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Damon Matthews

Professor and Concordia Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability, Geography, Planning and Environment

Damon Matthews

Damon Matthews is a Professor and Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability at Concordia University. Damon holds a PhD in climate science from the University of Victoria, and is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada and a Review Editor for the upcoming Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has published more than one hundred research papers on topics ranging from quantifying the remaining carbon budget to assessing equitable approaches to allocate emission allowances to individual countries. He is internationally recognized for his work in policy-relevant climate science, as well as for initiatives such as the Climate Clock that use digital visualization and web-based technologies to motivate and accelerate climate action. Damon is the Scientific co-Director of Sustainability in the Digital Age, and directs the NSERC CREATE in Leadership in Environmental and Digital Innovation for Sustainability (LEADS) program, which aims to train graduate student researchers at the intersection of sustainability science and digital innovation.

Professional affiliations

Royal Society of Canada
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanography Society
American Geophysical Union

Attention Media: Will speak on climate change related issues

NSERC CREATE: Leadership in Environmental and Digital Innovation for Sustainability (LEADS)

The LEADS (Leadership in Environmental and Digital Innovation for Sustainability) program is a new NSERC-CREATE funded graduate training program that seeks to train graduate students at the interface of the fields of sustainability science and digital technologies. Our goal is to provide students with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to mobilize the transformative power of digital innovation towards the challenge of meeting the world’s climate and other sustainability goals.

Student Opportunities

Information about openings for graduate students can be found on the LEADS program website.

Climate Scenarios, Impacts and Modelling (CSIM) Lab

Visit the CSIM lab website

Graduate student opportunities

I am looking for graduate students interested in learning about global warming and climate modelling, and exploring the role of greenhouse gas cycles in the context of recent and future climate change. Potential students should have good quantitative skills, and some knowledge of computer programming would be an asset. Possible research projects include:

  • Estimating the climate response to cumulative greenhouse gas emissions
  • Predicting allowable emissions for global climate change policy targets
  • Assessing climate impacts as a function of global mean temperature change
  • Assessing national contributions to and responsibility for global warming

Current Climate Lab student projects

  • Seth Wynes (Postdoc): Public understanding of climate change and other global risks
  • Jen Gobby (Postdoc): Understanding social drivers of systemic change 
  • Mi Lin (Postdoc): Towards science-based biodiversity pathways for Canada
  • Claude-Michel Nzotungicimpaye (Postdoc): Climate impacts resulting from cumulative emissions
  • Daniel Horen Greenford (PhD student): Fossil fuel supply and responsibility for climate change
  • Travis Moore (PhD student): Historical and projected future changes in weather extremes
  • Maida Hadziosmanovic (PhD student): Corporate contributions to and responsibility for historical climate change
  • Étienne Guertin (PhD student): Modelling coupled climate-economic systems
  • Mitchell Dickau (PhD student): Effect of non-CO2 emissions on the remaining carbon budget
  • Yisa Ginath Yuh (PhD student): Climate and land-use impacts on great apes in the Congo basin
  • Miles Barette Duckworth (MSc student): Effect of gravel roads on carbon sequestration via enhanced weathering
  • Donny Seto (RA and Lab Manager): Cities, fossil fuel reserves and climate change

Teaching activities

Current Teaching

HENV 660 - Climate Change and Sustainability
GEOG 478 - Climate Change Science, Impacts and Policy

Past Courses Taught

GEOG 378 - The Climate System
GEOL 440 - Seminar in Environmental Earth Sciences
HENV 655 - Environmental Modeling
HENV 610 - Quantitative Research Methods


Full publication list available here:

Google Scholar profile

Selected Publications

  • Zickfeld, K., Azevedo, D., Mathesius, S. and Matthews, H. D. (2021) Asymmetry in the climate-carbon cycle response to positive and negative CO2 emissions. Nature Climate Change, 11, 613-617.

  • Matthews, H. D, Tokarska, K. B., Rogelj, J., Forster, P., Haustein, K., Smith, C. J., MacDougall, A. H., Mengis, N., Sippel, S. and Knutti, R. (2021) An integrated approach to quantifying uncertainties in the remaining carbon budget. Communications Earth and Environment, 2, 1-11.

  • Matthews, H. D., Tokarska, K. B., Nicholls, Z. R. J., Rogelj, J., Canadell, J. G., Friedlingstein, P., Frölicher, T. L., Forster, P. M., Gillett, N. P., Ilyina, T., Jackson, R. B., Jones, C. D., Koven, C., Knutti, R., MacDougall, A. H., Meinshausen, M., Mengis, N., Séférian, R., and Zickfeld, K. (2020) Opportunities and challenges in using carbon budgets to guide climate policy. Nature Geoscience, 13, 769-779.

  • Mengis, N., Keller, D. P., MacDougall, A., Eby, M., Wright, N., Meissner, K. J., Oschlies, A., Schmittner, A., Matthews, H. D. and Zickfeld, K. Evaluation of the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model version 2.10 (UVic ESCM 2.10). Geoscientific Model Development, 13, 4183-4204.

  • Stewart, B. M., Turner, S. E. and Matthews, H. D. (2020) Global warming impacts on potential future ranges of non-human primate species. Climatic Change, 162, 2301-2318.

  • Mengis, N. and Matthews. H. D. (2020) Non-CO2 forcing changes will likely decrease the remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C. npg Climate and Atmospheric Science, 3, 19.

  • Horen Greenford, D., Crownshaw, T., Lesk, C., Stadler, K. and Matthews, H. D. (2020) Shifting economic activity to service sectors will not reduce global environmental impacts. Environmental Research Letters, 15, 064019.

  • Dickau, M., Guertin, É, Seto, D. and Matthews, H. D. (2020) Projections of declining outdoor skating availability in Montreal due to global warming. Environmental Research Communications, 2, 051001.

  • Mattauch, L., Matthews, H. D., Millar, R., Solomon, S. and Venmans, F. (2020) Steering the climate system: using inertia to lower the cost of policy: Comment, American Economic Review, 110, 1231-1237.

  • Tokarska, K. B., Schleussner, C.-F., Rogelj, J., Stolpe, M., Matthews, H. D., Pfleiferer, P. and Gillett, N. P. (2019) Recommended temperature metrics for carbon budget estimates, model evaluation and climate policy, Nature Geoscience, 12, 964-971.

  • Chavaillaz, Y., Roy, P., Partanen, A.-I., Da Silva, L., Bresson, É, Mengis, N., Chaumont, D. and Matthews, H. D. (2019) Exposure to excessive heat and impacts on labour productivity linked to cumulative CO2 emissions. Scientific Reports, 9, 13711.

  • Matthews, H. D., Zickfeld, K., Knutti, R. and Allen, M. R. (2018) Focus on cumulative emissions, global carbon budgets and the implications for climate mitigation targets. Environmental Research Letters, 13, 010201.

  • Millar, R. J., Fuglestvedt, J. S., Grubb, M., Rogelj, J., Skeie, R. B., Friedlingstein, P., Forster, P. M., Frame, D., Matthews, H. D. and Allen, M. R. (2017) Emissions budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Nature Geoscience, 10, 741-747

  • Leduc, M., Matthews, H. D. and De Elia, R. (2016) Regional estimates of the Transient Climate Response to cumulative CO2 Emissions. Nature Climate Change, 6, 474-478.

  • Matthews, H. D. (2016) Quantifying historical carbon and climate debts. Nature Climate Change, 6, 60-64.

  • Gignac, R. and Matthews, H. D. (2015) Allocating a 2°C cumulative carbon budget to countries. Environmental Research Letters, 10, 075004.

  • Matthews, H. D., Graham, T., Keverian, S., Smith, T., Seto, D. and Lamontagne, C. (2014) National contributions to observed global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 9, 014010.

  • Gillett, N. P., Arora, V. K., Matthews, H. D. and Allen, M. R. (2013) Constraining the ratio of global warming to cumulative CO2 emissions using CMIP5 simulations. Journal of Climate, 26, 6844-6858.

  • Matthews, H. D. and Solomon, S. (2013) Irreversible does not mean unavoidable. Science, 340, 438-439. 

  • Matthews, H. D. and Zickfeld, K. (2012) Climate response to zeroed emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols. Nature Climate Change, 2, 338—341.

  • Damyanov, N, Matthews, H. D. and Mysak, L. (2012) Observed changes in the outdoor skating season in Canada. Environmental Research Letters, 7, 014028.

  • Matthews, H. D. and Weaver, A. J. (2010) Committed climate warming. Nature Geoscience, 3, 142-143. 

  • Davis, S. J., Caldeira, K. and Matthews, H. D. (2010) Future CO2 emissions and climate change from existing energy infrastructure. Science, 329, 1330-1333. 

  • Matthews, H. D., Gillett, N., Stott, P. and Zickfeld, K. (2009) The proportionality of global warming to cumulative carbon emissions. Nature, 459, 829-832. 

  • Matthews, H. D. and Turner S. E. (2009) Of mongooses and mitigation: Ecological analogues to geoengineering. Environmental Research Letters, 4, 045105.

  • Zickfeld, K., Eby, M., Matthews, H. D. and Weaver, A. J. (2009) Setting cumulative emissions targets to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 106, 16129-16134.

  • Matthews, H. D. and Caldeira, K. (2008) Stabilizing climate requires near-zero emissions. Geophysical Research Letters, L04705.

  • Matthews, H. D. and Caldeira, K. (2007) Transient climate-carbon simulations of planetary geoengineering. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 104, 9949-9954.

  • Friedlingstein, P. et al. (2006) Climate-carbon cycle feedback analysis, results from the C4MIP model intercomparison. Journal of Climate, 19, 3337-3353. (Matthews, H. D., co-author) 

  • Matthews, H. D. (2005) Decrease of emissions required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 due to positive carbon cycle-climate feedbacks. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L21707.

  • Matthews, H. D., Eby, M., Weaver, A. J. and Hawkins, B. J. (2005) Primary productivity control of simulated carbon cycle-climate feedbacks. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L14708.

  • Matthews, H. D., Weaver, A. J. and Meissner, K. J. (2005) Terrestrial carbon cycle dynamics under recent and future climate change. Journal of Climate, 18, 1609-1628.

  • Matthews, H. D., Weaver, A. J., Meissner, K. J., Gillett, N. P. and Eby, M. (2004) Natural and anthropogenic climate change: Incorporating historical land cover change, vegetation dynamics and the global carbon cycle. Climate Dynamics, 22, 461-479.

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