Ian Burton is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto, where he also directed the Environmental Institute (now School of the Environment). He is also Scientist Emeritus with Environment Canada and a Visiting Fellow with the International Institute for Environment and Development. He was previously Director of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation with the Meteorological Service of Canada, and Senior Policy Advisor during the Rio de Janeiro, UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. He served as Vice-Chair and then Director of the International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study (IFIAS) 1984-1992.
Ian now works primarily in the interface between science and policy at national and international levels, especially on climate change and environmental risks and “natural” disasters. He is currently working with the International Council for Science (ICSU) on the new programme Integrated Research on Disaster Risk. (irdrinternational.org). In this capacity he is co-chair of a Working Group on Forensic Investigations of Disasters. He has been a member of Canadian delegations to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Ian served as a Convening Lead Author for a Special Report on Extremes and as Lead Author for three Assessment Reports of IPCC. In this capacity he shared in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore in 2007. He recently served as co-chair of the Expert Advisory Panel on Climate Change Adaptation to the Government of Ontario (2004-2009), and as co-chair of an Expert Advisory Group to the Pilot Programme on Climate Resilience at the World Bank. Ian has also been working as a consultant to the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, and to UNDP, UNEP, and a variety of Canadian government agencies including the International Development Research Centre. He also has worked with USAID and the UK and Danish agencies for international development.
Earlier in his career Ian worked with the Ford Foundation in India, Sudan and Nigeria. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1984 and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science in 1985, and has been a Trustee since 2011. He recently was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and an honorary degree at the University of Waterloo.
Ian Burton is Emeritus Professor of Geography at the School of the Environment of the University of Toronto, Canada. He is a well know expert in the fields of environmental risks, hazards and disasters. More recently, he has been a leader of the development of adaptation to climate change. He directed the Climate Change Adaptation Branch for the Canadian Government, and co-chaired the Advisory Panel on Adaptation to the Government of Ontario, Canada. Internationally, he has been lead author in three of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessments and member of the group awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He has participated in several Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the December 2015 COP in Paris, France. Besides, he has served as consultant to the World Bank; the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations; the US Agency for International Development; the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada; the World Health Organization; and other international bodies. He served a term as Director of the International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Study, and is now Visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK, the Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board for the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.