Image of faculty member, David Downie

Dr. David L. Downie

Associate Professor of Enviromental Studies
o: Donnarumma Hall Rm 217
p: x3504
Faculty Website


David Leonard Downie is Associate Professor of Politics and Environmental Studies at Fairfield University. Dr. Downie's research focuses on the creation, content, and implementation of international environmental policy. He received his B.A, in Philosophy, from Duke University and his Ph.D., in Political Science, from the University of North Carolina. From 1994-2008 he taught graduate courses and directed several educational and applied-research programs at Columbia University, where he also taught in 2014.

Dr. Downie’s recent and forthcoming work includes Global Environmental Politics, 7th Edition (forthcoming 2016), written with Pamela Chasek; Climate Change (2009), written with Kate Brash and Catherine Vaughan; The Global Environment: Institutions, Law & Policy, 2nd Edition (2005), co-edited with Regina Axelrod and Norman Vig; and many articles, book chapters, and U.N. documents. His most recent articles, book chapters and work-in progress examine a range of issues, including global policy to protect stratospheric ozone, limit the release of persistent organic pollutants, reduce anthropogenic emissions of mercury, and address the competing priorities placed on treaty Secretariats.

As part of his research, Dr Downie has attended dozens of global environmental negotiations on stratospheric ozone protection, toxic chemicals, climate change, mercury pollution, and sustainable development. During many negotiations on ozone protection, toxic chemicals, and mercury, he has worked for treaty secretariats drafting in-session and summary documents. Dr. Downie has also developed several working papers that seek to assist students find authoritative information on international environmental policy, graduate programs in environmental policy, and jobs related to sustainability.

Prior to joining Fairfield University in 2008, Dr. Downie taught courses in environmental politics at Columbia University from 1994-2008. While at Columbia he also held a number of positions at the Earth Institute and School of International and Public Affairs, including Director of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change (2004-2008), Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Climate and Society (2004-2008), Director of the Earth Institute Fellows Program (2002-2004), and Director of Environmental Policy Studies (MIA program) at the School of International and Public Affairs (1994-2000). He returned to Columbia in 2014 to teach a graduate class in environmental policy as Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs. He lives in Southport, CT with his wife and children and enjoys live music, skiing, scuba diving, and Frisbee golf.