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Sarah Marie Jordaan

Assistant Professor


Dr. Sarah Jordaan's research is aimed at uncovering the environmental and economic trade-offs related to energy decisions, particularly those trade-offs related to the life cycle of energy technologies. Her expertise covers the intersection of science, technology, and policy, resulting in publications that focus on not only life cycle assessment but also more broadly on technology assessment, energy policy, and innovation. 

Her former students, research associates, and postdoctoral fellows come from a broad spectrum of academic disciplines ranging from engineering to business, economics, and political science. Her courses are aimed towards educating students from all of these disciplines and enabling them to tackle the toughest problems in energy and environment using defensible approaches. Her students and scholars have carried on to advanced academic education, government, and industry.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins SAIS, Dr. Jordaan was an Assistant Professor of Energy Policy and Politics at the University of Calgary. There, she supervised graduate students in completing their degrees in either political science or sustainable energy. She taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in political science and engineering. She has also supervised graduate students from Lehigh's Energy Systems Engineering program. She seeks to bridge disciplinary knowledge for students and prepare them to take on challenges in decision-making regardless of whether they want a career in academia, industry, the public sector, or working for a non-profit.

Professor Jordaan has over a decade of experience researching energy and the environment with award winning publications on climate policy and the water implications of energy technologies. Her foundations in government and public policy were strengthened at Harvard University with the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group at the Kennedy School of Government and she gained greater insight into climate science at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. She has held positions with the Electric Power Research Institute, Shell Canada, the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, and the Ocean Sciences Center at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. She earned her PhD in 2010 at the University of Calgary in Environmental Design at the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Economy, and Environment. Her Bachelor's degree is in Physics with a minor in Computer Science from Memorial University.

Selected Publications

Surana, K. and S. M. Jordaan. (2019) The climate mitigation opportunity behind global power transmission and distribution. Nature Climate Change, 9: 660–665. denotes equal contribution.

Jordaan, S. M., G. A. Heath, J. Macknick, E. Mohammadi, D. Ben-Horin, V. Urrea and D. Marceau. (2017). Understanding the life cycle surface land requirements of natural gas-fired electricity. Nature Energy, 2: 804–812. 

Boersma, T. and S. M. Jordaan. (2017). Whatever happened to the golden age of natural gas? Energy Transitions, 1:5.

Jordaan, S. M., E. Romo-Rabago, R. McLeary, L. Reidy, J. Nazari, I. M. Herremans. (2017). The role of energy technology innovation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 78: 1397–1409.

Kasumu, A., V. Li, J. W. Coleman, J. Liendo, S. M. Jordaan. (2018). Country-level life Cycle assessment of liquefied natural gas trade for electricity generation. Environmental Science & Technology, 52(4): 1735–1746. 

Jordaan, S. M., L. A. Patterson, and L. Diaz Anadon. (2018). A spatially-resolved inventory analysis of the water consumed by the coal-to-gas transition of Pennsylvania. Journal of Cleaner Production, 184: 366–374.

*Please download the CV for a complete list of publications*



  • Climate Policy
  • Comparative Regional Analysis
  • Energy Technology Innovation
  • Land use and Water Consumption of Energy Developments
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Spatial Analysis of Energy and Environmental Policies


  • English
  • French

In the News

Power grid problems: This is how people are wasting energy.

Sarah Jordaan’s The Conversation article republished in The National Interest, 12/15

A quietly large source of carbon emissions.

Sarah Jordaan’s The Conversation article cited in Axios Generate newsletter, 12/12

The climate vulnerabilities of global nuclear power.

Sarah Jordaan wrote in Global Environmental Politics, 10/9

Improving electrical grids could help protect the climate.

Sarah Jordaan quoted in Inside Science, 9/24

Grid inefficiencies releasing 1B tons of GHGs.

Sarah Jordaan quoted in E&E News, 8/15

Behind the Paper: The climate benefit of reducing losses from global power transmission and distribution.

Sarah Jordaan wrote for Behavioural and Social Sciences at Nature Research, 8/14

Professor Sarah Jordaan receives a 2019 Catalyst Award

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment Sarah Jordaan has been named a 2019 Catalyst Award recipient.

The dynamics of advancing climate policy in federal political systems.

Sarah Jordaan wrote in Environmental Policy and Governance, 6/19

Thirty-three early-career faculty members receive Johns Hopkins Catalyst Awards.

Ling Chen, Sarah Jordaan, and Sarah Parkinson cited in Johns Hopkins HUB, 6/6

Is it time we gave nuclear power another chance?

Sarah Jordaan quoted in Engadget, 5/7

Claim that LNG is no greener than coal gets new scrutiny.

Sarah Jordaan cited in Business in Vancouver, 3/26