International Institute for Sustainable Development

Institut international du développement durable


This staff member no longer works for IISD.

Climate Change and Energy

Mr. Drexhage's work on climate change is based on 17 years of experience on the issue, first as a domestic advisor and international negotiator on climate change with the government of Canada and then as an expert analyst and manager for IISD.

Drexhage’s expertise covers a broad range of areas related to climate change, and he is currently focusing on regulatory frameworks for greenhouse gas emissions, post-2012 climate change regimes, market based instruments (covering allowance and credit based systems), climate change in the context of sustainable development, governance issues, energy policy and more fully exploring linkages between adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development.

Drexhage was also a Leading Author with Working Group 3 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He was Lead Author on Chapter 11 of WG 3, focusing on mitigation from a cross-sectoral responsibility. His specific responsibilities focused on international spillover effects, synergies and trade offs with other policy areas and mitigation and adaptation – synergies and trade offs.

Prior to his current position with IISD, he was Associate Director, with the International Relations Directorate, (Environment Canada) coordinating the Government's policy positions in formal negotiations on climate change. Prior to this position in 1998, his other roles with Environment Canada in respect of Climate Change, included Manager Climate Change - International, Global Air Issues Branch and Senior Policy Advisor, Domestic Climate Change Program representing Environment Canada in federal-provincial negotiations on domestic actions on climate change.

Drexhage is very involved in energy policy, and analysis and modeling as the leader of the climate and energy group at IISD, which provides regular consulting services to energy companies like Manitoba Hydro, TransCanada Pipelines, Conoco Phillips, Suncor Energy and a wide range of provinces, including BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. His group has also conducted extensive analysis for government agencies at the federal level (Environment Canada, Foreign Affairs Canada and Natural Resources Canada) and provincial level (Manitoba Government, Alberta Government and Ontario Government).

He also oversees a growing and robust program on adaptation and sink related activities, focusing on building capacity in developing countries on strengthening negotiating positions and in implementing these activities in an integrated manner with country’s respective policy priorities on poverty eradication and sustainable development.

John is a Board member to the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the European based Climate Strategies research network.


  • M.A., International Affairs, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. Specialization in negotiations and conflict resolution. Received notice of distinction for thesis and oral defense.
  • B.Ed., University of Toronto, Teachers College, Toronto, Ontario. Specialties in areas of Canadian history and political science.
  • B.A. (Honours), Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Double major in political philosophy and history. Dean’s List member all four years.

Mr. Drexhage left IISD in 2011.
Expanding Agriculture's Role in the International Climate Change Regime: Capturing the opportunities
Paper: Deborah Murphy, Matthew McCandless, John Drexhage (September 21, 2010)
The Emerging International Climate Change Regime: Opportunities and challenges for the Canadian agricultural sector
Paper: Deborah Murphy, Matthew McCandless, John Drexhage (September 21, 2010)
Action on Implementation of Copenhagen Accord Most Critical for Canada
Commentary: John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy (September 13, 2010)
Climate Change and Foreign Policy in Canada: Intersection and Influence
Paper: John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy (August 19, 2010)
Canada and Climate Change: Where to now?
Commentary: John Drexhage (February 8, 2010)
Copenhagen: A Memorable Time for All the Wrong Reasons?
Commentary: John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy (February 1, 2010)
Barcelona Postscript
Commentary: John Drexhage (December 3, 2009)
How Canada can restore its reputation on climate change
Commentary: John Drexhage (November 19, 2009)
Status of the UNFCCC Negotiations: Outcomes of the Bonn Climate Change Talks
Paper: Deborah Murphy, John Drexhage, Philip Gass (October 14, 2009)
Financing for Developing Countries
Paper: Deborah Murphy, John Drexhage, Dennis Tirpak, Philip Gass (October 14, 2009)
Sobering Days in Bonn
Commentary: John Drexhage (August 21, 2009)
Encouraging Developing Country Participation in a Future Climate Change Regime
Paper: Deborah Murphy, Dennis Tirpak, John Drexhage, Frédéric Gagnon-Lebrun, Jean Nolet, Jo-Ellen Parry, Peter Wooders (July 15, 2009)
International Carbon Market Mechanisms in a Post-2012 Climate Change Agreement
Paper: Deborah Murphy, John Drexhage, Peter Wooders (July 8, 2009)
Expanding Agriculture's Role in a Post-2012 Climate Change Regime
Paper: Deborah Murphy, Caroline De Vit, John Drexhage, Jean Nolet (May 22, 2009)
A Plea for Reason
Commentary: John Drexhage (April 17, 2009)
Environmental Policies under an Obama Administration: Is Change in the Air?
Commentary: Philip Gass, John Drexhage (February 3, 2009)
A Way Forward: Canadian perspectives on post-2012 climate policy
Book: John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy, Jenny Gleeson, Frédéric Gagnon-Lebrun (May 13, 2008)
Furthering EU Objectives on Climate Change and Clean Energy: Building Partnerships with Major Developing Economies
Book: Deborah Murphy, John Drexhage, Aaron Cosbey, Dennis Tirpak, Christian Egenhofer (April 11, 2008)
Climate Change and Global Governance: Which Way Ahead?
Paper: John Drexhage (November 1, 2007)
Turning the "Clean Energy" Superpower Oxymoron into Reality
Commentary: John Drexhage (August 30, 2007)
Climate Change and Foreign Policy: An exploration of options for greater integration
Book: John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy, Oli Brown, Aaron Cosbey, Peter Dickey, Jo-Ellen Parry, John Van Ham, Richard Tarasofsky, Beverley Darkin (March 8, 2007)
The beginnings of a plan
Commentary: John Drexhage (February 28, 2007)
Statement to House of Commons Legislative Committee on Bill C-30
Commentary: John Drexhage (February 13, 2007)
Bush Blinks; The U.S. now at the climate change table
Commentary: John Drexhage, David Runnalls (December 13, 2005)
Which Way Forward? - Issues in developing an effective climate regime after 2012
Book: Aaron Cosbey, Warren Bell, Deborah Murphy, Jo-Ellen Parry, John Drexhage, Anne Hammill, John Van Ham (November 17, 2005)
Canada in a Post-2012 World: A Qualitative Assessment of Domestic and International Perspectives
Book: Warren Bell, John Van Ham, Jo-Ellen Parry, John Drexhage, Peter Dickey (November 8, 2005)
Where to Next? Future steps of the global climate regime
Paper: Taishi Sugiyama, Kristian Tangen, Henrik Hasselknippe, Axel Michaelowa, John Drexhage, Jiahua Pan, Jonathan Sinton, Arild Moe (August 3, 2005)
Realizing the Development Dividend: Making the CDM Work for Developing Countries (Phase I Report) - Executive Summary
Paper: Aaron Cosbey, Jo-Ellen Parry, Jodi Browne, Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Preety Bhandari, John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy (May 17, 2005)
Realizing the Development Dividend: Making the CDM Work for Developing Countries (Phase I Report)
Paper: Aaron Cosbey, Jo-Ellen Parry, Jodi Browne, Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Preety Bhandari, John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy (May 17, 2005)
Ottawa's "green" budget a good first step
Commentary: John Drexhage (March 14, 2005)
Russian Ratification Puts Pressure on Canada
Commentary: David Runnalls, John Drexhage (November 15, 2004)