen, J. Robinson, A. Dale.  2014.  Accelerating the sustainability transition: Exploring synergies between adaptation and mitigation in British Columbian communities. Global Environmental Change 25:41-51.
  • Burch, S., A. Shaw, A. Dale and J. Robinson.  2014. Triggering transformative change: A development path approach to climate change in communities. Climate Policy 14(4): 467-487.
  • Burch, S., P. Berry, and M. Sanders.  2014. Embedding climate change adaptation in biodiversity conservation: A case study of England.  Environmental Science and Policy 37: 79-90.
  • Burch, S., H. Schroeder, S. Rayner and J. Wilson.  2013. Novel Multi-Sector Networks and Entrepreneurship in Metro Vancouver: A study of small business as an emerging non-state actor on climate change mitigation. Special issue on Novel Multi-sector Networks and Entrepreneurship in Urban Climate Governance (guest edited by S. Burch, H. Schroeder and S. Rayner). Environment and Planning C 31(5): 822-840.
  • Robinson, R., Burch, S., O’Shea, M., Talwar, S. and Walsh, M.  2011.  Envisioning sustainability pathways: Recent progress in the use of participatory backcasting approaches for sustainability research. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 78: 756-768.
  • Burch, S., Sheppard, S.R.J., Shaw, A. and Flanders, D. (2010) Planning for climate change in a flood-prone community: Municipal barriers to policy action and the use of visualizations as decision support tools. Journal of Flood Risk Management, 3(2): 126-139.
  • Burch, S. (2010) Transforming barriers into enablers of action on climate change: insights from three municipal case studies in British Columbia, Canada. Global Environmental Change, 20: 287-197.    Burch, S. (2010) In pursuit of resilient, low carbon communities: an examination of barriers to action in three Canadian cities. Energy Policy 38(12):7575-7585.
  • Shaw, A., Sheppard, S.R.J., Burch, S., Flanders, D., Wiek, A., Carmichael, J., Robinson, J. and Cohen, S. (2009) Making local futures tangible: synthesizing, downscaling, and visualizing climate change scenarios for participatory capacity building. Global Environmental Change, 19(4): 447-463.