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.  He has also taught recently at Columbia University, as Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs, where he taught courses in environmental politics from 1994-2008.  Dr. Downie's (#dldownie) research focuses on the creation, content, and implementation of national and international environmental policy. Professor Downie received his B.A Degree from Duke University and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina.

His recent work includes Global Environmental Politics, 6th Edition (2014), written with Pamela Chasek;  Climate Change: A Reference Handbook (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 and book chapters. His most recent articles, book chapters and work-in progress examine a range of issues, including: global policy to protect stratospheric ozone, reduce anthropogenic emissions of mercury, limit the release of persistent organic pollutants; changes in how countries operationalize the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in global environmental policy; and the challenges and competing priorities placed on treaty Secretariats. He has also developed a series of working papers that seek to assist students find authoritative and accurate information on international environmental policy, examine options for attending graduate programs in environmental policy, and search for jobs related to sustainability.

As part of his research, Dr Downie has attended dozens of global environmental negotiations on climate change, stratospheric ozone protection, toxic chemicals, mercury pollution, and sustainable development. During many negotiations on ozone protection, mercury, and toxic chemicals, he worked with the treaty secretariat drafting in-session and summary documents.

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 served as 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), and among other activities. He lives in Fairfield with his wife and children and enjoys live music, skiing, scuba diving, and Frisbee golf.