Queen's University

Dr. Kyla S. Tienhaara

Assistant Professor, Department of Global Development Studies, School of Environmental Studies


I am an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University in the School of Environmental Studies, cross-appointed to the Department of Global Development Studies, and am the newly appointed Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Economy and Environment.

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist with a focus on the intersection between environmental governance and the global economic system. I completed my PhD at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2008). I also hold a Master’s degree in environmental science and law from the University of Nottingham (2002) and a Bachelor of Science in environmental science, with a minor in international relations, from the University of British Columbia (2001). I have held several positions at the Australian National University, including most recently, an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)-funded research fellowship.

One area of my work has examined investor-state disputes concerning environmental regulation that are brought to international arbitration under bilateral and regional investment agreements. This research has been published in a number of academic journals and in The Expropriation of Environmental Governance: Protecting Foreign Investors at the Expense of Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

My most recent research, published in Green Keynesianism and the Global Financial Crisis (Routledge, 2018) explores the experience of Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United States, with green stimulus programs following the 2008 global financial crisis. I will continue to expand on this area of research, with a particular focus on Green Keynesian initiatives in Canada and the United States, in my CRC research program.

Most Recent Project

The Conversation: Green New Deal critics can't see the forest for the trees

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about the (new) Green New Deal. It’s an ambitious plan to make America carbon-neutral — as well as more equitable — in a mere 10 years.

Although the Green New Deal resolution that will be voted on in the U.S. Senate is likely to be soundly defeated,” the broader debate that it has sparked — how best to respond to climate change — is not going to disappear any time soon.

Keep Reading...

Other Projects

  • The Conversation: The fossil fuel era is coming to an end, but the lawsuits are just beginning

    File 20181214 185268 ullhip.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1“Coal is dead.”

    These are not the words of a Greenpeace activist or left-wing politician, but of Jim Barry, the global head of the infrastructure investment group at Blackrock — the world’s largest asset manager. Barry made this statement in 2017, but the writing has been on the wall for longer than that.

    Keep Reading...
  • Green Keynesianism and the Global Financial Crisis

    Cover for book by Queen's University researcher, Kyla S. Tienhaara, titled "Green Keynesianism and the Global Financial Crisis"This book examines the experience of Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United States with Green Keynesian stimulus programs in the wake of the GFC. Unfortunately, on the whole, the cases do not provide much optimism for proponents of Green Keynesianism. Much less funding than was originally allocated to green programs was actually spent in areas that would produce an environmental benefit. Furthermore, a number of projects had negligible or even detrimental environmental outcomes. While the book also documents several success stories, the research indicates overall that more careful consideration of the design of green stimulus programs is needed. In addition to concrete policy advice, the book provides a broader vision for how governments could use Keynesian policies to work toward creating an "ecological state".

    Keep Reading...
  • The Expropriation of Environmental Governance: Protecting Foreign Investors at the Expense of Public Policy

    Book cover of project by Queen's University researcher Kyla Tienhaara. Cover art depicts 3 business men pushing/pulling on a globeRecent years have seen an explosive increase in investor-state disputes resolved in international arbitration. This is significant not only in terms of the number of disputes that have arisen and the number of states that have been involved, but also in terms of the novel types of dispute that have emerged. Traditionally, investor-state disputes resulted from straightforward incidences of nationalisation or breach of contract. In contrast, modern disputes frequently revolve around government measures taken to further public policy goals, such as the protection of the environment.

    Keep Reading...