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Robert Lyman – Background and Experience

Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2019

Robert Lyman

As a frequent contributor to Friends of Science Society reports and blog posts and as a guest speaker at the 2017 annual event, I have usually presented my biography in simple terms, that I worked in the public service for 27 years and was a diplomat for 10 years prior to that.  However, people have requested more information about my experience and with what authority do I write on the energy and environmental policy issues.  I prepared this overview.


In a nutshell, I have spent over forty years as an economist, manager and consultant working on a broad range of energy and environment public policy issues, mainly for the Canadian federal government. The following is a point form summary of my experience.



  • After graduation with an Honours degree in International Relations (Economics, Political Science and History), I joined the former federal Department of External Affairs. I served as a Canadian diplomat for ten years, with postings in Caracas, Venezuela and Washington, D.C.
  • My assignment in Washington occurred during a period when both Canada and the U.S. were heavily regulating oil and natural gas markets and prices, and there were several outstanding issues to be resolved concerning cross-border oil and gas trade and pipelines, including whether the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline should be built. This gave me an opportunity to learn a great deal about energy and trade regulation and pricing issues.
  • After leaving the foreign service, I worked as an economist in the Energy Policy Branch of the Energy, Mines and Resources department during the acrimonious negotiations over oil and gas policy before and after the publication of the National Energy Program.
  • I worked for two years in Finance Canada analyzing and advising on energy expenditure issues related to the federal Budget.
  • After that, I led a group of economists responsible for analysis of international oil prices and market conditions.
  • For two years, I worked on Executive Interchange as the Ottawa representative of the Canadian Gas Association at the time of natural gas deregulation.
  • In the late 1980s, I was the Senior Director of Energy Policy when climate change issues first arose; I was heavily engaged at that time in implementation of the Offshore Accords with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and with the negotiation of the resource aspects of aboriginal land claims.
  • I was the first federal co-chair of the Federal-Provincial Committee on Climate Change.
  • I was the Senior Director of Oil Policy from 1995 to 2002 when the fiscal regime governing oil sands development was being expanded, and I worked closely with Finance Canada on the key issues. At that time, I led the first federal work assessing the public policy that should govern carbon dioxide capture and geological storage.
  • I managed the group providing expert advice on the potential for emissions reduction in the oil industry during the Climate Change Table Process prior to the Kyoto Accord.
  • I was the Director General, Environmental Affairs, in Transport Canada from 2002 to 2006, leading the analysis and policy development with respect to emissions reduction in the transport sector, development and implementation of climate programs, and promotion of technology development to reduce emissions in the transport sector.
  • As a consultant from 2006 on, I performed major studies for Transport Canada on the implementation of the new Navigable Waters Protection Act, on the governance of the offshore oil shipping regime and on the development of a seamless regulatory regime to govern the prevention of and response to ship-source oil spills.
  • I have written extensively on energy and climate-related issues, including several articles for the FOSS and a major paper on the factors affecting energy transitions for the U.K. Global Warming Policy Foundation.
  • Throughout my public service career, I worked for eight Prime Ministers: Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper. I was proud to perform my public service duties in a non-partisan way.


Can Canada Survive Climate Change Policy?


Text of address:

Can Canada Survive Climate Change Policy?


  1. James Strachan

    i really like the effort to get something simple about cost so that the average citizen can understand. I note and appreciate the effort to itemize all the cost factors. Brainstorming: might you suggest optimistic/likely/pessimistic annual cost per househoold of the current policy and project forward — and compare to USA?

  2. Alan Tomalty (@ATomalty)

    I have read Robert Lyman’s treatise on “When climate prophecy fails”, I agree with his points. However he does not understand that TRANSIENT CLIMATE RESPONSE TO EMISSIONS ia bogus statistic Here is the link that completely debunks the IPCC use of the term. it has no validity either in measuring temperature change nor in measuring much of anything. How could it when the atmosphere is an open system with sources and sinks of CO2?

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