Tyndall Research Programmes


In continuing to address the climate change research agenda we are guided by two key objectives relating to mitigation and adaptation.

1)    To identify and analyse the opportunities, benefits and social, technical and economic challenges associated with different greenhouse gas stabilisation pathways at different temporal and spatial scales; and

2)    To explore, evaluate and facilitate sustainable routes for adapting to climate change through policy, behavioural and technological innovation and robust decision-support tools.

The following key questions derive from these objectives:

What are the implications for GHG stabilisation levels of different global emissions pathways and what do such stabilisation levels and pathways imply for regional adaptation and mitigation?

What is the scope and scale of technological options across the full range of sectors (from energy and transport to agriculture and avoided deforestation) for contributing to mitigation pathways? What are the institutional, behavioural and economic barriers to such technological trajectories?

What is the scope and scale of regional and sectoral adaptation strategies to build resilience to the impacts associated with the stabilisation levels and pathways? What synergies and conflicts are there between such strategies and potential mitigation options?


Cities and Coasts

Our programme on building resilience and decreasing the vulnerability of people and places, with particular reference to cities and coasts, aims to bring greater integration to our work on coastal communities, cities and adaptation. Given the widespread consequences of climate change on ecosystems throughout society, adaptation represents a major challenge to future sustainability. More than half of the world’s population live in cities and approximately forty percent live on or near the coast, with 14 of the 17 world’s mega-cities located on coasts. Urban populations, which are growing most rapidly in developing countries, are facing risks such as heat stress, flooding and damage to infrastructure; coastal regions are particularly vulnerable to climate change and consequent increases in sea level and storminess.

Significant coastal impacts throughout the twenty-first century and beyond are inevitable without appropriate adaptation. The challenge for researchers is to identify resilient adaptation options that increase ability to withstand climate shocks, help individuals and institutions identify and implement adaptation strategies based on knowledge and resources, and enable learning and adaptation in a timely fashion, without undermining mitigation efforts by inducing energy-intensive adaptations such as air conditioning, pumped drainage or desalination.

Theme Co-ordinators: Richard Dawson, Robert Nicholls and Jim Hall

ARCADIA: Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Analysis and Decision making using Integrated Assessment

London’s climate risks reduced

Urban research led by Jim Hall at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford has developed a new system for analysing climate risks to cities. The ARCADIA project assesses choices for adapting City infrastructure to the impacts of climate change, using London as its case-study city.

ARCADIA (Adaptation and Resilience in Cities – Analysis and Decision-making using Integrated Assessments) is an evolution of the approaches pioneered for the Tyndall Urban Integrated Assessment System for incorporating data from different models and working alongside decision makers, such as the Greater London Authority, to ensure that the research outputs are useful to stakeholder’s needs.

Cities and urban areas are vulnerable to climate change because of their high concentrations of people and economic assets. “ARCADIA helps decisions about climate risks to the city economy, built environment, urban land-use and infrastructure” says Jim Hall.

“Cities globally are developing strategies for reducing the risks of climate change but they often lack the evidence that they need for informed decisions about what is likely to happen and where. ARCADIA provides a whole system approach for assessing adaptation strategies.”

A sister project, the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) is also led by Oxford. It analyses the impact of risks, including climate, on urban infrastructure networks such as energy, transport and IT.

ARCADIA incorporates the Tyndall partners at Oxford, Newcastle and Southampton for its climate, flood and sea-level models, and Cambridge for the economic analysis, joined with University College London for its modeling of the built environment and land-use change. It integrates these different models and data together in a framework for a whole system understanding of how they interact now and in the future.

Further information http://www.arcc-cn.org.uk/project-summaries/arcadia/


Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Analysis and Decision making using Integrated Assessment (ARCADIA)

Urban areas are particularly vulnerable to economic and social impacts of climate change, such as floods, droughts and excessive heat, due to their high concentrations of people and assets. Moreover, the increasing temperatures due to global warming are exacerbated in cities due to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect.  In recent years cities globally have been developing strategies for responding to the risks of climate change. However, they often lack the evidence needed to make the case for and prioritise adaptation actions. Consequently, the development of adaptation strategies for urban areas requires integrative thinking to understand and model relationships between the built environment, land-use, infrastructure systems, the urban economy and climate.

The ARCADIA project has developed a new system of models for analysing climate risks and assessing the performance of options for adapting to climate change. We have used London as a case study and worked with stakeholders to ensure that the analysis is relevant to the climate risks that they face. The models developed have been integrated within the Urban Integrated Assessment Framework (UIAF) (Figure 1). The UIAF incorporates future scenarios of climate, economic, demographic, and land use change, and starts to incorporate important feedbacks between these models. The framework enables the exploration of a range of climate and socio-economic scenarios and their implications, providing a whole-system approach to assessing adaptation strategies to enhance future urban sustainability.


Figure 1: Overview of the Urban Integrated Assessment Framework


The analysis is novel in a number of important respects including:

  • A Spatial Weather Generator provides time-series of fields of weather variables at a 5 km and daily and hourly resolution, and includes spatial correlation of heat and rainfall.  Temperature fields take some account of the Urban Heat Island effect, and allow the potential effects of different proportions of urban land cover and emissions of waste heat on urban climate to be explored. The Weather Generator is compatible with, and a valuable addition to, the UKCP09 climate scenarios.


  • A probabilistic methodology has been used to generate risk estimates that incorporate the effects of uncertainties in climate and vulnerability. Whilst most urban studies have focussed upon climate impacts, we are now able to generate genuine probabilistic estimates of climate risks. This methodology has been used to assess the direct impacts of extreme heat and flooding on people, buildings and infrastructure.


  • A novel input-output representation has been used to represent the effects of climate related disasters on the economy, and subsequent economic recovery from those disasters. The model represents the effects of disruption to supply chains and consumer demand that would result from a very severe event such as a widespread flood.


  • A new model of future land use change, extending to the edge of the commuter belt around London, has been used to assess potential changes in vulnerability to climate change. Driven by changes in population and employment, the land use model provides an indication of the spatial distribution of future employment (by industrial sector) and population (by socio-economic class) within London, which in turn allows estimates to be made on the future land occupancy required by these competing groups.


  • A complete model of the urban transport network has been used to estimate the potential disruptive effect of climate impacts on transport infrastructure, for example due to rail buckling in excessive heat. The transport model covers public and private transport modes.

A dynamic model of demand, service quality and switching between transport modes has been implemented to simulate the effects of transport disruptions on passenger flows.


  • During the research programme we have held meetings and workshop with decision-makers in London to promote uptake of the research. Further interactions with stakeholders and researchers in related EPSRC projects have been facilitated by the Adaptation and Resilience to a Changing Climate Coordination Network http://www.arcc-cn.org.uk/.


In summary the ARCADIA project has developed:

1.   An analysis of the governance arrangements for adaptation. Understanding of the rapidly evolving governance context for adaptation helped to set the scene for the ARCADIA work on urban climate impacts and adaptation

2.   A qualitative systems description of the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on urban areas, economy and society. London’s adaptation and other policies have been analysed with respect to their coverage of the direct and indirect impacts of a changing climate.

3.   A spatial weather generator for urban areas. A new UKCP09-compliant weather generator includes spatial correlation of heat and rainfall and allows exploration of the potential effects of different proportions of urban land cover and emissions of waste heat on urban climate. The final version of this tool has been tested and a Graphical User Interface developed.

4.   Analysis of the indirect effects of climate events on the urban economy. A small set of illustrative scenarios demonstrate how for large disruptive events the indirect economic impacts can exceed the direct impacts, although for smaller events the direct impacts dominate. The magnitude of damage is shown to depend critically on how post-event recovery resources are allocated.

5.   Analysis of the potential effects of disruption on the transport network: a multi-model transport model has been developed which can simulate the effects of transport disruptions. This has been used to calculate the risks of heat-related disruption.

6.    Analysis of adaptation options. The new capability for analysing urban heat and flood risks has been used to quantify the benefits of potential adaptation strategies, including thermal design of buildings and improved resilience of transport networks.

7.  Provides a methodological approach for urban integrated assessment and climate risk analysis. The methodological approach integrates new and updated model components within an Urban Integrated Assessment Framework (UIAF) to facilitate the analysis of multiple climate risks and adaptation options for urban systems.


Duration: July 2009 - June 2012


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CLIMSAVE - Climate Change Integrated Assessment Methodology for Cross-Sectoral Adaptation and Vulnerability in Europe

‘Climsave’ is a pan-European project developing a user-friendly tool for an integrated climate change impact and vulnerability assessment across a range of sectors.

The overall aim of the CLIMSAVE project is to deliver an integrated methodology to assess cross-sectoral climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. The outputs from this project will inform many policy processes ensuring that decisions on how best to adapt to climate change are based on solid scientific analysis.


Duration: January 2010 - June 2013


DIVA model - Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment

DIVA (Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment) is a global scale sea-level rise impacts model.

It considers impacts due to extreme water levels caused by sea-level rise over the 21st century at global and regional scales. DIVA allows the user to insert future sea-level rise scenarios to project future impacts on a global scale. Metrics include: number of people potentially flooded due to extreme water levels, amount of land loss extreme water levels, wetland loss due to extreme water levels, total cost of damages due to floods, potential costs of adaptation to reduce flood risks.   

DIVA has been used in a wide range of projects funded by NERC, DEFRA, DECC, DFID amongst others. Recent projects have included;


World Bank’s  ‘Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change’ http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/economics-adaptation-climate-...

Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Met Office’s ’Impacts of climate change in a 4°C world’   http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/climate-change/priorities/science/ 

Impacts of sea-level rise in Africa as part of UNEP’s Climate Change Adaptation programme http://www.unep.org/climatechange/adaptation/Portals/133/documents/Adapt...

Global port cities

In conjunction with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the AVOID programme, a series of projects have been looking at the exposure of the world’s large port cities to extreme water level events and how global mitigation and local adaptation can affect both exposure and risk.

ITRC Infrastructure transition project

This Tyndall project aims to develop a new generation of system simulation models and methods to inform analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure in the energy, transport, water, waste and telecoms sectors.

The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium will inform the analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure, through the development and demonstration of new decision support tools, and working with partners in government and industry.

The research will deal at a national scale with: Energy, Transport, Water, Waste, and Information and communication technologies (ICT) systems.

For these systems, the programme will: Develop new methods for analysing performance, risks and interdependencies. Provide a virtual environment in which to test strategies for long term investment understand how alternative strategies perform with respect to policy constraints such as: reliability and security of supply, cost, carbon emissions, and adaptability to demographic and climate change.


More info: http://www.itrc.org.uk/home/

Duration: January 2011 - December 2015



RAMSES (Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities) is a €5m FP7 research programme that aims to develop methods, tools and case studies to design strategies, quantify costs and evaluate the impacts of adaptation to climate change in cities.

The Newcastle University team, led by Professor Richard Dawson, have received €520k to (i) develop a high level climate risk assessment for European cities, (ii) extend existing urban integrated assessment modelling to include pluvial flooding, evaluation of impacts on the urban economy of extreme events, and air quality and health issues, (iii) apply (and adapt) our integrated assessment facility for new city case studies – including one international location, and (iv) test a range of adaptation strategies to identify how best to reduce risks in cities and inform the design of transitions to more sustainable urban environments.

The consortium is funded by the EU FP7 and led by PIK (Potsdam Institute for Climate Research) and includes the LSE (UK), Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO, Belgium), Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales (IDDRI, France), Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation (TECNALIA, Spain), Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU, Norway), World Health Organisation Europe, T6 Ecosystems (Italy), ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, The Climate Centre (Belgium), Climate Media Factory (Germany) and Institut Veolia Environnement (France).

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RESNET: Resilient Electricity Networks for Great Britain

Aim: To develop and demonstrate a comprehensive approach to analyse, at a national scale, climate-related changes in the reliability of the UK’s electricity system, and to develop tools for quantifying the value of adaptations that would enhance its resilience.


To develop a weather generator for producing scenarios of spatially coincident weather extremes in future climates at a national scale.

To apply a weather typing approach to the Regional Climate Models used by UKCP09 to produce a wind storm component for the weather generator.

To generate spatially and temporally explicit scenarios of future electricity demand and supply, with and without different scales of decentralisation.

To develop models relating changes in the severity of weather related events to failure rate of individual network components.

To quantify the potential impacts of future climate upon the operational resilience and the infrastructure resilience of the overall GB power system.

To explore the societal implications and identify potential barriers to adaptation measures.

More info: http://www.ukcip-arcc.org.uk/content/view/615/517/

Duration: September 2011 - August 2015

THESEUS: Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate

The EU funded project THESEUS aims to investigate mitigation and adaptation technologies and include them in a systematic approach to assessing the impact of flood events for both human and natural environments during the current century.

The methodology is based on a Source-Pathway-Receptor analysis of flood events which can be rerun taking into account innovative coastal management techniques, socio-economic developments and climate change.  It also considers public perception of risk and the value of the natural environment beyond its role in coastal management.


Duration: December 2009 - November 2013


The global-scale impacts of climate change: QUEST-GSI (project completed)

Climate change impacts studies to date typically consider particular regions and sectors and use a wide range of socio-economic and climate scenarios.

This makes it difficult to assess impacts at the global scale and to compare impacts for different socio-economic and climate futures. Furthermore it makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of proposed policy measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and so reduce the impacts of climate change.

The key aim of QUEST-GSI is to better quantify the impacts of climate change in a consistent way across the entire globe, and for a range of sectors such as: water resources, flooding, crops and human health.



Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS)

At the Tyndall Centre, University of East Anglia, Rachel Warren has led the development of the Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS). CIAS brings together the academic research community’s disparate numerical models and climate-related datasets into a common framework (Warren et al 2008).

As such it is a unique multi-institutional modular and flexible integrated assessment system for modeling climate change and sustainable development.  Key to its development is the supporting software infrastructure, SoftIAM.  Through it, CIAS is distributed between the communities of institutions which have each contributed modules to the CIAS system.

At the heart of SoftIAM is the Bespoke Framework Generator (BFG) developed at the Centre for Novel Computing, University of Manchester, which enables flexibility in the assembly and composition of individual modules from a pool to form coupled models within CIAS, and flexibility in their deployment onto the available software and hardware resources.

Such flexibility greatly enhances modelers’ ability to re-configure the CIAS coupled models to answer different questions, thus tracking evolving policy and adaptation needs.  It also allows rigorous testing of the robustness of IA modeling results to the use of different component modules representing the same processes (for example, the economy).  Such processes are often modeled in very different ways, using different paradigms, at the participating institutions.

In CIAS, data describe the global economic system, greenhouse gas emissions, the earth system and its climate, the potential impacts of climate change upon human and natural systems, and the stocks at risk such as distributions of species.  CIAS links these by collating data output from each researcher’s module into a common data format (netCDF), and allowing serial execution of the modules.  Based on open source and/or freeware tools, CIAS is the first UK project to produce such a computing framework for national and international climate policy makers. It is globally unique in allowing alternative component modules from the wide range of computer platforms and in multiple computer languages used by the various researchers to share data and be coupled together to function as unique integrated models. 

The advance that CIAS approach makes over existing integrated modeling approaches is that it is designed to test the robustness of the outputs of integrated assessment models to the use of different component modules, as well as to the values of uncertain parameters within the modules. The principal advantage of the approach is that it allows the user to compose many different individual integrated model combinations.  This is particularly important when

(i) comparing the use of individual modules of different levels of complexity and detail

(ii) comparing the use of individual modules from different institutions which have similar complexity but are based on different modeling paradigms or value judgments originating from the different institutions.

In addition, a full uncertainty analysis technique can be applied to the system holistically.  Thus for a given question one can investigate the degree to which increasing complexity of component models enhances understanding or increases/decreases uncertainty, and assess the robustness of results to paradigm shifts.  Hence the policy maker can receive a clear picture of the consistency or otherwise of integrated modeling results, the sensitivity of output to value judgments lying behind modeling paradigms, and the sensitivity of the results to uncertainties in parameter values within component modules.

CIAS is thus particularly useful to researchers who wish to understand the robustness of results, since it (i) allows alternative set of models and datasets to be linked and (ii) allows uncertainty analysis through Latin hypercube sampling across probability distributions of uncertain parameters.  

CIAS has therefore been designed according to the following principles agreed by consensus through a series of workshops with policy makers and integrated assessment scientists:

(a) It is flexible and multi-modular to allow a range of policy questions to be addressed, thus facilitating iterative interaction with stakeholders;

(b) distributed, that is deployed across a wide range of institutions in different countries, allowing a range of international expertise to be combined into single modelling framework;

(c) The system can take advantage of (but is not limited to) state of the art Grid technologies which allow models to communicate with each other remotely regardless of operating system or computer language; (d) The system is jointly owned by a community of institutions which contribute individual models or the underpinning software. The system’s name directly reflects this community approach.

CIAS currently allow various combinations of the following component modules to be connected together into alternative integrated assessment models: a probabilistic version of the global climate system module, MAGICC from the University of East Anglia; the downscaling module, ClimGen, also from the University of East Anglia; a global climate impacts module for biome shifts, which is also a component of the ICLIPS integrated assessment model from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany; a hydrological module from the University of Reading; a biodiversity module from the University of Canterbury, a coastal model DIVA from a consortium including PIK and the University of Southampton.

There are plans to further develop the system by including further sectoral models, including climate impact response functions from the AIM integrated assessment model, and to create linkages to the GENIE climate model.One of the most exciting projects is the linkage to climate envelope modeling techniques through the Wallace initiative.

Theme Co-ordinators:Rachel Warren

More about CIAS

What are the benefits of stringent climate mitigation policy?  How are the benefits of action on climate change distributed?  What emission reduction pathways are consistent with avoiding certain level of global climate change?What are the consequences of various climate change policies for climate change impacts?  How robust are the answers to these questions to uncertainties?

These are some of the questions that we are addressing with the Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS). CIAS was developed by a Tyndall Centre team led by Rachel Warren. It is a unique framework for linking together computer codes written at different institutions in different computer languages, which now appears as a prizewinning publication in the Journal of Environmental Modelling and Software.  It is based on the bespoke framework generator (BFG), a technology developed at the University of Manchester by Rupert Ford and others.  It also contains a special facility to analyse modelling uncertainties, developed by Robin Hankin at the University of Cambridge. The system is accessed by a private SoftIAM or CIAS web portal developed at the University of East Anglia. A separate public web portal, CLIMASCOPE, is also being developed.  

CIAS and CLIMASCOPE are developed and applied to produce policy relevant results in consultation with stakeholders, in particular DEFRA and DECC through the AVOID project, of which Rachel is the Tyndall Centre lead, and also World Wildlife Fund through the Wallace Initiative.

CIAS was initially funded by the Tyndall Centre and additional funding has now been obtained from OMII-UK


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Uncertainty Analysis in CIAS

The SoftIAM portal includes the facility to implement Latin hypercube experimental to   facilitate formal uncertainty analysis. The portal allows the user to choose the (marginal) distribution for any subset of the parameters present in the model, and to specify the total number of model runs performed.

The user may specify any of a wide range of statistical distributions for the parameter including the normal, lognormal, uniform, triangular, or beta distributions. One may also specify the Davies distribution a distribution specifically designed for use in risk assessment.

In CIAS Latin hypercube sampling is used to understand the implications of uncertainties in parameters in the simple climate model MAGICC. The specific parameters that we vary are the climate sensitivity (defined as the equilibrium global mean temperature increase for a doubling of atmospheric CO2), the ocean mixing rate (i.e., how quickly the warming at the surface is diffused throughout the ocean), and a climate-carbon cycle feedback factor.

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Energy and Emissions



Energy underpins our lives and economic development. Fossil fuel combustion is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions and so energy use is integral to climate change mitigation. Energy is also increasingly central to climate change adaptation challenges through its inter-linkages with water use, agriculture and land use, and urban infrastructure. There is broad consensus on the need for dramatic transformation of the energy system in the coming decades to achieve climate stabilisation and adaptation goals. Globally, the energy system faces additional challenges including: how to ensure security and resilience; how to provide universal access to clean, flexible and convenient fuels; and how to reduce pollution and its adverse health and natural consequences.


Energy and Emissions Theme Research

Framed by these needs for a sustainable energy transformation, Tyndall researchers in the Energy and Emissions Theme consider a multitude of issues and perspectives: from technologies and economies to behaviours and societies; from micro-scale to systemic; from retrospective to prospective; from mitigation to adaptation. The Energy and Emissions Theme brings together natural and physical scientists, social scientists, engineers and economists to conduct interdisciplinary and policy relevant research. There can be up to 35 researchers associated with the Energy and Emissions Theme at any one time, depending upon the projects in our portfolio. These can range from high level emissions budget analysis across different geographic and temporal scales to detailed case studies of particular low carbon technologies and behaviours in specific contexts. Our research is funded through a diverse range of sources, and we contribute regularly to parliamentary processes, government consultations, and the media, as well as the academic literature.



Tyndall’s Energy and Emissions Theme research can be broadly characterised under various topics: assessment, behaviour, governance, perceptions, scenarios and pathways, transitions, low carbon development, emissions accounting, and geoengineering.

Energy assessments help understand the technical, environmental and economic dimensions of the development and deployment of energy technologies and infrastructure. These range from renewable energy technologies to low carbon building developments to whole sectors such as shipping or aviation.

Energy behaviours research explores the motivations for, influences on, and outcomes of energy-related behaviour, from energy efficient home renovation to active opposition against local wind farms. A particular emphasis is on the embedding of behaviour in a social context, and the importance of the social organisation of individuals in households, communities or firms.

Energy and emissions governance is a broad heading encompassing work on stakeholder engagement in the deliberative appraisal of technology options, climate policy appraisal, and analysis of the role of regulatory, market and other institutions within the energy system. Governance research also looks explicitly at clean development and climate finance.

Energy perceptions tracks the evolving public understandings and perceptions of energy issues and technologies, linked to the changing framing and communication of climate change and energy security.

Energy and emission scenarios and pathways characterise the social and technical changes needed to achieve dramatic emission reductions towards climate stabilisation goals. These include research on emission trajectories, the implications of international climate commitments, and long-term socio-economic scenarios. Also of interest are historical energy trajectories as a basis for informing future developments.

Energy transitions draw on, and contribute to, a growing body of theory on socio-technical transitions, investigating the importance of innovation niches, grassroots or community initiatives, and potential drivers of ‘regime’ changes towards a sustainable energy future.

Low carbon growth and technology transfer research considers the imperative for both developing and deploying low carbon technologies across the world through a combination of local innovation and international collaboration.

Global Carbon Project is a major international research initiative to compile, analyse, report and archive global emission statistics, as well as to identify and monitor CO2 sinks, and reduce levels of uncertainty in emission estimates.

Geoengineering involves deliberate large-scale interventions in the Earth’s climate system in order to moderate anthropogenic climate change. The inadequacy of current efforts to reduce emissions have raised the profile of geoengineering, a topic on which Tyndall research casts a critical eye.

For details of research projects underway in each of these areas, please click on the topic in the Energy and Emissions drop-down menu or see the ‘Read More About’ list below.


Energy Theme Co-ordinators

Charlie Wilson (UEA), Maria Sharmina (Manchester),Clare Carter & Sandra Pointel (Sussex)


Energy Assessments

Examples of Projects Underway

Below are a list of the Energy Theme's recent and ongoing projects, organised under topics, although many projects are cross-cutting. As examples of research currently underway:

High Seas Project: Assessing the technical and operational scope for rapid carbon emission reduction from global shipping


Building on the IPCC’s 2007 report, the 2009 Copenhagen scientific conference on climate change made clear both the urgency and radical scale of reductions in greenhouse gases necessary if global society is to avoid the 2°C characterisation of dangerous climate change. The scale and immediacy of the mitigation challenge outlined in Copenhagen leaves no option but for all major sectors to implement measures to stabilise their emissions in the short-term before beginning a steep decline in absolute emissions within the coming decade.

Reinforcing this view, the first report from the UK Government’s Committee on Climate Change in 2008 emphasised the need for global emissions to peak as early as 2016, similar to the 2015 date suggested in the influential Stern report. Against this backdrop, the challenge for shipping, as a fundamental factor in delivering globalisation, is stark.

This proposal tackles the challenge head on: how can global society’s dependence on a rapidly growing shipping industry be reconciled with the scale and rate of mitigation outlined in Copenhagen and more quantitatively described from a UK perspective by the Committee on Climate Change’s carbon budget approach and related pathways? Thus the aim of the project is to apply an interdisciplinary, whole-systems perspective to develop robust methods for determining the emissions arising from UK shipping and to explore potential technological and operational step-changes in international shipping to accelerate progress towards avoiding ‘dangerous climate change’.

Duration: April 2010 to September 2013

Funder: EPSRC


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Life cycle assessment of ammonia production from biomass gasification compared to natural gas

Use life cycle assessment (LCA) tools to determine the environmental benefits and feasibility of producing ammonia fertiliser from biomass gasification, compared to using natural gas. Ammonia is used for the production of nitrogen based fertilisers and whilst the fertiliser improves crop yield, the production process is energy intensive and produces 0.93 % of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The biomass system analysed includes energy crop cultivation under typical UK agronomic practice, gasification in a fast internally circulating fluidised bed gasifier to produce syngas, steam reforming to convert the syngas into a H2 rich feedstock and combination with N2 separated from air, to produce ammonia using the Haber-Bosch process. The GWP is quantified using LCA software, along with other notable impacts on biodiversity.

Results are also presented for the net energy balance of the system, which is a significant consideration in determining the most appropriate use of biomass amongst the sometimes competing pathways of heat, electricity or transport fuel production. 

Duration: - April 2011

Funder: SuperGen Bioenergy (EPSRC)

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Nuclear Energy as a way of providing low carbon, secure heating services for the UK

New nuclear power plants are being discussed as part of the solution to climate change and energy security problems in the UK. The large, light water reactors being considered for construction can only convert ~35% of the thermal energy generated into electricity, with nearly two thirds lost as waste heat.

This is within the context of a heat supply and demand system that currently accounts for around three quarters of non-transport energy consumption in the UK almost entirely through fossil fuel combustion. This project explores the potential scenarios for heat utilisation at Hartlepool and Oldbury reactor sites. Particular focus is given to non-technical barriers through case study analysis and applying innovation and transition theoretical approaches.

Duration: Oct 2008-Oct 2011


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SPRING - Sustainability Assessment of Nuclear Power: An Integrated Approach

The overall aim of the project is to develop an integrated decision-support framework for assessing the sustainability of nuclear power relative to other energy options, considering both energy supply and demand.  Taking a life cycle approach, the project aims to develop a methodology and multi-criteria decision-support framework for an integrated assessment of the sustainability of nuclear power. The framework brings together technical, environmental, economic, social and governance perspectives to assess the sustainability of nuclear power relative to other energy options within a process of stakeholder engagement.  The Tyndall Manchester team is contributing a set of energy scenarios to 2070 describing varying levels of nuclear power within different energy system profiles for the UK.

Spring is a Consortium project, led by the University of Manchester (School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science) in collaboration with City University, London and the University of Southampton.


Duration: February 2008 to January 2011

Funder: EPSRC and ESRC

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Supergen Biomass and Bioenergy Consortium: theme 6 systems analysis

The Supergen Biomass and Bioenergy consortium aims to provide a recognized focus for UK biomass and bioenergy activities that unites key stakeholders and academia through leading edge research into renewable energy. The consortium studies production of different types of biomass, investigating their behaviour in thermal conversion processes designed to service demands across the heat, electricity, transport fuel and industrial demand sectors.

Tyndall Manchester leads the theme on systems analysis, which evaluates the performance, cost and socio-economic benefits of a wide range of bioenergy chains.  These range from use of domestic energy crops for home heating through to imported biomass for large scale electricity supply and consideration of advanced biorefinery concepts.

For each system greenhouse gas balances, environmental life cycle impacts, techno-economic analyses and social assessments are carried out, which inform an overall assessment of sustainability and policy development options. 

Duration: 2007 -2011

Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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Thermal management of industrial processes: task 7: environmental and socio-economic issues

This project uses whole systems analysis techniques to investigate new technologies to exploit the large amount of unused low grade heat available from UK process industries.  

The wider project involves mapping of potentially available heat and consumers, development of technologies such as industrial condensing boilers, evaluation of district heating potential and detailed process modelling. Tyndall Manchester leads the task on environmental and socio-economic issues, which aims to quantify the greenhouse gas and other benefits of different process efficiency options and analyze barriers to their implementation.   This involves stakeholder engagement and workshops, focus groups with heat users and detailed life cycle assessment of different process efficiency options. 

Duration: 2009 -2011

Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

District heating focus group headline results464.09 KB
District heating opinion survey headline results810.26 KB
District heating public opinion survey: MSc thesis1.65 MB
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Biomass with CO2 Capture (Bio-Cap UK)

This UK study is titled Bio-Cap UK: Air/Oxy Biomass Combustion with CO2 Capture Technology. Converting biomass to electricity with carbon capture and storage (bio-CCS) could facilitate large scale power generation with substantial “negative” CO2 emissions. However, there is very little experience of biomass behaviour under operating conditions in the proposed systems, capital costs are anticipated to be very high and the actual level of greenhouse gas reductions achievable varies significantly across the different technology options. This project aims to accelerate deployment of bio-CCS systems by providing experimental data on biomass thermal behaviour and CO2 capture with a biomass-derived flue gas.  This data will be used to inform bio-CCS plant simulation work, which will facilitate a realistic life cycle assessment of the real GHG reduction potential of the bio-CCS systems.  This will be combined with techno-economic assessment of key technology options to benchmark the potential cost-effectiveness of bio-CCS compared to other low carbon energy technologies.
Patricia Thornley
Jan 2013 (for 24 months)
EPSRC (SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub and UK CCS Hub)
Other Information

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Identifying emission gaps within lifecycle analysis of shipping

Shipping is recognised as the most efficient form of freight transport. For that reason the prominence of shipping emissions may have been overlooked in comparison with other modes of transport. While recent efforts have been focused on assessing emissions at the global level, shipping is also pivotal for bottom up or activity based analyses, particularly in relation to lifecycle and product chain analyses. This project seeks to address potential deficiencies in how shipping is dealt with in such analyses. The impact of differing ship type, size, speed and utilization will determine the emissions allocated to the movement of shipped goods. This will be complemented by emission estimates for subsequent stages in the product chain such as cargo handling and onward transport. Identifying the most important determinants of emissions associated with products carried on ships will assist in future lifecycle and product based analyses and comparisons.  

Funder: The Sustainable Consumption Institute (University of Manchester)

Duration: Completion August 2011  


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Smart Home Technologies (REFIT)

Smart Homes are becoming a reality with information and communication technologies increasingly present in our homes. Smart Home technology can provide a range of services including safety, security, comfort, healthcare and energy management, and are seen by companies across the world as a potential new and emerging market. This project - called REFIT - is studying how the development and deployment of Smart Homes can potentially help reduce household energy demand and consumer energy bills.
REFIT is an ambitious, interdisciplinary research project with the long-term aim of creating a step-change in uptake rates of retrofit technology measures in UK homes. The project brings together a diverse research team with internationally renowned expertise in buildings, energy, information and communication technologies, people, and design. REFIT will study the Smart Home concept and its ability to provide personalised, valued, tailored and trustworthy information on building retrofit, energy efficiency and on-site renewable technology options for UK homes.
Charlie Wilson, Richard Hauxwell-Baldwin
May 2012 to April 2015
Other Information

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Tidal energy in the UK – a stakeholder assessment of barriers and opportunities

This project assessed the opportunities and barriers for the UK tidal energy sector from the perspective of a wide range of stakeholders. In addition, it considered competing views on which organisations have the responsibility and ability to facilitate development. Approximately 20 individuals from a range of organisations were interviewed including: trade associations, academic research projects, testing facilities, regional and national government, utilities, funding bodies, regulators, and technology developers. The project identified key areas of consensus and disagreement within the industry around a number of topics, including: the degree of progress, availability and structure of finance, assessing environmental impact, international competition, competition within UK nations and testing facilities. 

Funder:  Tyndall Centre (EPSRC, NERC and ESRC)

Duration: completed in May 2010

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Energy Behaviours

Examples of Projects Underway

Below are a list of the Energy Theme's recent and ongoing projects, organised under topics, although many projects are cross-cutting. As examples of research currently underway:

Emissions reduction in the UK personal transport sector: A critical evaluation of behaviour and technology measures (2008-2011)

Personal mobility is widely regarded as a good thing for society and individuals, allowing economic and social mobility, but the private car is responsible for one in every eight tonnes of CO₂ emitted in the UK today and emissions from personal transport are on an upward trend.

Dan's research asks how can the UK play its fair part in avoiding ‘dangerous climate change’ if private car travel continues to grow? What changes in travel behaviour are implied if the UK is to play its fair part (assuming the best possible improvements in vehicle and fuel technology with the regulation in place to ensure its development and uptake), and how could such changes be encouraged?

Duration: 3.5 years

Funder: University of Manchester Alumni Fund

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Behaviourally-Realistic Modelling Workshop

Tyndall Workshop on Behaviourally-Realistic Modelling 2nd December 2013, UEA London
Tyndall Centre researchers met for a day of knowledge exchange on the prospects and challenges for incorporating behavioural realism into models used to inform policy and decision making.
The objectives of the workshop were:
(1) To explore ways of improving the behavioural realism of models used to inform environmental policy and practice.
(2) To share ideas, insights and experience on behaviourally-realistic modelling among Tyndall researchers.
(3) To initiate ongoing knowledge exchange and potential collaboration through workshops, working papers, etc.
The workshop discussions covered a wide range of issues, challenges and experiences associated with behaviourally-realistic modelling. Discussions were loosely grouped in three themes. Each theme was introduced by some short talks (available for download below) that also introduced specific modelling approaches. Details of the modelling approaches as well as key points discussed under each theme are included in a workshop report (available for download below).
The key conclusion from the workshop was that there is no ‘grand unified theory’ for behaviourally-realistic modelling. A wide variety of modelling approaches and model designs are available, and should be matched appropriately to specific research questions. Data limitations for parameterisations or historical calibrations are rife, but there are ways of addressing this so model runs are still useful (e.g., simplifying approximations, exploring possibility spaces, identifying critical thresholds). Modellers need to be circumspect about the limitations of their modelling tools, and hence the usefulness and interpretation of their findings. Knowledge exchange activities on this theme are very useful. Possible next steps include a briefing note, a follow-up workshop, or a larger community event.
Download the report from the workshop here.
Presentations available - see attachments at bottom of page.

tyndall_behavioural_modelling_workshop_report_dec13.pdf124.57 KB
1_wilsonpettifor_globalenergyeconomy_dec13.pdf171.1 KB
2_mercure_fttmodelmodelbehaviour_dec13.pdf1.14 MB
3_odonnell_floodprotectionmodelling_dec13.pdf740.51 KB
4_wood_elecnetworkloads_dec13.pdf1.46 MB
5_lamsalas_transportpower_globalfttmodel_dec13.pdf1.05 MB
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Smart metering: perceptions, practices and processes (May 2010 - May 2012)


ADDRESS (Active Distribution network with full integration of Demand and distributed energy RESourceS), funded through the 7th Framework Programme, aims to deliver a comprehensive commercial and technical framework for the development of ‘Active Demand’ (AD) in the smart grids of the future. The project is investigating how to effectively develop the participation of domestic consumers in power system markets through the development of interactive energy distribution networks. Tyndall Manchester’s involvement is in the field-testing phase, specifically focusing on the user acceptance with Active Demand principles and technology through interaction with an electricity ‘demand aggregator’ and smart metering equipment in their homes. An Energy Box will be installed that will interface between the consumer and the demand aggregator to optimise and control loads at the consumer’s premises. 


Funder: European Community’s Seventh Framework Program.

Duration: May 2010 – May 2012


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Value propositions for Energy efficient Renovation Decisions (VERD)

Understanding Homeowners' Renovation Decisions: The 'VERD' Project

VERD is a research project at the University of East Anglia investigating homeowners' decisions to renovate, with a particular emphasis on energy efficiency. 'VERD' stands for Value propositions for Energy efficient Renovation Decisions. The project is a collaboration between researchers from the Norwich Business School and the Tyndall Centre, and is funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).


Background & Objectives of the VERD Project

Energy efficient renovations can lower energy bills, improve comfort by reducing drafts, and even increase a home’s value. So why do homeowners prefer to spend their money on a new kitchen, redecorating, or a DIY project? There are many good reasons. Some homeowners may just not be aware of the potential for efficiency improvements. Others may be put off by the costs or the hassle. Efficiency is also largely invisible. Upgrading a boiler doesn’t earn admiring approval from friends. Renovating for energy efficiency might improve domestic comfort and suggest thrift, but does it also evoke style or entertainment? Ultimately, homes say a lot about their occupants. People are different; so too are their homes.

We want to understand the decisions homeowners make to renovate their homes. We’re interested in energy efficiency, but in all other kinds of renovation too. Here are some of the questions we’re trying to answer: Why do some homeowners renovate and others never do? What initiates or triggers their decisions? How do renovations relate to the routines and identities of a household? What value propositions are attractive to homeowners deciding on renovations? We hope our research will help government design policies to encourage energy saving, and businesses offer better services to homeowners.


Documents for Download:

This report is a summary report of our research findings and recommended actions for service providers and local authorities.

This journal article analyses the different ways in which home renovation decisions are researched and proposes a new, integrative approach. [ERSS].

This journal article analyses data from before and after the Green Deal to look at how homeowners respond to incentives and information about energy-efficient home renovations.

This data archive holds all the survey and choice experiment data on home renovations in the UK collected by the project in 2012 and again in 2013.

This document contains all the talks by the VERD project team at the research briefing for stakeholders event in Westminster in October 2013.

This document summarises all our main findings so far, based mainly on the national homeowner survey and choice experiments we conducted in autumn 2012.

This document is a talk by Charlie Wilson from summer 2013 that links some of our findings to progress so far with the Green Deal.

This document is a talk by George Chryssochoidis from summer 2013 that sets out some of our findings on attractive value propositions for renovating homeowners.

These two documents are a talk and a conference paper by Charlie Wilson from summer 2013 that explain how the background conditions of domestic life help explain why homeowners decide to renovate in the first place.

This document is an interim report with a summary of our initial findings as of winter 2013.

This document is a detailed consultation report in which we set out our conceptual approach to understanding and modelling renovation decisions. This includes detailed 'mappings' of key variables at different stages of the renovation decision.

This document provides some background to the VERD project, and opportunities for interested stakeholders to get involved. Click here to download.


For further details on the VERD project, please contact the research team:

George Chryssochoidis - Choice experiments, surveys, decision modelling

E-mail: g.chryssochoidis@uea.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1603 592694


Charlie Wilson - Energy efficiency policy, renovation decisions, surveys, interviews

E-mail: charlie.wilson@uea.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1603 591386


Hazel Pettifor - Survey analysis

E-mail: h.pettifor@uea.ac.uk


Lucy Crane - Interviews

E-mail: l.crane@uea.ac.uk

verd_summary_report_oct13.pdf1.32 MB
verd_workshop_talks_oct13.pdf3.76 MB
verd_findings_aug13.pdf4.48 MB
verd_wilson_talk_gd_jul13.pdf950.68 KB
verd_wilson_talk_cdls_jun13.pdf1.13 MB
verd_wilson_paper_cdls_jun13.pdf520.22 KB
verd_interim_findings_jan13.pdf203.52 KB
verd_decision_mapping_consultation_jul12.pdf1.92 MB
verd_chryssochoidis_talk_renovps_jul13.pdf1.25 MB
verd_background_leaflet_dec11.pdf903.5 KB

Energy Perceptions


Examples of Projects Underway

Below are a list of the Energy Theme's recent and ongoing projects, organised under topics, although many projects are cross-cutting. As examples of research currently underway:


Analysis of biomass and CCS as a co-evolving geo-engineering power generation option (ended Sep 2010)

This scoping study was initiated during the Tyndall transition phase in order to identify key research questions on Biomass Energy with CCS (BECCS) and to position the Tyndall team to establish a presence within BECCS research.

A workshop, organised jointly between the Tyndall Centre and the Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage, was held in Edinburgh to bring together key members of both the academic and stakeholder community with experience in this area.

Informed by the discussions during this workshop and an extensive literature review (including relevant social science literature) a Tyndall Working Paper will identify key options, individuals and perspectives of the potential role for CCS in the UK.

Duration: Tyndall transition phase, extended to September 2010

Funder: Tyndall transition

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NEARCO2: public perceptions of carbon capture and storage (CCS) (2009-2011)

Although it may be possible to transition to a wholly renewable European power system by 2050, the prospects of achieving this for both heat and power, while also increasingly electrifying transport, are doubtful. This begs the question of how to deal with major on-going carbon emissions from the energy sector. CCS being the key option in this regard, NEARCO2 is a European project focusing on public perceptions of CCS in the UK, Belgium, Holland, Spain and Germany. 

Public awareness of CCS in Europe has been low but is increasing – this process is likely to continue as Europe rolls out its CCS demonstration programme and as climate targets increase in urgency. As awareness grows, CCS is increasingly subject to critical attention at a variety of levels – from the policy level (e.g. what role CCS should play in future European energy systems) – to the siting level (particularly local public acceptance of new pipelines and storage sites). 

NEARCO2 has reviewed public participation regulations relating to CCS in the five countries concerned and has identified opinion-shaping factors across a number of live CCS and analogous cases. A conceptual model of CCS-related communications and recommendations on participation strategies are to be developed. Focus groups with the public have been held in the five countries, using a DVD developed for the project, which explains the climate change rationale for CCS, provides an overview of the technology, and gives arguments for and against its use. This DVD is multi-lingual and will be publicly available as the project progresses. A large scale internet-based survey of local public opinion relating to potential CCS sites is currently under development.


Funding: EPSRC

Duration: 2009-11

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UKSHEC Plus: public attitudes to city-level energy options (2007-2012)

Until relatively recently, public attitudes to micro-generation has been neglected as a research topic. Yet micro-generation features in UKERC 2050 energy system modeling and its deployment, in conjunction with energy efficient design, will be essential for the achievement of lower carbon buildings.

This project is using both citizens’ panels and a large scale questionnaire survey to examine public attitudes to micro-gen and related demand reduction in the city of Manchester. 

Both strands of work are integrated with the European project PEPESEC, which is trialing a Swedish approach to community energy planning across Europe. The citizens’ panels combine the GRIP energy scenarios process, which has a proven ability to take stakeholders through a learning process relating to energy supply and emissions, with a mental models approach to decision-making. The results will provide information on attitudes, understanding and conceptions. Further work using the same methods will allow comparison with different stakeholder types and nationalities.

The large scale, online questionnaire survey will be offered to individuals in the Greater Manchester region who have made a personal pledge to reducing their carbon emissions. The survey will investigate the conditionality of environmental attitudes and values, specifically in relation to micro-generation and demand reduction options. 


Duration: 2007-12

Funding: EPSRC

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Control of CO2 Storage (DiSECCS)

Diagnostic Seismic toolbox for the Efficient Control of CO2 Storage (DiSECCS) is an interdisciplinary collaborative project focusing on developing monitoring tools and methodologies to identify and characterise injection-induced pressure build-up in storage reservoirs, to predict the onset of mechanical instability, and to verify performance and improve in situ quantification. The focus will be on storage in saline aquifers (comprising the largest potential global storage resource), where considerable amounts of in situ water have to be displaced and pressure effects will have consequences for both storage integrity and storage capacity, but the research will also be relevant to storage in depleted hydrocarbon fields where strong pressure cycling might have affected reservoir and top-seal integrity.
Work at Tyndall Manchester, will focus on social responses to underground CO2 storage. Experience to date demonstrates that underground storage of CO2 is associated with significant levels of concern amongst lay publics. Furthermore, concern about links between CO2 storage and potential induced seismic activity were spontaneously raised by lay participants in focus groups. Gaining a better understanding of these concerns and how they may manifest themselves is a crucial element of establishing a monitoring process that will instil wider public confidence in CO2 storage. In the absence of live storage projects in the UK it can be difficult to accurately gauge the potential public response. This study will draw on analogues, in conjunction with a discursive process involving lay participants, to gain vital insights into how a lay population engages with similar geological processes and how controversies surrounding particular projects develop and evolve.
Sarah Mander, Clair Gough
11 September 2013 to 10 September 2016
Other Information

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Energy Transitions

Examples of Projects Underway

Below are a list of the Energy Theme's recent and ongoing projects, organised under topics, although many projects are cross-cutting. As examples of research currently underway:

Community Innovation in Sustainable Energy (Oct 2010 - Sept 2013)

Recent years have seen a surge in interest and activity in small-scale, sustainable energy projects led by local communities. Examples include solar water heating clubs and insulation clubs, which provide mutual support for system installation; energy awareness and behaviour networks, which provide guidance and reassurance to neighbours on energy matters relevant to them; and co-operatively-owned small-scale renewable energy systems, such as micro-hydro and wind energy.

This research project studies the diffusion of community energy projects in the UK. It explores the extent of networking between projects, and whether this is assisting in the innovation of community energy. We also assess the performance of projects and provide independent advice to policy-makers and energy businesses about the merits and processes for supporting community energy.

We draw upon the findings of our research to develop with practitioners a number of Foresight scenarios for community energy in the UK.


Contacts: Dr Adrian Smith, SPRU, University of Sussex; a.g.smith@sussex.ac.uk; 01273 9877065.

Dr Gill Seyfang, CSERGE, University of East Anglia; g.seyfang@uea.ac.uk; 01603 592956

Duration: October 2010 until September 2013




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The Politics of Low Carbon Innovation: Towards a Theory of Niche Protection (Oct 2010 - Sept 2013)

Recent studies emphasise sustainable innovation processes developing within protective niches. Experimentation in these spaces accumulates experience and improvements, which carries technologies from demonstration and into commercial use. This collaborative project with the Eindhoven Technical University analyses the politics of providing ‘protective space’ for three low carbon innovations in the UK and Netherlands: photovoltaic cells, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage.

We study the strategies followed by advocates of these technologies for attracting public support, and how this political competition affects the innovation process. We analyse the arguments advanced by advocates of each technology, the audiences to whom these arguments are made, and how they are re-presented to different interests.

The networks of actors contributing to the development of protective space will be explored; and how their activities generate different forms of protection, e.g. economic subsidies, public investments, institutional support, valued knowledge, political backing, attaining positive symbolic significance. We will study these protections influence the development of our case study low carbon niches.

Relevant outputs:

Smith, A., Voβ, J.P. and J. Grin (2010) Innovation studies and sustainability transitions: the allure of the multi-level perspective, and its challenges Research Policy 39: 435-448.

Smith, A. And F. Kern (2009) The transitions storyline in Dutch environmental policy Environmental Politics, 18, 1: 78-98.

Raven, R.P.J.M., Van den Bosch, S. and R. Weterings (2010) Transitions and strategic niche management: towards a competence kit for practitioners International Journal of Technology Management 51, 1: 57-74.

Contact: Dr Adrian Smith, SPRU, University of Sussex; a.g.smith@sussex.ac.uk


T: 01273 9877065

Duration: October 2010 until September 2013

Funder: ESRC-NWO

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China's Energy Transition: Strategies to mitigate carbon lock-in (Apr 2006 - Apr 2009)

China is experiencing a sustained period of rapid economic growth, accompanied by large annual increases in energy demand. Coal continues to dominate the Chinese energy system, and accounts for the majority of new power generation capacity. Demand for imported oil is also increasing sharply. The environmental side effects of these trends are serious - both for China and for the international community.

This Tyndall funded project aims to assess alternative energy futures for China, examining the potentials for China to transform to make the transition to a less carbon-intensive, more sustainable energy path. The project will work with Chinese organisations to assess the success of policy initiatives, lessons learned and obstacles faced, paralleled with UK experience. The policy implications of this project will inform China and the UK about future energy policy options, and deployment of energy technology collaboration programmes.

This project builds on previous work on energy and environment in China at the University of Sussex, carried out from 1999-2002.

Project Summary: China's Energy Transition: Strategies to mitigate carbon lock-in

Workshops: Tyndall China Workshop, Beijing 2007

Project outputs:

Download the Final Report and the presentations at the report launch event in Beijng on 29th April 2009 by Dr Tao Wang, Dr Jim Watson and Dr Jiang Kejun.

tyndall_china_summary_-_feb_08.pdf681.92 KB
china_final_report.pdf2.13 MB
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SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub

Bioenergy provides a significant proportion of the UK's low carbon energy supply for heat, transport fuel and electricity. There is scope for bioenergy to provide much higher levels of low carbon energy in future, but this requires appropriate development of key enabling technologies and strategic management to make the best use of the valuable, but finite, biomass resource. It must also be acknowledged that there have been significant concerns raised about the long term sustainability of bioenergy systems, including the wider social and economic impacts of biomass production. 

The SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub aims to bring together industry, academia and other stakeholders to focus on the research and knowledge challenges associated with increasing the contribution of UK bioenergy to meet strategic environmental targets in a coherent, sustainable and cost-effective manner. It will do this by taking a "whole systems" approach to bioenergy, so that we focus on the benefits that new technologies can bring within the context of the whole production and utilisation chain. In order to ensure focused research with rapid dissemination and deployment this will be done in close collaboration with industrial partners and other stakeholders, including government agencies. The hub will also take an expressly interdisciplinary approach to bioenergy, ensuring that we address important issues, such as the impacts of land-use change not just as scientific quantification exercises, but taking due account of the social and economic impacts. 

The hub will:

  • Act as a focal point for sharing and dissemination of scientific knowledge and engineering understanding to facilitate near-term deployment of technologies
  • Investigate and develop new approaches for dealing with the very significant engineering challenges associated with deployment of more novel technologies
  • Improve scientific understanding of the fundamental aspects of different forms of biomass and its conversion
  • Take a whole-systems perspective to comprehensively evaluate the potential of future technology options
  • Adopt an interdisciplinary approach to look beyond the engineering and technical aspects of bioenergy and ensure adequate consideration of the impacts on ecosystems, social responses to technology deployment and the economic context of policy development 

Patricia Thornley, Laura O’Keefe, Mirjam Roeder, John Broderick
01 Aug 2012 – 31 July 2017
Other Information

Energy and Emission Scenarios and Pathways


Examples of Projects Underway

Below are a list of the Energy Theme's recent and ongoing projects, organised under topics, although many projects are cross-cutting. As examples of research currently underway:

EnPath:Path dependence and path creation in energy systems

Modelling Analysis of Climate Change Mitigation (ADVANCE)


Models and methods for informing UK climate change mitigation policy (2010-2013)

The overall project aim is to understand what are the most appropriate tools and methods to support/ inform the UK transition to a low carbon economy, to identify gaps in UK climate change mitigation modelling and to make recommendations for modelling improvements. Understanding the methodological and data assumptions behind both UK and international models, who is using which models and for what, appreciating why certain models are used in certain contexts and the application of models to explore the resulting outcomes for policy relevant questions provide the focus of this research. 

PhD project, February 2010 to February 2013, funded by the Sustainable Consumption Institute, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester and the Stockholm Environment Institute, Department of Biology, University of York.  

Contact: Kate Scott, kate.scott@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Duration: 2010-2013

Funder: The Sustainable Consumption Institutue


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Russia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Cumulative Emission Budgets (Oct 2009 - Sep 2013)

In Annex-1 nations, despite Kyoto commitments, the levels of emissions continue to be well in excess of those required to avoid ‘dangerous climate change’. Compounding this is the rapidly growing emission levels of non-Annex-1 nations.

Russia’s emissions are an interesting case in this regard. Despite being an Annex-1 nation, its emissions have fallen rapidly since 1990 due to economic collapse and started growing again in the late 1990s. The project seeks to address Russia’s own greenhouse gas emission targets and budgets within the context of a redeveloping economy and the overarching global climate change objectives.

The modelled pathways and cumulative ranges will take into account the efficiency of targets, fairness of the efforts’ distribution, and various uncertainties (e.g., socioeconomic development paths, energy technology growth, and energy prices). Results of the proposed research can be applied to shaping medium-term to long-term post-Kyoto climate change policies in Russia.

Duration: Oct 2009 – Sept 2013

Funder: Sustainable Consumption Institute (University of Manchester)

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Bioenergy value chains: Whole systems analysis and optimisation

The full title of this project is - Bioenergy value chains: Whole systems analysis and optimisation. Most energy system studies of the UK indicate a strong role for bioenergy in the coming decades, especially if the UK is to meet its climate change mitigation ambitions. However, there is a need to understand how bioenergy systems can be implemented without negative sustainability-related impacts. There is therefore a need for multi-scale systems analyses to support the understanding of these inter-related issues and to support decision-making around land use, interactions with food production and acceleration of bioenergy technologies, while ensuring that a range of sustainability measures are quantified and that minimum standards can be guaranteed.
This project will build on partners’ bioenergy system models and combine them with other models, including the UK-TIMES model, ecosystem and resource models and international trade models. This toolkit will be used to identify robust and promising options for the UK, including land use, resources and technologies.
The key outcomes will include:

  • Understanding the potential and risks of different biomass technologies, and the interfaces between competing requirements for land use
  • Understanding cost reductions, lifecycle environmental profiles and system implications of bioenergy and biorenewables
  • Identifying and modelling the impact of greater system integration -integrated energy, food, by-product systems, and cascading use of biomass
  • Understanding what it would take to achieve a significant (e.g. 10%) contribution from biomass in the UK - and identify the pre-requisites/critical path for mobilisation (resources, policies, institutions and timescales).
  • Developing scenarios describing what policies, infrastructure, institutions etc. would be needed and where
  • Lifecycle, techno- and socio-economic and environmental/ecosystem, evaluation of the value chains associated with a material level of bioenergy in the UK

Patricia Thornley, Andrew Welfle
1st June 2013 – 31st May 2017
Other Information

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Climate change mitigation and adaptation in the UK food system (Feb 2010 - Jan 2012)

This project builds upon tried and tested methods for exploring future energy supply and demand to develop scenarios incorporating climate change adaptation for a series of key food-based products. These products will be chosen to explore three major issues of importance: 

Their importance within the UK diet

Their very high emissions burden either currently or likely in the future

Their vulnerability to climate change impacts.

Through collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute, physical and social science expertise in mitigation and emission accounting from the Tyndall Centre and adaptation-related expertise from the Supergen Consortium and the Satake Centre for Grain Process Engineering involving Manchester University’s schools of SEAES, MACE and CEAS, this project will bring together a range of disciplines to ensure the results are not only quantitatively robust but also qualitatively consistent.  The aim of the project is to develop a series of scenarios relevant to the retail sector articulating pathways to alternative futures from both an adaptation and mitigation perspective.

Duration: Feb 2010 to Jan 2012

Funder: Sustainable Consumption Institute

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Exploring the role of ‘high-emitting’ groups in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon society

Policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change have been ‘universal’; aimed either at society as a whole (for example carbon tax, carbon trading), or at specific sectors (e.g. forthcoming EU legislation on gCO2/km for cars).

In this regard, policies and mechanisms for reducing emissions have paid little attention as to whether actual emissions are skewed significantly towards particular groups within society and, if they are, whether ‘tailoring’ polices may provide for a more effective, efficient and equitable delivery of a low carbon society. Provisional evidence within the UK suggests greenhouse gas emissions are highly correlated with particular social groups based on, for example: occupation, residential location, income/wealth, educational background, etc. Similarly skewed distributions are likely to exist in all societies and the general Pareto principle would imply that ~20% of society could be responsible for ~80% of its emissions. However the shape and differentials of such distributions will vary in accordance with the behavioural, political and socio-economic framing of nations. 

This proposal will undertake a detailed analysis and comparison of emission profiles within China, the UK, and Sweden. It will use comparisons between these countries to provide guidance on developing low-carbon technologies and policies specifically tailored to the high-emission groups within each case-study nation or region. It will identify the conditions that ensure technological and behavioural measures successfully reduce emissions in high-emitting groups, and integrate high-emitting groups in Tyndall’s Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS).

Project leaders: Prof Kevin Anderson (Manchester) and TBC (Fudan)

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Modelling Analysis of Climate Change Mitigation (ADVANCE)

Integrated assessment and energy-economy models are important tools for informing long-term global and regional climate mitigation strategies. Sound policy advice requires improved representations of complex system interactions and thorough validation of model behavior in order to increase confidence in climate policy assessments. With the increasing use and growth in complexity of the models, the demand for improved representations has grown significantly over the past years.
To fill this gap, the ‘ADVANCE’ project aims to trigger the development of a new generation of models. ADVANCE stands for Advanced Model Development and Validation for the Improved Analysis of Costs and Impacts of Mitigation Policies. The project is working on key areas in which model improvements are most needed, including end use and energy service demand, representation of consumer heterogeneity, preferences and behavior, and technical change and uncertainty.
The ADVANCE project is led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and has 14 institutional partners including the Tyndall Centre. The Tyndall Centre’s research is focused on empirical analysis of the behavioural influences on energy use.
Charlie Wilson, Hazel Pettifor
January 2013 - December 2016
Other Information

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Shipping in Changing Climates

Shipping in Changing Climates is a multi-university, multidisciplinary consortium of leading UK academic institutions focused on addressing the interconnected research questions that arise from considering the shipping sector’s possible response over the next few decades due to changes in: climate (sea level rise, storm frequency), regulatory climate (mitigation and adaptation policy), and macroeconomic climate (increased trade, differing trade patterns, higher energy prices).
Building on RCUK Energy programme's substantial investment in this area already: including support for the High Seas project that was also based in Manchester, this research will provide crucial input into long-term strategic planning (commercial and policy) for shipping, in order to enable the sector to transition the next few decades with minimum disruption of the essential global services (trade, transport, economic growth, food and fuel security) that it provides.
The role of Tyndall Manchester (along with the UCL and the University of Southampton) is to investigate plausible future developments of international trade and resource availability to produce a suite of global scenarios for shipping demand and its drivers. This will be achieved by assessing: a) the direct impacts of climate change and mitigation policies on the shipping system (including polices aimed specifically at ships and ports, or climate impacts on shipping infrastructure); and, b) the equally important indirect impacts, such as the effect of energy system decarbonisation on the trade of fossil fuels, or climate impacts on key trading commodities. These will all be brought together through developing new, coherent, quantitatively and qualitatively derived shipping transport demand scenarios.
Researchers Involved
Alice Bows-Larkin, Kevin Anderson, Susan Hanson, Paul Gilbert, Sarah Mander, Robert Nichols, Maria Sharmina, Michael Traut, Conor Walsh
01 December 2013 to 31 May 2017
Other Information

Whole System Solar Photovoltaic Integration (WISE PV)

The full title for this project is - Whole System Impacts and Socio-economics of wide scale PV integration (WISE PV). Solar PV has grown rapidly in the UK since the introduction of Feed-in-Tariffs and as a result of falling costs; with 4.5GW installed between 2010 and 2013. There is potential for this rate to continue and for PV to play a significant role in the UK’s future energy mix. However the increasing penetration of a distributed and intermittent generation technology in the electricity mix poses challenges for the grid and raises questions about net environmental, social and economic impacts.
WISE PV is an EPSRC funded research project on the whole system impacts and socio-economics of wide scale PV integration in the UK. The project explores future scenarios with high levels of PV and improved device performance, evaluating the power systems, energy, environmental, economic and social implications of greater PV grid integration. The project is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the University of Manchester, Loughborough University, University of Sheffield and Oxford Brookes University. Tyndall Manchester is leading the scenario development and life cycle sustainability work packages. This includes stakeholder led whole-system energy scenarios and a novel consequential life cycle assessment of PV in UK with a particular focus on wider system impacts.
Researchers Involved
Paul Gilbert, Patricia Thornley, Sarah Mander, Chris Jones
1 October 2013 to 30 September 2016
Other Information

Energy and Emissions Governance


Examples of Projects Underway

Below are a list of the Energy Theme's recent and ongoing projects, organised under topics, although many projects are cross-cutting. As examples of research currently underway:


Biofuel Technology and Controversy (Sep 2007 - Dec 2010)

Critical realist philosophy is deployed to develop a dialectical conceptualisation of technology and controversy, including a close-range semiotic examination of the relationship between technological objects and their understandings.

This conceptualisation is mobilised in an empirical exploration of biofuel technology and the biofuel controversy in the UK.  The insufficient public vocabulary for the wide range of objects collectively referred to as 'biofuel' is found to provide a partial explanation for the emergence of the controversy.

Duration: September 2007 - December 2010

Funder: Supergen Biomass and Bioenergy Consortia

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Sustainability Omni Labelling – A mean to support more Sustainable Consumption? (Sep 2008 - Aug 2012)

The main aim of this PhD project is to investigate the prospects for the implementation of a sustainability ‘omni label’ to support ‘more’ sustainable consumption.

During the first part of the study case studies of existing product information schemes (EU ecolabel, EU energy label, MSC label and Fair Trade label) are used to explore how product information schemes try to shape the production and consumption system and identify processes, factors and especially actors that influence their effective institutionalisation.

In a second step the prospects for a successful institutionalisation of a sustainability ‘omni label’ and its potential affective powers on the production and consumption system are studied through qualitative interviews with actors identified as being essential for an institutionalisation in the first part of the study. 

Supervisors: Dr. Paul Dewick and Prof. Kevin Anderson

Duration: September 2008 -  August 2012

Funder: PhD project funded by the Sustainable Consumption Institute

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Community energy investors with Stockport Hydro

Working with a local community hydro energy development, we will apply lessons from academic literature on renewable energy consultation, community energy and siting controversy to work with them to develop and assess strategies for attracting new investors.
An initial desk based study will investigate potential lessons from other UK and international schemes, identifying potential strategies for increasing investor numbers. Various factors such as technology, size, location, return expectations, impact, sense of community, demographics will be considered in addressing the applicability of findings from other contexts. Building on the outcome of this initial stage, interviews or focus groups will explore issues such as: barriers to investment, investor experience and impact on other energy/environmental related behaviour etc.
Carly McLachlan, Feibei Chen
July 2013 to July 2014
Eco Innovation Fund, part of University of Manchester’s Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Innovation Award
Other Information

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Power outages in post-war Lebanon

This is  pilot study exploring the socio-material practices for maintaining electrical services in homes in Lebanon. Power outages are endemic in Lebanon and in the last decades, the unreliability of electricity supply has become an inherent part of Lebanese everyday life, normalizing strategies for maintaining desired levels of convenience and comfort that cut across the social (e.g. changing routines and practices) and the material (e.g. purchasing uninterrupted power supply systems for computers and appliances). This research project will explore the impact of power shortages on everyday life in the city of Beirut, Lebanon, by focusing on the socio-material elements that comprise households’ responses to them.
Networks of actors and artefacts of electricity supply and demand traverse different scales of urban life, where the ‘stuff’ of power cuts which range from local private generator enterprises (PGEs) providing electricity for a monthly subscription, to household items such as rechargeable batteries or candles. These mundane elements are contrasted with the contested political arena that is the provision of reliable power for the country.
The principal aims of the project are to understand the social and material networks that make up everyday power supply for homes in urban Lebanon, examining how these networks have developed and how they differ over time and space. In doing so, the project will generate empirical knowledge about this dimension of daily life in the city and the coping strategies adopted by households in Beirut, as they try to reconcile their ordinary expectations and aspirations with the reality of power shortages in Lebanon.
Dana Abi Ghanem
September 2014 to March 2015
Council for British Research in the Levant

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The Governance of Clean Development: CDM and Beyond

Analysis of which features of the actors, institutions, and policy-making processes involved in clean development are resulting in effective climate action and development benefits, which are not, and why.

The Governance of Clean Development (GCD) project aims to generate insights into the governance aspects of clean development, principally in the area of energy.  By employing a combination of research, dissemination and training activities the project seeks to push forward current research and practice on the politics of clean development.

The GCD project is funded through the ESRC Climate Change Leadership Fellowship scheme and is based at the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia.The project is led by Professor Peter Newell working with Jon Phillips, and Lucy Baker.

A full list of GCD publications is available here. For more information, including details of current research in India, South Africa and Argentina, and for opportunities for collaboration visit the GCD project website:



News from the Governance of Clean Development project...

Peter Newell discussed CDM funding for ‘clean coal’ plants in India at a CDM Watch side event at COP17 associated with the release of a short film The Carbon Con: Investigating the True Cost of Offsetting.

Implications of the third GCD Briefing for new technology mechanisms were presented at an official COP17 side event in Durban, South Africa: Innovation and technology transfer for sustainable energy systems in developing countries. See Peter’s presentation, Governing Technology for Clean Development.

Key Conclusions of the GCD research project are presented in the latest policy briefing: Governing Clean Development: What Have We Learnt? The breifing outlines key gaps and weakness in clean energy governance and suggests fundamental reform of the Clean Development Mechanism (December)

Peter Newell and Jon Phillips, with co-author Dustin Mulvaney, have contributed a Research Paper for the UNDP Human Development Report 2011: Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Click to download the paper, Pursuing Clean Energy Equitably. (November)

The GCD project hosted a public debate in London on the theme of Carbon Markets for the Poor: A Contradiction in Terms? A summary of the event, associated presentations and press articles are available by following the link. 

More news...


Browse Governance of Clean Development Project publications...


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Amidst insufficient mitigation efforts deliberate large-scale interventions in the Earth’s climate system, known collectively as ‘geoengineering’, have been proposed in order to moderate anthropogenic climate change. Geoengineering proposals can be broadly classified amongst Solar Radiation Management (SRM) and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) variants.

SRM proposals seek to reflect a proportion of sunlight away from the Earth, whilst CDR proposals seek to remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A diversity of proposals exists within each of these categories and each presents a unique set of technical and social challenges that span the natural, applied and social sciences.



Our Research:

Robert Bellamy, University of East Anglia:

"My research explores the appraisal of climate geoengineering proposals using an innovative and participatory multi-criteria option appraisal process called Deliberative Mapping. The project brings together a small but diverse group of experts, stakeholders and members of the public to engage in appraisal of geoengineering proposals alongside mitigation options and adaptation in order to provide a 360° snapshot of contemporary climate change decision making".

Kate Porter, University of East Anglia:

"My PhD project explores the underlying ecological worldviews – signalled by ontological, epistemological and axiological assumptions – that people drawn on when engaging with the idea of climate control and when reaching normative conclusions about its desirability and feasibility. Using discourse analysis, I am exploring this through two case studies: 1) the metaphorical ‘Geoclique’ and 2) residents of Haida Gwaii and employees of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation. Both case studies are sights of visible controversy about the desirability of geoengineering interventions, which will enable me to disentangle diverse reactions to geoengineering while ‘opening up’ (Stirling, 2005) the debate to diverse ontological perspectives".


Recent publications:

Deliberating stratospheric aerosols for climate geoengineering and the SPICE project

Appraising Geoengineering

Interactions between reducing CO2 emissions, CO2 removal and solar radiation management

A review of climate geoengineering proposals

The radiative forcing potential of different climate geoengineering options


Naomi Vaughan on Geoengineering: "Geoengineering An extreme response option?"

Open Debate on Geoengineering


Naomi Vaughan on Geoengineering

Gregor Betz describes the EuTRACE Project

Mark Lawrence on Ocean Iron Fertilization

Olivier Boucher on Categorizing Geoengineering

Tim Krueger on The Termination Effect

External Links:

EuTRACE Project

SPICE Project

Low Carbon Growth and Technology Transfer

One of the central tenets of any international effort to mitigate future emissions from rapidly developing economies is to foster low carbon economic growth. Such growth requires the development and deployment of a range of low carbon technologies through a combination of indigenous innovation and international technology collaboration and transfer. As a result, low carbon technology transfer will play a key role in negotiations leading up to Copenhagen and a post-2012 deal.

There is wide recognition of the fact that to date efforts under the auspices of the UNFCCC to facilitate low carbon technology transfer to developing countries have largely failed. Despite the high profile and controversial nature of technology transfer within international negotiations, inadequate empirical evidence exists across the board upon which to base policy. The different stages of development of low carbon technologies, from R&D through to commercial diffusion, introduce new and unique barriers, opportunities and policy challenges which are not yet properly understood. These are made more urgent by the need to achieve rapid diffusion of low carbon technologies to avoid dangerous climate change. 

Current Tyndall research is playing a key role in helping to plug the gap in the evidence base on low carbon innovation in developing countries, and the role of technology transfer. It is currently being taken forward via the following three projects below:


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Energy from Rice Straw

Rice is the staple food crop in Asia, where 91% of it is grown and consumed. For every 4 tonnes of rice grain, 6 tonnes of straw is produced, which in Asia amounts to about 550 million tonnes of straw and 110 million tonnes of husks each year. The husks go to the mills with the rice grains, where they are separated and are often used for energy purposes, but rice straw has become a significant waste problem across the continent. In most agricultural systems, crop residues can be returned to the soil beneficially, but not in the intensive flooded rice systems that predominate in Asia since 2 or 3 crops are grown each year, with insufficient time for residues to break down and their incorporation would hinder soil preparation and the development of the next crop and long term trials show soil carbon levels can be maintained without needing to return straw to the soil.
Therefore rice straw is often burnt in the fields, resulting in airborne emissions hazardous to human and ecosystem health. This project brings together bioenergy researchers from the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub in the UK with rice straw experts from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines to assess alternative options for utilizing rice straw to produce clean energy. The project is structured around 4 work packages:
1. FEEDSTOCK/LOGISTICAL. Since rice straw is a bulky, low-value material that is left in the fields, the costs of handling and transportation to a processing plant are high in terms of labour, energy and money.
2. TECHNOLOGICAL. Even if an efficient straw collection system were devised, it is a very difficult material to use for energy purposes, because of its physical and chemical properties. Little is known about which technologies can practically be used to convert rice straw into modern energy services in the field, but one promising option is anaerobic digestion and the project incorporates AD trials on rice straw.
3. SOCIAL & INSTITUTIONAL. It is important to understand the social context within which the straw is produced and the energy demanded. Focus groups are being held to assess the priorities, preferences and responses of rice farmers, energy users and others in the local communities.
4. DISSEMINATION. It is important to disseminate to and engage with users and local communities as well as the international scientific community
Researchers Involved
Patricia Thornley, Mirjam Roeder
1 September 2013 to 31 August 2016
Other Information

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Pro-poor, low carbon development

The project’s full title is “Pro-poor, low carbon development: Improving low carbon energy access and development benefits in Least Developed Countries”. The project is a partnership between the African Technology Policy Studies Network in Kenya and the University of Sussex in the UK (including the STEPS CentreSussex Energy Group and Tyndall Centre). The project aims to inform the development of Climate Innovation Centres in various developing countries by analysing the history of, and actors involved in, the adoption of solar home systems in Kenya. The objective is to improve the ability of policy to facilitate the transfer and uptake of low carbon technologies in developing countries, and to do so in ways that can assist in their economic development. Especially challenging but of critical importance to this economic development, the project aims to identify ways in which low carbon technologies can benefit poor people by improving access to modern energy services.
The project brings to bear innovative theory which builds on the STEPS Centre’s Pathways Approach to bridge relevant insights from academic literature in the fields of both innovation studies and socio-technical transitions. Further details and all associated briefing notes, peer-reviewed working papers, presentations, and so on, can be found on the project web page (see below for details).
David Ockwell (d.g.ockwell@sussex.ac.uk) and Rob Byrne (r.p.byrne@sussex.ac.uk)
April 2012 to March 2014
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), an initiative that in turn is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
Other Information
Project web page: http://steps-centre.org/project/low_carbon_development/

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The role of innovative capabilities in low carbon development

Tyndall researchers at the University of Sussex are involved in a number of strategic policy reviews relating to the role of innovative capabilities in underpinning low carbon development trajectories in developing countries. This has included conducting reviews of available evidence for the UNDP Human Development Report, OECD Environment Directorate, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Chile.

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UK-China collaborative study on low carbon technology transfer

The Sussex Energy Group within Tyndall Sussex is working with the Laboratory for Low Carbon Energy, Tsinghua University on a collaborative project to investigate low carbon innovation in China.This project has a key focus on the role of technology transfer in fostering innovation - and builds on a similar UK-India collaboration between the Sussex Energy Group and The Energy Resources Institute, India (2006-2009).

As with the UK-India collaboration, the UK-China project will draw on case studies of specific low carbon technologies: energy efficiency in the cement industry, highly efficient coal-fired power generation, electric vehicles, and offshore wind power.

The project results will provide much needed empirical evidence to inform policy debates in the UK, China and internationally. More specifically, the project's results will feed into the UK government's negotiating position for the next UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Mexico in late 2010.

Duration: Feb 2010 - Jan 2011

Funding: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)


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UK-India collaborative study on low carbon technology transfer

Collaborative study between Tyndall researchers at the University of Sussex, TERI (The Energy Research Institute) in Delhi, India, the Institute for Development Studies, UK and Margaree Consultants, Canada. Funded by the DECC (the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change).

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Fudan Tyndall’s Interdisciplinary Research

The Fudan Tyndall research ambitions are focussed around greenhouse gas stabilisation and transition to a low carbon economy; food, water and human security; and building resilience and reducing the vulnerability of people and places. Our research includes:

Societal Role of High Emission Groups

We are comparing emission profiles within China and Europe for developing low-carbon technologies and policies that are tailored to target high emitting groups in society. Read more...

Elemental Nitrogen Cycling

We are identifying opportunities for mitigating greenhouse gases from agriculture. We are analysing plant-microbe interactions and soil properties to better understand how N2O emissions may be reduced and carbon sequestered to help re-shape policies and practices. Read more...

Water Security

 We are improving understanding of water scarcity, extreme events and the water-energy nexus. We are improving knowledge of futurewater scarcity, including agricultural impact, and risks to people, environments and economies, and possible adaptation responses. Read more...

Fudan Flagship Project: Elemental Cycling (With an initial focus on nitrogen)

We are identifying opportunities for mitigating greenhouse gases from agriculture. We are analysing plant-microbe interactions and soil properties to better understand how N2O emissions may be reduced and carbon sequestered to helpre-shape policies and practices.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a very potent and dangerously increasing greenhouse gas (GHG), which has 300-fold greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide and an atmospheric lifetime of ~150 years.

More than 80% of N2O emissions globally are associated with the agricultural and waste-treatment industries, in large part because of the increased application of nitrogenous fertilisers onto soils that began in the early 1900s. Efforts to reduce N2O emissions require a better understanding of the factors that influence the production of N2O by bacteria, and closer interaction between this understanding and the policies and management techniques that regulate a range of agricultural and waste-treatment practices. 

Globally we stand on the brink of some major opportunities in agriculture and food production for mitigating the production of GHG. This Tyndall-Fudan research project will identify and highlight these opportunities. It will look at plant-microbe interactions and soil properties using metatranscriptomics methods and isotope measurements to establish how N2O emissions may be reduced and C sequestered, and integrate this knowledge with agricultural transitions and urbanisation to help re-shape agricultural policies & practices. 

Project leaders: Prof David Richardson (UEA) and Yiqi Luo (Fudan)

Elemental Cycling (With an initial focus on nitrogen)

Fudan Flagship Project: The Societal Role of High Emission Groups

We are comparing emission profiles within China and Europe for developing low-carbon technologies and policies that are tailored to target high emitting groups in society.

Policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change have been universal; aimed either at society as a whole, or at specific sectors. Evidence within the UK suggests greenhouse gas emissions are highly correlated with profession, location of home, income and wealth, and educational background.

We will undertake a detailed analysis and comparison of emission profiles within China, the UK and Sweden. We will use comparisons between countries to provide guidance on developing low-carbon technologies and policies specifically tailored to the high emission groups within each case-study nation or region. We will identify the conditions that ensure technological and behavioural measures successfully reduce emissions in high emitting groups.

Planned Research:

  • Determine the socio-economic profile of emitters in European Countries and China
  • Assess the behaviour of high emission groups and technologies to facilitate transition
  • Explore the early adopter implications of high emitters for low carbon technologies
  • Synthesise to provide clear guidance for developing tailored low-carbon policies


Project leaders: Professor Kevin Anderson (Manchester) and Professor Zhen Zhang (Fudan)

Low Carbon Economy
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Fudan Flagship Project: Water security

We are improving understanding of water scarcity, extreme events and the water-energy nexus. We are improving knowledge of future water scarcity, including agricultural impact, and risks to people, environments and economies, and possible adaptation responses.

Climate and other global environmental changes are having important impacts on water availability, quality and on the water-related risks to people, environment and economies.

The management of sustainable water resources needs to incorporate broad knowledge of the influential drivers in order to ensure water security at the regional and national level, and thus maintain global stability and international cooperation. In China, changes in flood frequency and intensity, rainfall, groundwater recharge, agricultural and industrial pollution, and hydrological engineering projects all need to be managed in a context of rapidly growing urban population and increasing water demand. 

Meeting water security in China requires a better understanding of the many individual physical and societal processes involved, and how they interact. This Tyndall-Fudan research project aims to improve our understanding of three key sustainability challenges on climate change and water security in China: water scarcity, extreme events and the water-energy nexus. It will analyse data and models to improve knowledge of future water scarcity in China, including the potential agricultural impact, the associated risks to people, environments and economies, and the possible adaptation responses. It will also improve the assessment of current and future flood risks in China and the responsive capacity in the public and private sector, and provide a full live cycle assessment of GHG emissions and potential emissions reductions in the water sector. 

Project leaders: Prof Declan Conway (UEA) and Prof Zheng Zheng (Fudan)

Food and Water
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Geoengineering Assessment

New research endeavours at Fudan Tyndall Centre might include:

The University of East Anglia and the Tyndall Centre are world leaders in interdisciplinary assessment of geoengineering options.We evaluate physical, environmental, social and technical issues surrounding the emerging field of geoengineering to inform science and policy makers.

Geoengineering is the large scale intervention in the Earth system to counteract human induced climate change. There are broadly two types of geoengineering approaches 1) Reflecting the sun’s heat back into space to reduce the earth’s surface temperature and 2) Removing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and locking it away. Some forms of geoengineering are suggested as a complement to mitigation policies.

Our current expertise and outputs include:

Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals

Global cooling potential of geoengineering techniques

BioChar evaluation

Public and stakeholder perceptions of geoengineering

Major contributors to Royal Society of Great Britain’s report Geoengineering the Climate

Co-Authors of International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) report Geoengineering Impacts on Ecosystems

Key reference:

Lenton, TM & Vaughan, NE (2009) The radiative forcing potential of different climate geoengineering options Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics 9:5539-5561

Vaughan, NE & Lenton, TM (in press) A review of climate geoengineering proposals Climatic ChangeLow Carbon Economy

Geoengineering Assessment

The Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS)

CIAS is a modular, flexible and multi-institutional integrated assessment system designed for outreach to national and international climate change stakeholders.

CIAS describes the global economic system, greenhouse gas emissions, the earth system and its climate, the potential impacts of climate change upon human and natural systems, and risks such as distributions of species. It is globally unique over existing integrated modelling in allowing component modules to share data and be coupled together to function as unique integrated models.

The CIAS modules currently consist:

Climate Module MAGICC6 from UEA and PIK

Downscaling Module ClimGen from UEA

Drought analysis processor from UEA

Hydrological model MACPDM from Reading University

Biodiversity from the MaxENT model of James Cook University and the Neural Network model of the Universities of Kent and Oxford

CLIMASCOPE to make regional results available to users around the globe via the internet

Project leader: Dr Rachel Warren (UEA)

Key reference: Warren, R., Bane, M., Barker, T., et al. Development of the Community Integrated Assesssment System (CIAS), a multi-institutional modular integrated assessment approach for modelling climate change, and of SoftIAM, its supporting software. Environmental Modelling & Software 23 (2008) 592-610

Winner of Environmental Modeling & Software Best Paper AwardThe Community Integrated Assessment System


The Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS)

The Urban Integrated Assessment Facility (UIAF)

New research endeavours at Fudan Tyndall Centre might include:

The Tyndall Centre Urban Integrated Assessment Facility (UIAF) simulates the main processes of long term change at the scale of whole cities.

It has been developed for London as its first case study city and demonstrates scenarios of how economy, landuse, energy, heatwaves, drought and flooding could interact over the 21st Century on spatial scales from the whole city to individual neighbourhoods.

The Urban Integrated Assessment Facility provides tools for planners and infrastructure designers to assess the long term sustainability of plans and policies.

It helps stakeholders and researchers begin to understand how urban and environmental policies can be devised that yield benefits to a number of objectives and avoid undesirable side-effects. Its components include:

Blueprint for integrated assessment of urban systems (Newcastle)

Landuse model (Newcastle and University College London [UCL])

Economic simulation and scenarios (Cambridge)

City scale emissions accounting tool (Manchester)

Transport policy appraisal and emissions accounting tool (Leeds and Loughborough)

Evaluation and implementation of impacts assessment modules (Newcastle, UCL, Met Office)

More info: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ceser/demonstrations/cities/

Key reference

Hall, J.W., Dawson, R.J., Walsh, C.L., Barker, T.,  Barr, S.L., Batty, M., Bristow, A.L., Burton, A., Carney, S., Dagoumas, A., Evans, S., Ford, A.C., Glenis, V., Goodess, C.G.,  Harpham, C, Harwatt, H., Kilsby, C., Köhler, J., Jones, P., Manning, L., McCarthy, M., Sanderson, M., Tight, M. and Zanni, A.M. (2009) Engineering Cities. How can cities grow whilst reducing emissions and vulnerability? Newcastle University, October, 2009, 37pp.

People and Places
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Governance and Behaviour

Research in the governance theme explores the underlying causes and potential policy solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges in the broader context of the transition to sustainability.

‘Governing’ refers to activities that seek to guide, steer, control or otherwise manage human societies. ‘Governance’ describes the patterns that emerge from these governing activities. As well as administrative organisations such as government ministries, formal policies and programmes, and specific instruments such as emissions trading, it also includes the more informal activities of non-state actors operating alongside, and sometimes wholly independent of, governments.

Climate change is a highly dynamic and politically high profile area of governance. Although the basic science of climate change has steadily become clearer and less contested amongst scientists, the debates about how to govern mitigation and adaptation have become more intense. The Copenhagen summit powerfully revealed that the main barriers to collective action are political and governance-related, not scientific or technological.

The Tyndall Centre has an internationally recognised capacity to conduct work which explicates the policy, political and governance aspects of climate change at multiple levels, from global to local, and across sectors. Its work covers the design and performance of particular policy instruments (e.g. research on REDD and the Clean Development Mechanism), the (non) use of scientific evidence and assessment tools to inform policy development activities (e.g. LIAISE), the emergence and role of partnerships between the private and public sectors (e.g. the NMNE project), and the design of policy systems to cope with complex policy coordination challenges (e.g. SCOOPI). Work in this theme is being funded by a number of bodies including the European Commission, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Leverhulme Trust.

Theme Co-ordinatorsHeike Schroder, Sarah Mander, Stuart Capstick, Lorraine Whitmarsh

See below for a list of the Theme's current projects:

Acquiring a Car as a Habit Discontinuity

This project investigates the role of car change as a ‘window of opportunity’ to support change of driving habits, in favour of more economical driving style (‘eco-driving’). A quasi-randomised controlled trial will assess three types of intervention (information provision, a smart phone app, or social commitment) to foster eco-driving.
Dimitrios Xenias, Lorraine Whitmarsh
December 2012 to December 2013
Other Information

Analysing Carbon Trading as an Instituted Process of Exchange

Climate change mitigation necessitates substantial alterations to patterns of worldwide economic activity and there are profound political, economic and ethical questions surrounding the governance of the means, rate and location of change. Within advanced capitalist economies and internationally through the UNFCCC there have been efforts to introduce emissions trading systems since the early 1990s.

This project has investigated the development, constitution and consequences of institutions for the production, exchange and consumption of credits for emissions reductions. Such credits are financial instruments awarded to organisations for putative reductions in emissions from “business as usual''.

In consumption they perpetuate continued high emissions activities by neutralising environmental regulation. I argue that crediting is a socially contingent process of commodification not a simple rearrangement of physical pollution. In a reversal of the carbon traders aphorism, I describe the ways in which a tonne is not a tonne, is not a tonne.

Duration: 2006-2010

Funder: UKERC

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Climate Change Communication and Scepticism

This research was initially funded by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is now supported by the School of Psychology. It has involved public survey work and laboratory experiments to understand how the public perceive and process information about climate change. There has been a particular focus on the forms of uncertainty and scepticism expressed by the public, and the reasons for and impacts of this uncertainty and scepticism.

Duration: April 2009 - ongoing

Connecting science and policy: the impact of the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee

Calls abound for more evidence-based policy-making. However, the evidence-policy relationship is not simple, as recent UK experiences with, for example, climate change demonstrate. Studying institutions which straddle the boundary between evidence 'providers' - like scientists - and policy-makers can improve understanding of the evidence-policy relationship. The UK’s Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is such an institution; it acts as an intermediary between evidence produced by various actors, and the political process of implementing sustainable development. The operation of Parliamentary committees is little studied. This documentary analysis and elite interview driven project aims to better understand: the role of contributors to EAC investigations; why some actors' contributions are favoured over others; and the EAC’s role in setting agenda

Duration: 2009- 2010

Funding: The UK Nuffield Foundation

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Deep emissions reductions and the mainstreaming of mitigation and adaptation – ‘RESPONSES’

EU climate policy is now focused on accelerating mitigation efforts, while simultaneously reducing risks associated with climate change impacts. To achieve these goals, climate action needs to be ‘mainstreamed’ across all EU policy sectors. The RESPONSES - European Responses to Climate Change: Deep Emissions Reductions and Mainstreaming of Mitigation and Adaptation - project addresses these challenges by developing new global low emissions scenarios, placing EU efforts in a global context; building an approach for assessing EU policies against mitigation and adaptation objectives and for developing alternative policy options; applying this framework in five key policy sectors (water and agriculture, biodiversity, regional development/ infrastructure, health and energy); and synthesizing the results to propose improved options for EU strategies and measures. The RESPONSES consortium brings together seven leading European research institutes working on climate change scenarios, modelling, analysis and policy.

Dr Tim Rayner, Professor Andrew Jordan and Dr Irene Lorenzoni have a leading role in synthesising the emerging findings and developing improved guidance on the appraisal of climate policy.


Funding: European Commission FP7

Duration: January 2010 - December 2012

Energy Biographies: Understanding the Dynamics of Energy Use for Energy Demand Reduction

This research is funded through the ESRC and EPSRC through the ‘Energy and Communities collaborative venture’ as part of Research Council UK's (RCUK) Energy Programme.  This project will break new research ground by using innovative qualitative methods (longitudinal research, sensory methods) to look closely at how our energy consuming practices can be illuminated through use of the conceptual themes of biography and lifecourse.

Duration: October 2010 - July 2013

Impacts of the December 2013 storm surge on the North Norfolk Coast

From the 5th to the 7th of December 2013 the east coast of England was affected by “the biggest UK storm surge for 60 years”. The storm surge along parts of the coast reached higher levels than the devastating floods of 1953. Loss of life due to flooding was avoided; but there was still extensive change to the coastline, damage to seawalls, and flooding of areas designated as “hold the line”. This event offers a unique opportunity to investigate the environmental impacts and social and policy responses to a severe episodic event.
A team of natural and social scientists within the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA has received funding from NERC to determine the environmental impacts of this storm surge event and understand the social responses.  The study area is the North Norfolk Coast (NNC), between Brancaster and Salthouse, constituted by a mosaic of urban, natural, semi-natural habitats and farmland, used extensively for recreation. The social sciences component will engage with the public and stakeholders to explore and understand the social and policy responses to the flooding and disruption caused to natural habitats and areas of conservation and recreation. It will focus on understanding how, from the perspective of its inhabitants and visitors, the changes to the landscapes resulting from the storm surge are being considered and received and how these have been managed in the immediate and short-term aftermath of the event by national agencies and local decision-makers. It will also explore how the event may create opportunities (or barriers) for changing thinking and policy around responses to storm events and longer term adaptation and transformation.
Marisa Goulden, Irene Lorenzoni, Trevor Tolhurst.
March – November 2014

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Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals, IAGP

Funded through a joint initiative with EPSRC and NERC this project aims to provide evidence and tools which will enable society to explore and evaluate the feasibility of geoengineering proposals.  The Cardiff University teams’ role is to elicit and examine public perceptions of geoengineering.

Duration: November 2010 - November 2014

Low-Carbon Lifestyles and Behavioural Spillover (CASPI)

This ERC Starting Grant is about how environmentally-friendly behaviour, lifestyles and spillover are understood and develop within different cultures. In particular, it tests whether and when behavioural ‘spillover’ happens – in other words, whether taking up one new green behaviour (e.g., recycling) leads on to other green behaviours (e.g., taking your own bags shopping), and if so, under what circumstances.
Lorraine Whitmarsh
February 2014 to January 2019
European Research Council
Other Information

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Non-State Actors in the New Landscape of International Climate Cooperation

This research programme consists of two interlinked projects, which focus on the role of non-state actors in multilateral climate diplomacy as well as non-state climate governance in the transnational arena.  

The programme departs from two seemingly paradoxical developments in recent years. At a time when UN climate multilateralism appears to be making little progress, non-state initiatives on climate change are thriving. This transnational climate governance experimentation has gained increased scholarly attention in recent years and suggested that it is time to consider climate activities ‘beyond the international regime’. At the same time, the non-state interest in the interstate arena is larger than ever.

Recent UN meeting have attracted growing numbers of non-state participants and governments have formally recognised the importance of such participation. Nonetheless, civic and private observers note that their access to the UN climate negotiations has become increasingly restricted. The research programme seeks to better understand these tensions by examining the interface between the intergovernmental negotiating process and transnational networks of business, civic, indigenous and local government actors.

The programme is organized around three research tasks. First, it studies the governance functions of non-state actors in multilateral climate diplomacy both within the context of the current UNFCCC review of non-state actors’ roles in the international climate change conferences and through the self-images of non-state actors and perceptions of negotiators and other actors. Second, it examines non-state actors' transnational governance experiments beyond the international regime and how these activities interact with the UN climate conferences. This is done through several case studies, such as the Clean Development Mechanism, REDD+ as well as arenas that are linked to international climate policy such as the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20). Finally, we assess what implications our conclusions from the two first questions have on intergovernmental diplomacy, transnational governance, and global democracy.

In order to systematically examine the different actors’ roles the project employs several methods: surveys among participants at the international climate change conferences and their side-events, semi-structured interviews with key people within the UNFCCC Secretariat and representatives from states that have made submissions on the on-going review of the role of non-state actors, document analysis and observations of the negotiations. These results will then be interpreted in light of three current theories on transnational governance and non-state actors’ role in decision-making.

The combined results of the research questions will advance our understandings of transnational governance and non-state actors’ significance for governance, transparency, legitimacy, effectiveness and the symbolic value of international cooperation. The project will moreover contribute to our understanding of the role that intergovernmental diplomacy has for these organizations.

By combining empirical and methodological experience with theoretical expertise on global climate governance and democratic theory the project will seek to make new empirical and theoretical contributions with relevance for the international cooperation in the field of environment and development. The study will also develop an internationally unique database of questionnaires that are conducted yearly at the international climate change negotiations.

Duration: January 2012 - December 2014

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Novel Multi-sector Networks and Entrepreneurship (NMNE) Project

Led by Dr. Heike Schroeder and Dr. Sarah Burch at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, the Novel Multi-sector Networks and Entrepreneurship (NMNE) project theorizes small businesses as agents of change in the multi-level governance of climate change, and cities as niche spaces in which sustainable development paths might be explored.

Using the cases of Metro Vancouver, Canada, and London, UK, this work examines the drivers of emerging partnerships between various levels of government and small businesses in the interests of climate change mitigation.  Rooted in an understanding of multi-level governance, and the role of non-state actors (such as municipal governments and the private sector) in climate change action, the aim of this work is to facilitate a greater understanding of socio-technical transitions toward resilient, low-carbon development pathways in cities.  We ask the following questions: what are the political and legislative triggers of these emerging private/public sector partnerships? How can these arrangements help to manage or alter institutional path dependence in cities?  What is the long term potential for ongoing partnerships, entrepreneurship in support of greenhouse gas management, and ultimately the mitigation of climate change?  How feasible might it be for this model to extend beyond mitigation to climate change adaptation and sustainability more broadly?

Duration: July 2010 - June 2012

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Operationalising REDD+: actors, interests and ideas

This project includes both analysis of the international REDD+ negotiations and field work on local REDD+ projects. It addresses the changing positions and strategies of international environmental NGOs on REDD+; making sense of who influenced the broadening of REDD to include forest management and conservation activities under REDD+; the design of social safeguards; and multilevel governance of REDD+ in practice.




Duration: April 2010 - July 2012



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Patterns of policy dismantling and de-regulation in an era of economic austerity - ‘CONSENSUS’

One of the main challenges for sustainable development is how to integrate economic, environmental and social objectives. By exploring historical patterns of deregulation, CONSENSUS (Confronting Social and Environmental Sustainability with Economic Pressure: Balancing Trade-offs by Policy Dismantling?), is aiming to investigate how and to what extent conflicts between these objectives are addressed in processes of policy dismantling. In particular, how do countries respond to these challenges under different levels of economic pressure? CONSENSUS is carrying out a systematic longitudinal comparison across 25 OECD countries, over the period 1975-2005, on how priority areas for sustainable development – climate change, public health, natural resource management, biodiversity and poverty and social exclusion (such as social transfer and social assistance programmes) – have been shaped by factors (e.g. global competition, international harmonization of standards, veto players, political parties and macro-economic austerity pressure) which can trigger policy dismantlin

Duration: March 2008 - February 2011

Funding: European Commission FP7

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Public and Expert Attitudes to Low-carbon Transport Options

This research is funded by the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability & Society (BRASS), and the FP7 project REACT.  It uses a mixed-methods approach to examine acceptability of different low-carbon transport technologies and policies (e.g., electric vehicles, congestion charging) and willingness to change travel behaviours amongst different groups.

Duration: August 2009 - October 2012

Public perceptions of climate change in the immediate aftermath of major national flooding

The research considers the role of extreme weather as a critical influence on people's understanding of climate change. Although a number of studies have looked at how wider meteorological conditions (e.g. day-to-day temperature) can affect people's views on climate change, there is little research that examines the role of extraordinary or extreme weather events in affecting public opinion.
Our research is designed to examine people's perceptions of climate change shortly after the occurrence of major national flooding in parts of the UK in early 2014. We will be carrying out a large survey across Great Britain in the summer of 2014 through which we can measure people's views about the flooding and about climate change, and how these are connected.
Exploring these questions is important for theory in terms of our understanding of how beliefs about climate change are shaped. It is also important for developing strategies for engaging members of the public in addressing the causes of climate change, and for responding to climate impacts. We hope to contribute to the development of more effective climate science communication in ways that take account of the complex linkages between extreme weather and climate change.
Stuart Capstick, Cardiff University
Christina Demski, Cardiff University
Adam Corner, Cardiff University
Nick Pidgeon, Cardiff University
(also Alexa Spence, Nottingham University – though not Tyndall-affiliated)
June 2014 – May 2015

Public perceptions of shale gas development in the UK and USA

Shale gas is a fossil fuel that can be used to generate electricity and for domestic heating and cooking. Unlike conventional gas, it is trapped in impermeable rock and requires hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ to extract it. The United States has undergone a shale gas ‘boom’ in the last few decades, and more recently there has been a lot of interest in shale gas prospectivity in the UK. Understanding public perceptions of these technologies is important given the role that they may play in future decisions about them.
This study aims to qualitatively investigate public perceptions of shale gas developments in Britain and the USA, in order to a) gain an understanding of these perceptions and what influence them, and b) provide a comparison between perceptions in a country where shale gas extraction is new, where it is more established. We aim to explore these perceptions through deliberative workshops with members of the public in both countries.
The project is part of a wider work programme of the US National Science Foundation Centre for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara (CNS-UCSB). It is to be carried out as part of the interdisciplinary Risk Perception Group (IRG-3) at the Centre.
Nick Pidgeon
Merryn Thomas
February 2014 – September 2015
US National Science Foundation Centre for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara (CNS-UCSB)
Other Information

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Risk Perception and Social Response to Nanotechnologies

Funded through two major centre grants from the US National Science Foundation to the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, University of California, Santa Barbara, Cardiff are full partners in a working group of the centre, investigating risk perception and public responses.

Duration: January 2006 - December 2015

Scenarios for the Development of Smart Grids in the UK

Smart Grids offer the potential to transform the ways we produce, deliver, consume and think about energy. This project, which is funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), aims to advance understanding of Smart Grid roll-out and use through a programme of novel empirical research, developing and evaluating a number of socio-technical scenarios. The project will use expert and public workshops and surveys to develop and evaluate a set of scenarios for the roll-out of smart grids across the UK.

Duration: October 2011 - September 2013

The (non) use of policy assessment tools to feed scientific evidence into policy processes – ‘LIAISE’

The LIAISE – Linking Impact Assessment Instruments to Sustainability Expertise - network aims to provide a focus for international research on the use of evidence, science and assessment tools in policy-making. It is building bridges between those who design such tools and those who actually use or (as is often the case) do not use them to make policy. Professor Andrew Jordan and Dr John Turnpenny are leading a critical area of work on understanding the needs of those producing and using policy analysis tools such as cost benefit analysis and computer models. LIAISE’s centrepiece will be a shared toolbox, simultaneously accessible to and used by policy makers and researchers. LIAISE will also develop a shared research agenda and support capacity-building and training to ensure its research results are fully applied.


Duration: November 2009 – April 2014

Funding: European Commission FP7

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The REDD+ Law Project: Legal frameworks for land development and conservation

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) has emerged out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)/Kyoto Protocol negotiations.  It is one of several different strategies to address climate change that Parties to the UNFCCC have developed as part of their mitigation commitments. Whilst the UNFCCC expressly recognises the importance of sinks in the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in its foundational principles and commitments, the scope of a REDD+ mechanism has only taken form in the last 7 years (officially being established in 2010).


REDD+ is primarily intended to be a mechanism to channel funding (both public and private) for reducing emissions from the forest sector; however, its implementation is also expected to have numerous co-benefits.  It is therefore worth noting the potential contribution of REDD+ initiatives to the post-2015 development agenda, which includes but is not limited to climate change. 


As an international policy, REDD+ relies on national implementation and requires countries to consider numerous issues.  In order to implement REDD+ initiatives and manage the financial flows linked to them, countries need to design appropriate policy frameworks which in turn need to be supported by robust legal and institutional structures.  Such frameworks could build on existing laws and institutions (such as those linked to forest law and governance), and/or require new law making (for example, to establish benefit distribution systems).  It is important to note that legal and governance issues are relevant in the context of a jurisdictional, nested or project approach to REDD+, and need to be considered whether REDD+ finance is delivered through a non-market or market-based approach. 


Countries seeking to implement REDD+ will need to consider all issues within the context of their unique national circumstances.  The REDD+ Law Project was established by Baker & McKenzie and the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (University of Cambridge) for this purpose.  To date, the REDD+ Law Project has worked with Governments, civil society and the private sector to complete work in Kenya, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.


The REDD+ Law Project is led by Dr Sophie Chapman of 4CMR in collaboration with Douglas Crawford-Brown and external partners such as Baker & McKenzie. The Project Site below contains papers summarising the results of the various aspects of the project. 


Project site: www.4cmr.group.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/reddpluslawproject

Research duration: 2012-2015

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The sources of and obstacles to climate policy innovation – ‘SCOOPI’

In recent years, climate change has metamorphosed from being a scientific issue of fairly marginal political importance to one that has – depending on one’s point of view – potentially transformative and/or disruptive consequences for virtually all policy areas. Experience to date suggests that shifting societies onto a radically less carbon intensive track will require unprecedented levels of societal steering – or ‘governance’. In Europe, this implies that the entire energy system will have to be effectively decarbonised in just over a generation. The aim of this project is firstly to document and explore the conditions under which policy innovation has occurred in multi-level governance systems, taking the EU as the primary focus and then drawing comparisons with comparable systems in the USA and Australia. Secondly, it aims to relate the observed patterns of policy innovation and/or stasis to state of the art theories of public policy to identify critical factors that enable and/or constrain the kinds of significant policy changes that the scientific community claims are needed to reduce the risk of abrupt and possibly irreversible climate change. At a time when natural scientists are anxiously debating the importance of critical ‘tipping points’ in natural systems, this project will in effect explore the scope for ‘tipping’ the multi-level governance systems in large, polluting states to enable significant and enduring policy innovation for climate change governance.

Duration: October 2011 - September 2013

Funding: The Leverhulme Trust (Major Research Fellowship awarded to Andrew Jordan)

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Transforming the UK Energy System: Public Values, Attitudes and Acceptability

This project is funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and NERC as part of the Research Council UK's (RCUK) Energy Programme. Using different future energy system scenarios as a starting point, this project aims to build knowledge of public views on whole energy system transformation, in order to inform the policymaking process and provide research evidence on how publics engage with notions of low carbon transitions.

Duration: January 2011 - December 2012

Understanding the Dynamics of Domestic Electricity Supply, Consumption and Demand Reduction (EPSRC Top and Tail Grand Challenge)

Innovative ways need to be found of fostering a transition to low carbon, secure, affordable energy systems. Efforts need to focus not only on low carbon forms of energy production, but on ways by which people can reduce their energy consumption in everyday life, including in the home. A key consideration here will be support for people in the uptake of innovative electricity supply technologies. This PhD project will be linked to the EPSRC ‘Top and Tail’ Grand Challenge Network, drawing also upon concepts and methodologies being developed as part of the group’s ESRC project (“Energy Biographies” under the RCUK Energy and Communities Program). The project is in collaboration with the School of Engineering in Cardiff University.

eBRIDGE – empowering electric fleets in European cities

This project looks at the potential of introducing electric vehicles (EVs) in urban areas in fleets – as opposed to individual ownership. Different approaches and business models are compared in six European countries. The project aims at demonstrating the advantages of fleets and shared ownership as more feasible ways for the introduction of EVs, and attempts to draw common conclusions to help policy makers and business partners maximise the use of EVs in cities.
Dimitrios Xenias, Lorraine Whitmarsh
April 2013 to March 2016
European Commission - IEE
Other Information

Our PhD Research

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the work being carried out at the Tyndall Centre, PhD researchers are conducting a wide range of research projects ranging from the effect climate change will have on human health to the impacts of biofuels on the social-ecological resilience of food systems to the role of behavioural change in reducing GHG emissions.

 Benefiting from being part of an internationally recognised organisation, PhD research is pushed to the forefront of climate change research allowing for engagement not just with academics but with policymakers, industry and the public.  The non-hierarchal structure that the centre advocates allows for ideas to be discussed and advice to be asked for across a range of research levels, encouraging communication and collaboration across a broad network of academics, disciplines and institutions.  

Doing a PhD can be a fairly isolating experience; being part of the Tyndall community helps to place your research within the wider context within broader research themes.  An active programme of meetings, both in and across institutions, means that relationships across a range of research levels are facilitated, both formally and informally.  Both expected and not expected problems arise when conducting research, within Tyndall there is a broad range of people to draw support from whether it is with methods, research design or practical advice. Looking forward beyond the PhD, remaining part of the Tyndall network is an invaluable resource.

This part of the Tyndall website allows for an insight into what it is like being a PhD researcher at the Tyndall Centre, providing information on the type of research that is being carried out as well as news, events and useful links.

Applying for PhDs with the Tyndall Centre

Tyndall Professors and Faculty are always interested to hear from high quality PhD applicants with research proposals and secured funding. Alternatively, contact the partner University and School where you are interested in applying for PhD vacancies. For example, this is the application page for postgraduate research at the UEA's School of Environmental Sciences

Projecting Climate-Induced Range Shifts of Fish in the North Sea and its Conservation Implications

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Water and Land

Our use of the planet’s land and water resources has important implications for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The use of the planet’s land and water resources are intimately linked with each other and with the climate. Land and water use relates to both the mitigation of climate change via reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, and adaptation via their role in climate change impacts.

Tyndall Centre research is tackling key issues related to land use and the services provided by ecosystems, including the need to avoid tropical deforestation to limit global temperature rise to two degrees Centigrade, the impact of carbon forestry projects on local communities, and the trade-offs between different types of land use for achieving food security and energy security, such as the growing of biofuels and food crops.

Research also looks at the resilience of water resources and land systems to the impacts of climate change and adaptation processes and how human security is affected by water-related climate hazards such as floods and droughts. Research spans a range of geographical scales and approaches, from small-holder farmers in Africa in relation to livelihoods and resilience to floods and droughts, to analysing the type of climate change information needed for adaptation by water resources managers in the UK, and global scale modelling studies that assess the benefits of mitigation and adaptation strategies. 

Theme co-ordinators: Marisa Goulden, Paul Gilbert, Douglas Crawford-Brown

See below for a list of the Theme's current projects:

ADMIT: Harmonising Adaptation and Mitigation for agriculture and water in China

Recent research suggests that food production in China could be threatened by the combined effects of climate change and other socio-economic drivers. The agricultural sector is responsible for roughly 20% of China’s annual emissions of greenhouse gases and 70% of China’s total water use. Managing the intensity of fossil fuel and water use in agriculture is critical to support effective and sustainable adaptation in China.

The ADMIT project is researching sustainable agriculture in China with an overall objective of estimating the 'carbon cost' of future agricultural water use responses for adaptation to climate change. The project is a joint collaboration between China and UK and forms part of the China-UK Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Network (SAIN).

There are three main elements to the project;

Assessing impacts and identifying adaptation policies

·         Model climate change impacts on agricultural crop production and water use in China

·         Characterise the main features of current and future agricultural policy responses

·         Identify sustainable adaptation options and policy responses

Water use energy intensity in agriculture

·         Review of methodologies for estimation of energy and water use intensity

·         Estimate current and future energy consumption in the water sector and agriculture

·         Fieldwork and data collection at case study sites in China

Linking adaptation and mitigation in agricultural water use

Prioritise adaptation policies

·         Identify useful carbon accounting methods

·         Assess carbon costs associated with adaptation policies in agriculture

·         Evaluate and prioritise policies in the context of a wider range of considerations

More information: See Project Flyer (download below)


Rothausen, S.G.S.A. and Conway, D. (2011) Greenhouse-gas emissions from energy use in the water sector. Nature Climate Change 1, 210–219

Policy Brief No. 3 Greenhouse-gas emissions from energy use in the water sector (download below)

Rothausen, S.G.S.A. and Conway, D. (2011) Greenhouse-gas emissions from energy use in the water sector. Nature Climate Change 1, 210–219 doi:10.1038/nclimate1147 download the ePrint

Funding: UK Defra under the International Sustainable Development Fund, partly funded by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture

Project Partners: University of East Anglia, Cranfield University, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Duration: January 2010 to February 2012

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ARCADIA and economic vulnerability

The impacts of extreme weather events – heat waves, flooding, droughts, etc – are both direct and indirect. Direct effects are produced through damages to health, crops and assets from the weather event itself. Indirect effects are essentially “echoes” through the social system following after the direct effects. An example is indirect economic losses as direct damage to production capacity in one sector of the economy leads to a change in the ability of other sectors to operate. This change may be either to decrease or enhance production in that sector of indirect effect.

Above: A representative result from the I-O analysis of the ARCADIA project. This result shows the estimated change in London’s GDP over the period of recovery when the same percentage loss of production capacity is produced by an extreme weather event, with backward and forward linkages in the economy. Such vulnerability analysis will be used in future phases of ARCADIA to identify where resources might most effectively be allocated to reduce climate impacts on the economy.


The ARCADIA project, led by Jim Hall at the University of Oxford, is developing a suite of models and decision support tools to understand the probabilistic nature of extreme weather events under climate change, and using that knowledge to further understand the direct and indirect effects. The economic analysis, led through 4CMR, is rooted in input-output analysis using the structure of the UK economy as developed by Cambridge Econometrics now and in the future. Such an analysis allows for estimates of the indirect effects of climate-related damage to the economic sectors of a city; the project is using London as the test case. As described in the journal articles stemming from this work, the economic vulnerability analysis focuses to date on how a given percentage loss in production capacity in any one sector contributes to overall loss or gain in London’s economy, and how different strategies of recovery from this initial loss affect the economic impacts. The modelling does not try to estimate how such events might change the structure of the economy or alter prices, but rather assumes that structure and pricing remains in place after an event as the economy returns to the pre-damage conditions. Future development of the project may remove this assumption, but at present removing it is too uncertain to justify inclusion of the more dynamic economic approaches offered by models such as those developed elsewhere in 4CMR and Cambridge Econometrics.


Outputs: J. Li, D. Crawford-Brown, M. Syddall and D. Guan, Modelling Economic Recovery Following a Natural Disaster using Input-Output Analysis, International Journal of Risk Analysis, to appear in 2013. D. Crawford-Brown, M. Syddall, D. Guan, J. Li, K. Jenkins, J. Hall, and R. Beaven, Exploring the Vulnerability of London’s Economy to Climate Change Impacts, Environmental Policy and Planning, to appear in 2013.

Funding: EPSRC

Project Partners: The partners of the ARCADIA project (see www.4cmr.group.cam.ac.uk/arcadia)

Duration: January 2010 to June 2013

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ARCC Water – Adaptive and Resilient Water Systems

Reliable water supply is fundamental to human health and wellbeing, and in the UK is underpinned by inter-linked infrastructure for abstraction, storage, treatment and conveyance of potable and wastewater. Climate change (CC) has the potential to affect the UK water system in a number of ways: through changes in the water available for abstraction and storage, especially through altered drought frequency and intensity, changes in demand and changing risk of infrastructure failure.

Since 1997, Water Utilities have been obliged to include CC in long term water resource plans for their Periodic Reviews (PRs). The sophistication of this analysis has increased over time but remains focused on the effect of CC on Average Demand and Deployable Output on a Water Resource Zone (WRZ) basis, with limited consideration of the effects of climate change on the entire water resource system. An integrated 'whole system' analysis is required to identify long-term water resource plans in which portfolios of infrastructure and demand management options maintain secure supplies (increased reliability and reduced vulnerability to failure) and enhance the environment.


This project, conceived and formulated in close collaboration with stakeholder project-partners, will develop new methods and tools to:

- Assess the risk of climate change impacts on water infrastructure systems and improve the performance of the water supply / demand system under future extreme events that will drive system failure (floods, droughts, heat waves).

- Design robust water-supply infrastructure systems at regional and local scales by identifying packages of measures that guarantee reliable water supplies at competitive costs, meet carbon commitments and are socially and environmentally acceptable.

Key features of the research project:

- A 'multi-criteria robust decision analysis' framework for formulating and evaluating alternative water supply plans / policies that ensure security of supply and meet economic, environmental and social objectives.

- Systematic treatment of uncertainties associated with future climate, hydrology, socio-economics, demand/behaviour, and technology.

- Multi-scale, enabling regional integrated assessment across multiple Water Utility supply areas and local authority boundaries, as well as smaller-scale assessment within individual supply areas.

- New datasets and insights on future regional drought risk, critical infrastructure risk and demand-side adaptive capacity.

- Build on, and add value to, existing research projects, methods and tools.

More info: http://www.ukcip-arcc.org.uk/content/view/629/517/

Funding: EPSRC

Partners: HR Wallingford, University of Exeter, University College London, Loughborough University, Lancaster University

Duration: September 2009 - October 2012

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About AVOID 2


AVOID 2 is a UK government funded climate change research programme involving a multi-disciplinary consortium of UK research organisations. The programme will run from February 2014 to March 2016. It follows on from the first AVOID programme which took place from 2009 to 2013.

The research being undertaken will provide scientifically-robust, policy-relevant answers to questions directly related to the Ultimate Objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is to ‘prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’.

The multi-disciplinary consortium is led by the Met Office and includes the Grantham Institute (Imperial College London), Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Walker Institute (University of Reading). There are 12 other organisations in the AVOID network.

Research and purpose

The AVOID research programme focuses on three key questions:

  • What are the characteristics of ‘dangerous’ climate change?
  • What greenhouse gas emissions pathways will avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change?
  • What is the feasibility of such pathways?

2014/2015 is a critical period in the international climate change negotiation process, in which the long-term climate goal will be discussed and the scale of greenhouse gas mitigation ambition and structure of a global agreement will be shaped. AVOID 2 will help to provide Government analysts and climate negotiating teams in both the UK and internationally with the scientifically robust and policy relevant science needed to inform their decisions.

What did AVOID 1 achieve?

AVOID 1, which ran from 2009 to 2013, supported the UK's international engagement and informed its position at international climate change negotiations, including contributing to the UN's Environment Programme with credible, targeted and timely research, and supporting the setting of the UK’s carbon budgets. Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change recognised this in a speech at the final AVOID 1 symposium where he said it was "an impressive demonstration of successful collaboration between academia and Government. …[delivering] concrete outcomes.” See more of the outputs from AVOID 1 here


The programme has a budget of £1.45M, funded by DECC, DEFRA and NERC, and developed under the Living With Environmental Change Partnership (LWEC). All work carried out under the programme will be impartial, and advised by a board of key stakeholders, including representation external to the funding bodies.

Climate Change, Hydro-conflicts and Human Security (CLICO)

Climate change poses threats to human security and hydro-climatic hazards such as droughts and floods may exacerbate social tensions, intra- and inter-state conflict. Yet cooperative responses are also observed.

The CLICO project is a collaborative project funded under the EU Framework 7 Program which will explore the ways in which different hydro-climatic (water related) hazards, and the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of societies interact to produce conflict and/or cooperation and human insecurity.

The three year project commenced in January 2010 and involves a collaboration between 14 research teams from Europe, North Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East that bring together some of the world’s leading researchers in water resources, vulnerability, conflict, peace and security studies who will work together in a trans-disciplinary fashion.

CLICO will investigate what types of policies and institutions are necessary to ensure adaptation, security and peace in the face of global and regional hydro-climatic change. Eleven cases of water related conflicts and human insecurity will be studied including studies in Niger, Sudan, the Jordan and Nile basins, Cyprus, Italy and southern Spain.

Funding: European Commission Framework 7

Duration: January 2010 to December 2012

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Climate change, land use change and agriculture: an integrated assessment using CIAS

This research focuses on examining the interactions between climate policy and land use change policy and the implication for global crop production and global food security.

This work makes use of the Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS) to combine greenhouse gases emissions scenarios with models of the Earth’s climate, crop yields, global hydrology, land use dynamics and the world economy. This research is an extension of previous research on the impact of climate and agricultural management practices on global crop yield and is funded by a Tyndall Centre PhD research scholarship.

Duration: October 2010 to September 2013.


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Climate change, water resources and conflict in the Niger River Basin

This research explores the consequences of climate change and climate variability in the Niger River Basin for human security and the risk of conflict.


We are trying to understand the linkages between climate, conflict, human security, adaptation and resilience in a multi-scale study that includes three case studies of water management and climate impacts on the River Niger. Two of the case studies are in Mali and one is in Nigeria. The River Niger traverses a region of the Sahel that has experienced significant reductions in rainfall and river flow since the late 1960s as well as extreme rainfall events and significant flooding impacts in recent years. The impacts of future climate change in the region are highly uncertain. Our research assesses the tensions and risks of conflict associated with water resources and climate stresses, as well as the impacts on the livelihoods and human security of vulnerable populations. The significance of climate stresses is carefully assessed in the context of other key social and political factors in the generation of tension and conflict. We will consider the role of adaptation, institutions and conflict resolution mechanisms as sources of resilience. 

The research is funded by USAID and is a collaborative effort between national and international academic and NGO partners. The project duration is between November 2010 and December 2011.

Watch a video of lead researcher  Marisa Goulden and colleagues from International Alert discussing the research findings in an event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center in November 2011: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/climate-change-water-and-conflict-the-niger-river-basin

Duration: November 2010 to December 2011

for further information see http://www.international-alert.org/our-work/climate-change-water-and-conflict-niger-river-basin


Project partners include:

University Abdou Moumouni dioffo, Niamey, Niger

Nick Brooks - Independent Consultant

Download the final project reports here:

Niger climate change water and conflict, full report, English (70 pages)555.05 KB
Niger climate change water and conflict, summary report, English (8 pages)178.68 KB
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Cumulative Risk from Waterborne Contaminants

Climate strategies – both in mitigation and adaptation – can alter the loading of waterborne contaminants into waterways and drinking water supplies. To date, the process of assessing risk from such changes has tended to focus on one contaminant at a time, comparing the risk posed against regulatory limits.

Above: A representative result from application of the Cumulative Risk Project methodology when 50 contaminants are all present in a water supply at their US regulatory limits. DALY values for (i) morbidity (blue bars), (ii) cancer mortality (red bars) and (iii) total (yellow bars), by compound. Compound 51 is the Total Weighted DALY across all compounds in the assumed water supply. Note the very significant differences in DALY values associated with regulatory limits, due in large part to quite large differences in the treatment of uncertainty and precaution for different contaminants.

The Cumulative Risk Project has developed a methodology, rooted in epidemiological meta-analysis and Disability Adjusted Life-Years (DALY), to calculate the total risk from 100+ contaminants that might be affected by changes to a catchment area. Results suggest that conventional approaches to risk assessment significantly mis-state the cumulative risk of such changes due to very different levels of conservatism built into the risk assessment process for different contaminants. The Cumulative Risk Project removes these problems by separating clearly the exposure-response and uncertainty considerations in risk assessment, placing diverse contaminants onto a common metric of public health impact so cumulative risk can be calculated.

Outputs: D. Crawford-Brown and S. Crawford-Brown, Cumulative Risk Assessment Framework for Waterborne Contaminants, Journal of Environmental Protection, 3, 400-413, 2012

Funding: American Water Works Association Research Foundation

Project Partners: Stratus Consulting and Jacobs Consulting

Duration: January 2011 to June 2013

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Opinion is divided on the merits of incentivising a large scale, international trade in biomass for bioenergy, including liquid biofuel for transport. The benefits of this trade will very much depend upon careful targeting, monitoring and management.

Complex cross-policy domain interactions can be expected to arise from a large scale international bioenergy and biofuel trade. The environmental and social consequences will also vary substantially by feedstock type, conversion technology and end-use. As part of the EPSRC SUPERGEN Bioenergy consortium (2007-11), Tyndall Manchester is undertaking life cycle analyses (LCA) of alternative bioenergy/biofuel systems and characterizing stakeholder opinion of systems relevant to the UK. A supplementary project is undertaking the same for the potential use of UK marine biomass for bioenergy.

The project has reviewed the attributes of 19 feedstocks relevant to UK bioenergy/biofuel supply; has investigated stakeholder opinion of supply of soy in Argentina and Jatropha in India, for biodiesel; has characterized critical stakeholder opinion of the UK Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation; has produced a scenario of ‘sustainable’ 2020 bioenergy supply to the UK; and is undertaking LCA for power, heat and liquid transport fuel systems.


Funding: EPSRC

Duration: 2007-11

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Reduced Scale Models for Policy

A reduced scale model of the coupled carbon cycle, population dynamics, energy system and land use characteristics has been developed to assess the sensitivity of atmospheric carbon to a variety of policies. Policies simulated include reduction of the rate of growth of the population; reduction of the rate of conversion of forested land to cropland; reduction in per capita energy demand in developed nations; reduction in per capita energy demand in developing nations; reduction in the carbon intensity of energy production in developed nations; and reduction in the carbon intensity of energy production in developing nations. The aim is to assess which policy – if it could be implemented and achieve its goals - is most effective at driving down atmospheric carbon.

Above: This summary figure shows the estimated atmospheric carbon (in billions of metric tons, with the red dashed line being a doubling of pre-industrial revolution levels) as a function of time. In each case, policies are introduced in 2020. Curve A is the Baseline, with no policies introduced; Curve B is with only population control introduced globally; Curve C is with policies reducing growth in per capita energy demand in the developed nations also introduced (on top of the population control of Curve B); Curve D is with policies reducing the carbon intensity of energy provision in the developed nations also introduced; Curve E is with policies reducing growth in per capita energy demand in the developing nations also introduced; Curve F is with policies reducing the carbon intensity of energy provision in the developing nations also introduced; and Curve G is with policies affecting land use introduced globally. Curves C and D approximately overlap, as do Curves E and F. This is due to both acting on the same model component of per capita carbon emissions.

For each policy, both the time to onset of the policy and the fractional annual rate of change in the associated model variable are established. Using as a measure of sensitivity the extension in years required for atmospheric carbon to reach the policy ceiling of 1160 BMT, achieved at a policy that introduces a rate of change in each affected model variable of 0.05 per year (a 5% change per year), then the policies in decreasing order of sensitivity are: Developing nations per capita growth (17 years), Developing nations carbon intensity (17 years), Population control (11 years), Developed nations carbon intensity (2.9 years), Developed nations per capita growth (2.8 years) and Land use (1.3 years). These values are all approximately doubled when population is stabilised first. An analysis of the model results also shows a convergence of the developed and developing nations per capita carbon emissions by 2100 when a portfolio of policies is selected to prevent a doubling of the pre-industrial revolution level of atmospheric carbon at any point in the future, consistent with a principle of “contract and converge”.

Note: Much more detailed policy assessments will be possible under the Tyndall Centre CIAS project when science and policy models are fully linked. The results of the Reduced Scale project, therefore, may change as lessons are learnt from CIAS.

Outputs: D. Crawford-Brown, Assessing the sensitivity of climate change targets to policies of land use, energy demand, low carbon energy and population growth, Journal of Environmental Protection, 4, 2012

Funding: TGT

Duration: January 2012 to December 2012

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Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD) Conservation Project in Tanzania

Since 2004 the Mpingo Conservation Project in Tanzania has been developing an approach to Participatory Forest Management (PFM) which focuses specifically on sustainable management of high-value hardwood timbers, working in the communal village lands of Kilwa District in the Lindi Region. Supported by the Norwegian Development Agency (NORAD), the project will now incorporate REDD payments as a catalyst to expand PFM and forest certification over a wider area, bringing substantial benefits to poor and natural resource-dependent rural communities and conserving greatly increased areas of forest. 

Esteve Corbera with colleagues Oliver Springate-Baginski and Adrian Martin at the School of International Development (UEA) will experiment with an approach to integrating PFM with a REDD payments system and test methods for the socio-economic assessment of such integration. 

Project site: www.mpingoconservation.org

Research duration: 2010-2013

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The STEPPING UP project is a collaboration between researchers at eight universities and research institutes across the UK. We are working to understand the interactions of water, energy and food (WEF), and how niche innovations across these systems could be built upon to deliver a STEP-change towards improving sustainability, in the context of a world responding to climate impacts and policies.

Researchers in the STEPPING UP team will testing whether a small innovation that aims to cut resource use, tackle greenhouse gas emissions or achieve other key sustainability indicators at the Water-Energy-Food nexus, can lead to even greater success at a larger scale. If it is feasible to roll out the innovation across a town, region or country, do the benefits still exist? And what if the climate changes? Will the innovation still make a difference in a world that is 2°C or 4°C warmer?

Overall project objectives

To achieve our aims, we have brought together a team with expertise across water, food and energy with physical science, engineering and social science backgrounds. This team will build models of a few case studies that have achieved low-impact across the WEF nexus. These models will not only capture physical attributes such as the source of electricity or food supply chain, but also be able to model how governance, power and behaviour have influence. By considering what might change over time - e.g. rainfall - the model will not only test if an innovation can operate at another scale, but also if it works under changing conditions. The data gathered will involve building solid relationships with stakeholders involved with our case studies, as well as a wider set of policy and decision makers. These stakeholders will be engaged with directly in the research through workshops and interviews. They will also have an opportunity to work with researchers to build a tool that uses both the findings from the modelling exercise and stakeholder views, to provide assistance with strategic decision making of relevance at different scales. The research will deliver a package of robust numerical and descriptive insights alongside a formal decision support tool and findings will be shared widely with academic as well as government, industry and civil society audiences.

Further information

STEPPING UP project website

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ToPDAd (Tool Supported Development for Regional Adaptation)

ToPDAd is an FP7 project in its second year, utilizing, refining and integrating existing methods and tools addressing technical and economic development in the key sectors energy, transport and tourism, assessing their aggregated impacts on health, environment and regional/national/EU-wide economics. The starting point is the methods and tools brought to the project by the partners. This includes a Clearing House Mechanism as an IT tool and database on climate change impact, vulnerability and best practices on adaptation. The Clearing House Mechanism contributes to the Shared Environmental Information System, the collaborative initiative by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) to establish with the Member States an integrated and shared EU-wide environmental information system.
4CMR is leading tool development on adaptation strategies and vulnerability reduction in regard to energy provision; performing a gap analysis for adaptation studies and their ability to contribute to policy decisions; and providing stakeholder engagement.
Researchers Involved (from 4CMR)
Douglas Crawford-Brown
Ann Thompson
Mark Syddall
Scott Kelly
11-2012 through 11-2015
Other Information
Partners are:

  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Center for International Climate and Environmental Research
  • Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research
  • Joanneum Research
  • Transport & Mobility Leuven
  • University of East Anglia
  • Institute for Transport Planning and Systems
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute
  • Institute of Economic Structures Research
  • Wageningen UR
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Water Security and Climate Change Adaptation in the River Nile Basin

The many internationally shared rivers in Africa provide vital water resources to highly vulnerable populations but face many barriers to adaptation to the impacts of climate change in addition to the increasing demand for water as populations continue to grow.Tyndall Centre research in the River Nile Basin has examined the role of conflict and cooperation between the ten countries that share the basin in adapting to the impacts of climate extremes including floods and droughts and the possible impacts of future climate change. Uncertainty, on the one hand, over the direction and magnitude of changes in rainfall and river flows with climate change and, on the other hand, uncertainty over future sharing of water and cooperative arrangements by the Nile countries, has been cited by water resource managers in the basin as a key barrier to addressing climate change adaptation. The latest research on this project examines perceptions of experts in three of the Nile Basin countries – Egypt, Ethiopia and Uganda of the potential impacts of climate change and changing water sharing and water use patterns in the basin on water security, human well-being and adaptation needs.

Tyndall Working Paper 127 “Challenges of Adaptation to Climate Change in transboundary river basins in Africa”

“Adaptation to climate change in international river basins: a case study of the River Nile” Link to presentation slides, Link to audio file

Funding: Tyndall Centre

Duration: 2006 to 2010

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