Epicentre of major Amazon droughts and fires saw 2.5 billion trees and vines killed
A major drought and forest fires in the Amazon rainforest killed billions of trees and plants and turned one of the world's largest carbon sinks into one of its biggest polluters. Examining the Amazonian epicentre of the El Nio - Brazil's Lower Tapajs, an eastern Amazonia area around twice the size of Belgium - the research team, led by scientists from Lancaster University, the Environmental Change Insitute, University of Oxford, and The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation found the damage lasts for multiple years.
BBVA and the University of Oxford join forces to develop CIB Sustainability Leadership Programme
BBVA Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) has joined forces with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment to launch CIB Sustainability Leadership Programme. This programme aims to provide key originators, bankers and product specialists across all CIB's geographies the necessary tools to understand the fundamental drivers of sustainability transition for key industries.
First systematic review of spatial finance highlights potential of satellite data and A.I. for greening finance
On July 15, the Spatial Finance Initiative, part of the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI), will launch a new report into the current use, and future potential of, these rapidly advancing technologies within finance.
Future generations will face crippling costs without action now on carbon debt
The historic UN Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to well below 2C in the long run, but the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is still rising. If this trend continues, within just 10 years the world will exceed the total CO2 emissions that are consistent with limiting global warming to no more than 1.5C. If the Paris climate goals are to be achieved, every tonne of CO2 emitted in excess of this 'carbon budget' will have to be removed at a later date, creating a rapidly increasing 'carbon debt.' Future generations can be spared the economic consequences of this carbon debt if policy action is taken now, according to plans set out by University of Oxford scientists and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
Western North American extreme heat virtually impossible without human-caused climate change
During the last days of June 2021, Pacific northwest areas of the U.S. and Canada experienced temperatures never previously observed, with records broken in many places by several degrees Celsius, finds a new World Weather Attribution study.
Lombard Odier and Oxford in landmark research collaboration on sustainable finance and investment
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Hubert Keller, Co-Senior Partner of the banking group Lombard Odier have officially signed a multi-year partnership to foster sustainable finance and investment research, with a particular focus on climate change, circular economy and nature.
UK reveals plan for economy-wide climate impact reporting regime
Article in IPE, includes expert comment by Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Launch of new film on the daily challenges facing India's auto-rickshaw drivers
A new public awareness film aimed at customers in Bangalore to draw attention to the challenges and precarity of auto rickshaw drivers has been launched. 'For Mahesh' traces the day-to-day lived experiences of auto-rickshaw drivers who form a key component of Indian mobility systems. The film was written and produced by Dr Lucy Baker.
Meet Pete Archer, IT Systems and Support Officer
Pete is our Systems and Support Officer. He provides technical support and assistance as part of the School's IT team.
Lauren Neville is the University's Sustainability Photographer of the Year
Congratulations to Lauren Neville, DPhil Candidate in Geography and the Environment, whose winning picture, 'A Sweet Future' has won the University's Sustainability Photographer of the Year 2021 competition.
Poor use of science jeopardises climate lawsuits, finds Oxford research
Newly-available scientific evidence, which could prove critical to the success of climate-related lawsuits, is often not produced in court, according to a new study published by the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme and Environmental Change Institute.
New ECI report provides a roadmap towards Oxfordshire's zero-carbon future
A new ECI report has challenged Oxfordshire's key decision makers to embrace a number of new recommendations, aimed at supporting the county's drive towards a zero-carbon future.
Contracts-for-difference can aid shipping industry decarbonisation - research
Incentivising private investment is key to the scaling and adoption of clean fuels and technology by the shipping industry, and the implementation of contracts-for-difference (CfDs) by the public sector is a tried and tested means of achieving this, according to a report from the Smith School.
Vance Tan wins Oxford SU Impact Award
Vance Tan Zong Hao, a Bruneian doctoral student at the School of Geography and the Environment, was awarded the prestigious Impact Award from Oxford University Student Union (Oxford SU) on 20th June.
Splendid Isolation or Fish out of Water?
With Brexit, British fishing grew from a tool of the political class to a determinant of constitutional and political affairs, suggests a new interdisciplinary paper by Aadil Siddiqi, current MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management student.
China and the UK: Making an international collaboration work
Working with colleagues on the other side of the world can mean a lot of challenges. There are differences in language, in time zone, in culture, even in the practise of doing science. But scientific collaborations, such as the one between Hong Zhang, Jenny Richards and Heather Viles at SoGE and Qinglin Guo's team at Dunhuang Academy in China, can also provide a wealth of benefits. In a new documentary by Nature, the two teams reflect on making this ambitious project work and how other teams could do the same.
U.S. ETFs increase fossil-fuel bond buying in 2020
Fossil-fuel financing by U.S. fixed-income ETFs increased by 72% in 2020 after funds bought large quantities of new bonds issued amid the COVID-19 crisis. Article in Pensions and Investments features new Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme report and comment from Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Investors should prepare for impact of green stress tests on banks
Central bankers look at powerful tool to nudge financial system to address climate risks. Article in the Financial Times mentions a recently published study by the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Climate change increased the likelihood of damaging frosts in France
Between 6 and 8 April 2021 an intense late frost episode damaged agricultural lands in France. Vineyards in particular were severely affected, with early assessments estimating losses of almost 2 billion euros. The cold wave hit France after the country experienced record high temperatures in March. A group of researchers including ECI's Dr Friederike Otto has quantified the role that human-caused climate change played in the event.
Dr Pam Berry warns UK is unprepared for climate change
Action to improve the UK's climate resilience is inadequate and fails to keep pace with global warming and associated risks, says an independent report from the Climate Change Committee co-authored by ECI researcher Dr Pam Berry.
Dr Friederike Otto receives B.A.U.M. environmental and sustainability award
The award has recognised scientists who conduct exceptional research in the field of climate, environment or sustainability since 1993.
Exchange Traded Funds are directly financing fossil fuel companies at large scale
Financial institutions with over $70 trillion in assets have pledged to achieve net zero portfolios and loanbooks by 2050, including meeting ambitious interim 2030 targets. However, new research by the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme reveals that passive funds not only hold fossil fuel assets, but directly finance them by buying large quantities of new bonds issued by fossil fuel companies.
Green Finance Goes Mainstream, Lining Up Trillions Behind Global Energy Transition
After years of intermittent excitement and fizzled expectations, environmental-oriented investing is no longer just a niche interest. Article in the Wall Street Journal, quotes a recent study by the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Miners' troubles show need for climate 'bad banks'
The transition to net zero may need new models to quarantine 'stranded' toxic assets and run them down. Article in the Financial Times includes expert comment by Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Obsessing over electric cars is impeding the race to net zero: More active travel is essential
Dr Christian Brand, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the Environmental Change Institute and Transport Studies Unit, offers his expert opinion on electric vehicles and net zero in an article for the University.
G7: last chance to board the green pandemic recovery ship before it sails, say Oxford experts
Climate pledges at this week's G7 meeting of the world's major economies in Cornwall represent positive action, according to top environmental researchers at the University of Oxford. But, in response to the summit agenda, the climate experts call for strong leadership from the leading economies and insist the world needs to stop using fossil fuels now - if global warming is to be tackled effectively.
Enhancing urban life and heritage: Nature-based solutions in the city
'Nature' is currently widely considered a threat to built heritage. But a new paper from Oxford, by renowned heritage expert Professor Heather Viles and colleague Dr Martin Coombes, maintains that both the real and perceived risks can be overcome and nature-based solutions (NbS) adapted to bring the benefits of nature into urban heritage environments.
New independent group to help tackle 'greenwashing'
Dr Ben Caldecott will contribute to a new independent group set up by HM Treasury to help tackle greenwashing in financial services. The expert group will support investors, consumers and businesses to make green financial decisions.
Evolutionary winners are ecological losers among oceanic island plants
Evolution of multiple species from a single colonizer is something that has happened repeatedly on oceanic islands. Such radiations, can lead to tens or even hundreds of distinct species, often occupying a range of very different habitats with the expectation that these 'evolutionary winners' will be species so well-tuned to their island environments that they should also be locally successful and abundant. In a new study in Journal of Biogeography, an international team including Prof Rob Whittaker, has shown that it may not be so simple.
Dr Edward Oughton runner up in prestigious Lloyd's 2021 Science of Risk awards (Cyber category)
Dr Edward Oughton was awarded Runner Up in Lloyd's 2021 Science of Risk awards (Cyber category). The prize was for Dr Oughton's research quantifying the vulnerability of electricity networks from cyberattacks. The prestigious Lloyd's Science of Risk prizes are awarded to esteemed academics and PhD students who, through their published scientific work, further the understanding of risk and insurance.
How I have learned to get the most out of academic conferences
Trisha Gopalakrishna, DPhil Candidate in the Ecosystems Lab Group, provides her top tips to getting the most out of the academic conference experience.
Meet Lucy Jarman, Undergraduate Coordinator and Admissions Officer
Lucy is our Undergraduate Coordinator and Admissions Officer. She coordinates the School's BA Geography undergraduate degree programme and is also one of our Harassment Officers.
Pastoralist-to-Pastoralist discussion on Covid-19
Pastoralists from Asia and Africa led a unique international discussion on April 19, 2021. This inspiring event brought together pastoralists from Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Mongolia and Tanzania to talk about their lives, herding and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 'Covid-19 and Pastoralists - International Virtual Forum' was the first effort to foster pastoral debate and engagement across continents, and was organised by Drs Troy Sternberg and Ariell Ahearn.
Professor Myles Allen discusses Net Zero on BBC2
Myles Allen told BBC 2 listeners that it is irresponsible not to take the 'net' in 'net zero' seriously, because we need to stop climate change before the world stops using fossil fuels. He commented: 'Offsetting emissions with forestry or other nature based solutions can help, but we can 't keep turning rocks into trees forever. So anyone using fossil fuels today has a duty to make sure that some of the money being spent on them is invested in safe and permanent alternatives to dumping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.' Skip to 12:35 to hear the interview.
Weekly data: Lenders increasingly wary of backing new coal projects
Data reveals the cost of financing coal projects globally is rocketing, while it is getting cheaper to finance renewables. The price of oil and gas projects, however, remains stable. Features comment from Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
How debt-for-climate swaps can help fund the energy transition
A debt-for-climate swap plan is expected from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank ahead of COP26. If fit for purpose, it could be highly effective in addressing spiralling low and middle-income country debt and the climate crisis. Features comment from Nicola Ranger, head of climate and environmental risk research at the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Big banks' big footprint: UK financial institutions responsible for double UK's annual carbon emissions, report warns
A report from WWF and Greenpeace found that UK banks and investors are responsible for almost double the UK's net annual carbon emissions. Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, told Business Green: 'UK institutions providing financial products and services globally can make a massive contribution to solving the problem and there is no time to lose.'
Big banks' big footprint: UK financial institutions responsible for double UK's annual carbon emissions, report warns
Green campaigners warn City of London would be ninth biggest emitter of CO2 in world if it was a country in fresh analysis of financial sector's environmental impact. Features comment from Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Trials to suck carbon dioxide from the air to start across the UK
Professor Cameron Hepburn talked to The Guardian about the launch of the CO2 Removal Hub, which launched on 24 May with 30m of funding. He commented: 'This is seriously exciting and pretty much world leading... Nobody really wants to be in the situation of having to suck so much CO2 from the atmosphere. But that is where we are, we have delayed for too long.'
30 million official backing for Oxford-led greenhouse gas removal programme
Coordinated by an Oxford team including Cameron Hepburn and Stephen Smith, the CO2 Removal Hub launched today with 30million in funding to explore innovative ways of stabilising our climate.
The rise of cashless technology in India: implications and inclusion for transport workers
New policy briefings on the challenges, adaptations and opportunities for auto-rickshaw transport services and digital payment systems and financial inclusion for auto-rickshaw transport operator-drivers in India have been published by the PEAK Urban research programme.
Natural climate change solutions highly effective long term - Oxford research
Nature-based solutions (NbS) can contribute to the fight against climate change up to the end of our century, according to new Oxford research in the leading scientific journal Nature. The analysis suggests that, to limit global temperature rise, we must slash emissions and increase NbS investment to protect, manage and restore ecosystems and land for the future.
Dr Sneha Krishnan awarded a British Academy / Wolfson Fellowship
Dr Sneha Krishnan has been awarded a British Academy / Wolfson Fellowship, which she will hold from January 2022 to December 2024.
Biodiversity and art: Artist-in-residence Loveday Pride working with the Land use and governance team
As part of the ABC Network science-artist collaboration, Loveday Pride has joined forces with the Land use governance team. Loveday is a Fine Art student at the Ruskin School in Oxford, and while she is primarily a painter, her work embraces many media. Her main muse is The Pug, whose round body and squidgy face takes on multitudinous forms, from fairy tale peas to Rococo icons.
Meet Anita Bharucha, Chief Operating Officer, SSEE
Anita is Chief Operating Officer for the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. She helps to ensure that the Smith School runs smoothly and has good governance, and to make sure that the Smith School's fantastic academics and professional staff have what they need to do their jobs.
Dr Louise Slater awarded Gill Memorial Award in 2021 RGS-IBG honours
Dr Louise Slater has been awarded the Gill Memorial Award for outstanding early career research in physical geography in the 2021 Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) honours.
Nature must be a partner, not just a provider of services - Oxford report
Nature based Solutions (NbS) could support transformative change in environmental sustainability - to address major societal challenges, including the climate crisis - according to a new paper from Oxford researchers.
Study reveals extent of human impact on the world's plant-life
Research has shed new light on the impact of humans on Earth's biodiversity. The findings suggest that the rate of change in an ecosystem's plant-life increases significantly during the years following human settlement, with the most dramatic changes occurring in locations colonized in the last 1500 years.
Two MSc students awarded the OUP Prize for International Environmental Law
Two MSc students have been awarded the Oxford University Press (OUP) Prize for International Environmental Law. The prize is awarded to the Environmental Change and Management MSc student who receives the top mark in the International Environmental Law elective.
It's never been this expensive to finance a new coal power plant
Coverage in Quartz of a new study by the Sustainable Finance Programme which finds credit markets are starting to price in the transition to a low carbon economy.
Five ECI faculty in top climate scientists list
Professor Myles Allen, Professor Jim Hall, Professor Yadvinder Malhi, Dr Michael Obersteiner and Dr Friederike Otto are listed in the 2021 "Reuters Hot List" of top climate scientists, which includes seven University of Oxford scientists in total. There are also five ECI alumni on the list: Malte Meinhausen, James Ford James Watson, Lea Berrang-Ford and Paula Harrison. The list tells the stories of the scientists who are having the greatest influence on the climate change debate through data on funding, citations and publications. The rankings themselves are based on a combination of research output, citations, and press coverage. "Of course these indicators are not the only way nor the best to measure the impact of our science and suffer from many biases that are prevalent in scientific publishing but this ranking shows that at ECI we work at the forefront of climate change research and so I am delighted that is being heard," said Dr Otto.
Renewable energy can keep global warming well below 2 degrees
A new Smith School report sets out how the revolution in renewable technology can put the world on track to keep global warming well below 2 degrees.
Predicting infrastructure demand using satellite imagery and machine learning
To improve investment in network infrastructure and reduce the 'digital divide'; a machine learning method that uses publicly available satellite imagery to predict cell phone adoption and spending on mobile services was developed and applied in Malawi and Ethiopia.
'Good news': Study charts contrasting fortunes for coal and renewables financing costs
Landmark analysis from Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme reveals costs of financing coal projects have soared over the past decade, while renewable energy financing costs have moved in the opposite direction. Article in Business Green.
Loan Markets Are Pricing In Climate Transition, Penalizing Coal
Coverage in Bloomberg Green of a new study by the Sustainable Finance Programme which finds credit markets are starting to price in the transition to a low carbon economy.
Coal financing costs surge as investors opt for renewable energy
Coverage of a new study by the Sustainable Finance Programme which finds returns must repay four times the payoff from clean energy investment to justify escalating risk. Guardian article features comment from Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Significant fall in cost of financing renewable energy projects
New research from the Sustainable Finance Programme tracks how the financing costs for energy projects, measured through loan spreads, have changed over the past 20 years and finds that financial institutions are viewing renewables as less risky and coal as more so. Oil and gas financing costs have exhibited significantly less change.
Oxford students win 2021 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge
A team of four students from Oxford University including Annabella Wainer, 2nd year PhD student at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has been named the winner of the 2021 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge.
Tracking the economic impacts of COVID-19 one ship at a time
COVID-19 saw global maritime trade collapse by as much as 10% in the first eight months of 2020 - leading to losses of up to $412 billion, reveals recently published ECI research, which used sophisticated algorithms and tracking data to follow 100,000 vessels.
Who cares if the UK and EU's green taxonomies diverge?
With the UK assessing the template set by the EU in 2019, investors and intermediaries are anxious about the implications of regional differences. The evidence suggests there's no reason to be. Features comment from Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Sky and BBC climate shows feature ECI and SSEE research and expertise
On 7 April, Sky News launched the The Daily Climate Show, a new prime time programme dedicated to covering the global climate crisis. Front and centre of the programme is the Oxford University Global Warming Index, which reveals how the Earth's temperature is steadily rising in fractions of a degree. The Index is based on research by Dr Karsten Haustein, Dr Friederike Otto and Professor Myles Allen and maintained by the ECI at globalwarmingindex.org.
Jamie Lorimer on the Probiotic Planet
Jamie Lorimer, Professor of Environmental Geography, talks to Table Debates about his latest book 'The Probiotic Planet: Using Life to Manage Life' in this new Feed podcast. Listen now.
Amplifying Indigenous and local community voices to Decolonise Conservation
On 5th March, the School of Geography and the Environment became an international hub for decolonizing conservation, by hosting the panel 'The Future of Conservation: COP26 and Beyond'. Born out of #DecoloniseConservation, an engagement campaign from XR Youth Solidarity, the panel was a call to action to begin building solidarity ties between Indigenous and local community leaders and academics, in order to bring a united front to COP26 and seek protections for the rights of over 1.65 billion Indigenous peoples, local communities and Afro-descendants in high biodiversity areas.
Decolonising Research Methodologies
Dr Amber Murrey is pleased to announce the launch of a new online postgraduate course, Decolonising Research Methodologies. The course is a collaborative project between Oxford and UNISA and is open to PhD/DPhil students in the social sciences at Oxford and universities in Africa. The course is free for all enrolled students and there are funds available to subsidise the costs of internet data/devices. Application deadline: 16 April
SoGE researchers embark on new, collaborative partnership with English Heritage
Over the next four months, Dr Martin Michette of the Oxford Resilient Buildings and Landscapes Laboratory (OxRBL) will work closely with English Heritage to co-develop and pilot a framework of collaborative research and knowledge exchange activities to support a shared vision for sustainable conservation, thanks to support from the Social Sciences Engagement Fellowships scheme.
A walk on the wild side: Rewilding Britain's landscapes with large herbivores
Alumna, Filipa Soares, discusses her doctoral research exploring the role of rewilding as an innovative, proactive and experimental approach to nature conservation in Britain. Read in full.
Sky and BBC climate shows feature SSEE and ECI research and expertise
At 18:30 BST today, 7 April, Sky News will launch the 'The Daily Climate Show' a new prime time programme dedicated to covering the global climate crisis. Front and centre of the programme is the Oxford University Global Warming Index, which reveals how the Earth's temperature is steadily rising in fractions of a degree. The Index is based on research by Dr Karsten Haustein, Dr Friederike Otto and Professor Myles Allen, and maintained by the ECI at globalwarmingindex.org.
National COVID debts: climate change imperils countries' ability to repay
As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group convene their spring meetings, researchers from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment find that most governments' astronomical borrowing during the pandemic pays scant attention to the effects that climate change could have on their ability to repay the debt.
Documenting everyday life as a key worker during the COVID-19 pandemic
A new public engagement project led by TSU's Dr Anna Plyushteva aiming to broaden the conversation about the challenges of everyday life in 2020-21 is documenting the daily lives of key workers who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, perform essential work that cannot be done from home. With the difficulties of working from home receiving much more extensive coverage, the project aims to contribute to the appropriate planning for the public transport needs of key workers in future crises.
Managing resources sustainably is key to cutting UK greenhouse gases
A new report from WRAP and CREDS finds that through using resources sustainably, extending the useful life of products and preventing waste, the UK could cut CO2e emissions by 100 million tonnes in ten years.
Meet Miriam Higgins
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Cycling is ten times more important than electric cars for reaching net-zero cities
Christian Brand, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor, explains how active travel can contribute to tackling the climate emergency earlier than electric vehicles while also providing affordable, reliable, clean, healthy and congestion-busting transportation in his newly authored article for The Conversation.
Census 2021 will reveal how a year of lockdowns and furlough has transformed the UK
Danny Dorling discusses the pros and cons of the 2021 census, commenting how it will provide a clearer picture of the inequalities that have come to light since the beginning of the pandemic in his latest piece for The Conversation.
Antony Farag named on Powerful Media's 2021 Future Leaders list
Congratulations to Tony Farag (BA in Geography) for his inclusion in the 2021 Future Leaders list. Future Leaders is an annual publication which profiles 150 of the UK's most outstanding African and African Caribbean students and new graduates. Click here and turn to page 9 to find out more about Tony.
Oxford's ambitious Environmental Sustainability Strategy is approved
Oxford University approves its Environmental Sustainability Strategy aiming for net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035. Includes comment by Prof Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at SoGE and leader of climate research programme Oxford Net Zero.
Net Zero pledges go global, now action needs to follow words - Oxford-ECIU report
Net zero targets now cover two thirds of the global economy, according to a report today from Oxford Net Zero and the ECIU (Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit) - even though it was only a decade ago that Oxford climate scientists first showed the need to reach net zero emissions. However, despite the rapid progress, the study reveals that only 20% of these targets currently meet quality tests. The report was co-authored by Dr Steve Smith at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Finding inspiration in your back garden - and from the past
Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystems Science, authors a new blog explaining how he found solace and refuge in local nature over this year of pandemic and lockdown. Read in full on the University's Science Blog.
To what extent does climate change affect food insecurity? What we found in Lesotho
Large-scale droughts can have cascading impacts on food security. They can reduce yield, increase food prices, trigger changes in consumption and lead to unstable supply. Dr Fredi Otto and Jasper Verschuur explore the situation in Lesotho in The Conversation.
Alternative proteins: how Big Food can accelerate the transition to net zero
A new working paper from the Smith School describes the rapid growth of corporate venturing in the alternative proteins sector, and why this could represent a step-change in the transition of global food systems to net zero.
If Boris Johnson is serious about levelling up, he would plan for a 2026 census now
Professor Danny Dorling shares concern that this month's census would not give an accurate picture of Britain due to lockdown measures, stating that an extra census in 2026 would show whether the government's aim of "levelling up" poorer areas was working. Read in full via The Guardian.
Are we on track for a green recovery? Not Yet. Hundreds attend Oxford-UN eco event.
International spending on COVID-19 economic recovery is falling short of aspirations to build back more sustainably, according to a report today from the Economic Recovery Project, backed by UNEP. However, a green recovery is still achievable and could lead directly to higher economic returns and social co-benefits.
New study incorporates blue carbon science into climate policy solutions
New research led by Dr Lisa Wedding, published this week in Global Environmental Change, investigates the carbon-capturing potential of habitats along the California coast and details pathways incorporating blue carbon habitats into climate change policy.
Virtual pollination trade uncovers our dependence on the biodiversity of developing countries
An interesting new paper explores the concept of Virtual Pollination Flow - the proportion of exported products that result from pollinator action - and how societies around the world depend on each other for food security.
Major floods increased in temperate climates but decreased elsewhere: Oxford study
Severe river floods are escalating in temperate climates and putting at risk populations, livelihoods and property, according to evidence published today in Geophysical Research Letters by an international team led by Dr Louise Slater.
Climate policy in the United States is at an inflection point
A new report demonstrates that for the first time, a majority of Americans live in a jurisdiction with a net zero emissions target. Furthermore, US companies accounting for at least $5.2 trillion in yearly sales have committed to net zero.
Raise capital charges for 'climate risky' assets, experts tell UK ahead of COP26
Influential policy experts have urged UK rulemakers to update banks' capital charges to incorporate environmental risks. Article on Responsible Investor features Dr Ben Caldecott's new report calling for assets with high environmental risk to be subject to higher capital charges.
How Green Is The New U.K. Budget? Climate Experts Deliver Their Verdict
Article in Forbes includes expert reaction from Laurence Wainwright, departmental lecturer and a course director at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and John Rhys, visiting senior research fellow at the Environmental Change Institute.
Building a better future for women by improving water in Kenyan schools
Timed to co-incide with International Women's Day, researchers from REACH together with the USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership have published a new report on the status of school water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in Kitui County, Kenya. The report aims to challenge the inequality in delivering safely-managed water to Kenyan schools, which affects girls, their future prospects and wider society.
SoGE celebrates International Women's Day 2021
In honour of International Women's Day 2021 SoGE celebrates 100 years of Women At Oxford by profiling 18 inspiring women and sharing their insights on what's next for the higher education sector.
Why has the UK's COVID death toll been so high? Inequality may have played a role
Professor Danny Dorling explores why the UK's COVID death toll been so high in an article in The Conversation. Inequality may have played a part in why the UK has reported the worst pandemic outcome of any large country in the world.
Africa looks likely to continue relying on power from fossil fuels for some time
Galina Alova and Dr Philipp Trotter discuss, in The Conversation, their recently published study showing that, within this decade, there is currently limited evidence for a quick transition to renewables in Africa.
COP26: Mark Carney accused of 'greenwashing' ahead of UK climate summit
The government faces questions over Mark Carney's role in this year's climate talks after his claims that the company where he works has "net zero" emissions were dismissed as "greenwash", writes The Times. With comment from Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Mark Carney Walks Back Brookfield Net-Zero Claim After Criticism
By describing Brookfield's $600 billion portfolio as carbon neutral, a key climate-finance leader provoked a backlash by questioning what 'net zero' really means, writes Bloomberg Green. With comment from Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Major International Collaboration to Develop Next Generation Global Flood Model
"EvoFlood: The evolution of global flood hazard and risk" is a new 3.7m project that aims to revolutionise our understanding of flood risk. The project, involving the University of Oxford and led by the University of Hull and the University of Southampton, represents a collaborative endeavour of 9 UK universities, as well as multiple national and international end-user organisations.
'Must it be a man?' An examination of women's contribution to the University of Oxford
Dr Elizabeth Baigent, University Reader in the History of Geography and SCIO Senior Tutor, discusses the forthcoming online centenary conference, how it will explore the rich variety of women who have helped to shaped Oxford into what it is today and how you can attend.
Annual Report 2020 available now
How do you conduct local, national, and international transport studies during a global pandemic? From monitoring mobility changes in the UK to climate-related migration in Africa, discover how our researchers have been navigating the challenges the COVID-19 virus has presented and more in our latest Annual Report.
New Study Evaluates the Advancement of Ecology from a 2D to 3D Science
A new study, published this week in BioScience, considers the future of ecology, where technical advancement toward a multidimensional science will continue to fundamentally shift the way we view, explore, and conceptualize the natural world.
Audrey Constance Wagner, Claudia Comberti Scholar 2020/21, MSc Environmental Change and Management
Audrey Constance Wagner is the 2020/21 Claudia Comberti Scholar studying the MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the Environmental Change Institute.
UK launches new Oxford-led research centre to accelerate the 'greening' of the global financial system
The UK is putting environmental issues at the heart of global finance with 10 million in backing to create a new Oxford-led research centre which will advise lenders, investors and insurers, enabling them to make better decisions to support a greener global economy.
Why avoiding climate change 'maladaptation' is vital
A new study concludes that many adaptation projects can make people more, rather than less, vulnerable to climate change. Lisa Schipper argues that while adaptation is needed more than ever, it requires better planning, targeting the people who are most in need.
Could the Cumbria coal mine start a net-zero-compliant fossil fuel industry?
While the proposed Woodhouse Colliery in Cumbria appears to be inconsistent with the UK government's 2050 net-zero target, Myles Allen and Nathalie Seddon ask if it could be a flagship project for carbon capture and storage.
Capitalism is Struggling with the Language of Climate Change
The technical terminology of science can sometimes be muddled in powerful climate messages from finance and political leaders, writes Bloomberg. With comment from Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Severe flood threat caused by climate change - landmark Oxford study
For the first time, researchers have proved human-caused global warming is directly responsible for creating a 'critical threat' of a devastating outburst flood - putting a city of some 120,000 people in the path of potential floodwaters, according to new research from the University of Oxford and the University of Washington, published on 4 Feb in Nature Geoscience.
How dust storms in the world's largest desert form: revelations from a new satellite data set
Hundreds of millions of tons of dust are blown off the Sahara desert each year. This dust interferes with the climate system and is capable of both cooling and heating the atmosphere depending on its height, size, shape and colour. It also interacts with cloud formation and weather systems like tropical cyclones. Being able to represent the location and quantity of dust in models is really important as these are the tools we use to make weather forecasts and climate projections.
Get on your bike: Active transport makes a significant impact on carbon emissions
Cycling, e-biking or walking can help tackle the climate crisis - even if you swap the car for active transport just one day a week - according to a new study led by researchers from the University of Oxford's Transport Studies Unit.
Getting the message right on nature-based solutions to climate change
Nature-based solutions can play a key role in helping to tackle the climate and nature crises, while delivering other benefits for people, according to a new paper today from the Nature-based Solutions Initiative (NbSI) at the University of Oxford - but it is vital to get the message right about how to deliver successful NbS and avoid potential pitfalls.
Universities consider carbon offsetting in move to net-zero
Reducing emissions must be the priority for UK universities but carbon offsetting can also play an important role in the transition to net-zero, according to a group of academic experts from the COP26 Universities Network.
Meet Janey Messina
Associate Professor in Quantitative Social Science Methods
Edward Sandford Receives Special Commendation In QRA's Undergraduate Dissertation Prize
Congratulations to Ed Sandford whose dissertation, "Insights from an investigation into phases of accumulation and lateral migration of a linear dune, Northeast United Arab Emirates", has received a special commendation in the Quaternary Research Association's annual dissertation prize.
Bank Of England Tells Banks to Brace For Sky-High Carbon Price
The Bank of England told banks and businesses to start assessing the risks they face from climate change immediately, and brace to pay much more for polluting, writes Bloomberg. With comment from Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Storytelling can be a powerful tool for science
ECI scientists Josh Ettinger, Lisa Schipper and Fredi Otto have written a response to a recent Nature commentary arguing against storytelling in science communication. Used appropriately, storytelling humanizes the research process and makes science more accessible to diverse audiences, the authors say. Read the full rebuttal in Nature magazine.
Why projects to adapt to climate change backfire
Many internationally-funded projects aimed at combating the impacts of climate change can make things worse - by reinforcing, redistributing or creating new sources of vulnerability in developing countries, according to a review led by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and the University of Oxford. Dr Lisa Schipper, Environmental Social Scientist at the ECI, is one of the lead authors of the review.
Oxford University and Lombard Odier strategic partnership on sustainable investment
Extensive media coverage of this new partnership includes: Lombard Odier Teams Up With Oxford on Sustainable Finance [Bloomberg] / Lombard Odier ties up with Oxford University on staff training, research sharing and strengthening 'academic rigour' for sustainable finance [Responsible Investor] - Lombard Odier and Oxford University unite for sustainable finance push [Citywire] / University of Oxford and Lombard Odier launch sustainable investment partnership [International Investment.net] / Oxford University announces first professorship in sustainable finance [Business Green]
Oxford University and Lombard Odier launch strategic partnership on Sustainable Investment
The multi-year partnership will create the first endowed professorship of sustainable finance at any major global research university. Dr Ben Caldecott has been appointed the first holder of the post and will become the Lombard Odier Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Sustainable Finance at the University of Oxford, based at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
UK population movement falls 59%, compared to -89% in March - Oxford COVID-19 Monitor
The latest data from Oxford's COVID-19 Impact Monitor shows the January lockdown has, so far, had one third less national impact on movement than the March shutdown. The tool, developed by a team from across the University involving Dr Won Do Lee (Transport Studies Unit), uses mobile phone data to track movement and help tackle the pandemic. Find out more.
BBC Radio 4: Rewilding in Siberia
Can removing trees and reintroducing musk ox and other grazing animals protect the permafrost from thawing and releasing carbon? Marc Macias-Fauria joins Tom Heap, Nikita Zimov and Tamsin Edwards to discuss rewilding in Pleistocene Park as part of BBC Radio Four's series, '39 Ways to Save the Planet'.
Climate Crisis for Beginners
Usborne has published a new book explaining the Climate Crisis with the help of Steve Smith, Executive Director of Oxford Net Zero. Beautifully illustrated and in simple language, the book takes readers from the facts of global warming to how we can stop it, and why it isn't simple to fix. It finishes with a hopeful message about the things we can do now to make a difference, no matter our age. A great introduction for children and adults alike.
Climate change: Africa's green energy transition 'unlikely' this decade
New research uses machine learning to predict that total electricity generation across the African continent will double by 2030, with fossil fuels continuing to dominate the energy mix and posing potential risk to global climate change commitments. The study, published in Nature Energy, was led by Galina Alova with co-authors Philipp Trotter and Alex Money. [Extensive media coverage including BBC, Reuters, Forbes, Bloomberg and more]
Declining Arctic sea ice drives divergent arctic shrub growth
While Arctic tundra greening and browning have received increasing attention over the past decade, one comparatively understudied area is the role of sea ice dynamics and decline as drivers of terrestrial vegetation change and the ecological consequences. A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, reveals two important insights that will have important implications for tundra productivity and vegetation-climate feedback. Read in full.
Natalie Chung named one of the most impactful young sustainability leaders in Asia Pacific
Natalie Sum Yue Chung, MPhil student in Environmental Change and Management, is included in Eco-Business's 2020 inaugural list of emerging youth sustainability changemakers. Natalie is a passionate youth climate advocate committed to environmental education and policy advisory in Asia, and the Director and co-founder of V'air Hong Kong.
BBC News: The Climate Question
Not only has this year been one of the hottest on record, but there has also been a catalogue of record breaking extreme weather events. This BBC World Service interview with Friederike Otto picks apart how climate change is impacting weather systems and the lives of millions of people around the world.
'A quantum leap for climate action': UK pledges to end support for overseas oil and gas projects
The UK will cut off all taxpayer support for new overseas oil, gas, and coal projects ahead of COP26, in move that has been applauded by campaigners, economists, and opposition parties, writes Business Green. With comment from Ben Caldecott.
Bonds Aimed at Heavy Corporate Emitters Set to Roll Out in 2021
The next thing in green investing is a new kind of debt designed to help fund the trillions of dollars needed to wean the world from carbon, writes Bloomberg Green. These 'transition bonds' are being developed for fossil-fuel companies and other heavy corporate emitters. With comment from Ben Caldecott.
How can we create a greener future?
As UK citizens, should we all be doing more to make our money matter? Writing in the Telegraph, Ben Caldecott, Director of Oxford's Sustainable Finance Programme, encourages individuals to invest in companies that can prove their environmental credentials. "Getting our capital to speed up the transition to environmental sustainability is a key lever and one of the most important ones we have."
BBC - Building Back Better
Brian O'Callaghan, researcher at the Smith School and manager of the Oxford Economic Recovery Project, speaks with BBC Radio 4 'In Business' about the potential for a green recovery from Covid-19. Listen now on BBC Sounds.
Right topics, wrong emphasis: the Carney Taskforce on carbon offsetting misses the mark
Eli Mitchell-Larson, DPhil candidate at the Environmental Change Institute, and a co-author of the Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting, argues that the Taskforce for Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets almost entirely misses a key question: can we build a voluntary market with offsets that really deliver for the climate? [Originally published by Business Green on 10 December 2020]
Age of Economics interviews Penny Mealy
What is economics? What roles does it play in society? And does it do a good job addressing issues people care about, such as climate change and the wider environment? These are just some of the topics discussed by Penny Mealy, researcher with the Smith School and INET Oxford, in an interview with Age of Economics. [Video and transcript]
Climate change and emerging markets after Covid-19
Unmitigated climate change could slash world economic output per capita by as much as half by the end of the century - with emerging markets bearing the brunt of the damage, warns new research published by Pictet Asset Management and the Smith School. The report, which draws on new modelling techniques developed by Oxford economists, says major emerging economies including China, India and Brazil are particularly vulnerable to rising global temperatures. Authors include Moritz Schwarz, Sugandha Srivastav, Paulo de Souza and Yangsiyu Lu.
Climate change: Answers to common questions
Investors often fail to appreciate the sheer weight of scientific evidence attesting to humanity's impact on the planet. This report - prepared by Moritz Schwarz and Cameron Hepburn, and sponsored by Pictet Asset Management - gives a brief but firm grounding on the current state of knowledge about climate change, its implications and what sort of solutions might be possible.
Oxford contributes to UK's Sixth Carbon Budget
Today the UK's Committee on Climate Change released its Sixth Carbon Budget: The UK's path to Net Zero. The report includes substantive contributions from Cameron Hepburn, Chair of the CCC's Policy Advisory Group Ben Caldecott, member of the CCC's Finance Advisory Group, and the CREDS UK team, led by Nick Eyre. [Covered extensively by UK media]
Rebound in carbon emissions expected in 2021 after fall caused by Covid
According to the Global Carbon Budget report, global carbon emissions fell by a record 7% in 2020, writes the Guardian. However, scientists warn that this temporary decline is a 'drop in the ocean' compared to necessary long term reductions. With comment from Cameron Hepburn. [Also covered by Forbes]
Electricity Access for All
How can we sustainably electrify parts of the world that don't currently have access to clean and reliable energy? How can we improve Sierra Leone's energy sector, so that its capital, Freetown, no longer has an average of 53 blackouts a day? These are just two questions being tackled by Oxford researchers Susann Stritzke (Smith School) and Hindolo George-Williams. Learn more in this feature from Oxford Sparks.
Aurora Energy Research funds Oxford MSc scholarships
Aurora Energy Research announces 500,000 donation to the Smith School for scholarships on the new Master's degree in Sustainability, Enterprise and the Environment - enabling the brightest minds to study at Oxford and help resolve the challenge of climate change. The course explores the challenges of getting to Net Zero and achieving sustainable development through the lenses of enterprise, finance and economics. The gift will fund 9 scholarships over 6 years, and applications are now open for 2021.
Oxford convenes Race to Net Zero Dialogues
Oxford Net Zero, the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, the Said Business School and partners including the Resilient 40 joined forces to host four events as part of Race to Zero campaign, led by the UN's High-Level Climate Champions. The dialogues enabled youth to set the agenda on three key topics - energy, transport and food - and enter into dialogue with industry leaders including Nestl, Daimler and Shell.
ECI supports Youth-led Mock COP26
Reuters: In place of the delayed COP26 UN climate summit youth representatives from 142 countries met virtually to consider potential climate solutions. ECI's involvement as an official partner was led by DPhil student Bill Finnegan, with special thanks to Bernard Soubry, James Dixon, Saher Hasnain, Fredi Otto, Lisa Schipper and Cecile Girardin who created explainer videos for the delegates. [Videos here: bit.ly/38mqSDA]
Oxford's new chief scientific adviser lays out city's path to zero carbon
The impacts of climate change are already being felt in Oxford, particularly with increased flooding, writes Nick Eyre in the Oxford Mail. He proposes a way forward, highlighting the importance of energy efficiency and clean energy. Carbon dioxide emissions have to be reduced, starting now and eventually to zero. Oxford can be a leader in this space by 'thinking globally, acting locally'.
The next generation of food system leaders: IFSTAL teaching programme launches
The Interdisciplinary Food Systems Teaching and Learning programme (IFSTAL) gives students the skills to bring about change in the food system and tackle serious problems including malnutrition, food insecurity and environmental damage. More than 180 participants from around the world attended the online launch of the IFSTAL programme for 2020/21. Registration for the programme is free for current students.
Legal does not equal sustainable: Reflections on proposed UK law addressing deforestation
The UK government is developing a new law that prohibits imports of 7 commodities originating from illegally deforested land, including beef, leather, cocoa, palm oil, pulp and paper, timber, rubber and soya. While the stated aim of the policy is to promote sustainability, its current focus on legality overlooks how legal systems can themselves be drivers of both environmental and social harm, writes Constance McDermott, leader of ECI's new Ecosystems Governance Group.
Oxford's first Youth Climate Summit discussed city's role in climate change
Young climate activists joined councillors, MPs and scientific advisors - including Myles Allen and Nick Eyre, both professors at the Environmental Change Institute - to debate topics including buildings, renewable energy and climate injustice.
Students push for university climate change divestments
The Financial Times explores the fossil fuel divestment movement, highlighting the University of Oxford's approach which couples divestment with engagement activities to curb the use of dirty energy. Kaya Axelsson, policy engagement fellow with Oxford Net Zero, explains the model, which includes the requirement for all businesses within Oxford's portfolio to have a credible net-zero carbon strategy.
Wytham Woods featured on Countryfile
Yadvinder Malhi joins Judi Dench, HRH The Prince of Wales and some 6M viewers in an episode of BBC's Countryfile. The show launches 'Plant Britain', a two-year challenge to get us all planting to help combat climate change and at the same time, boost wellbeing and wildlife. It features Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire, where viewers discover exactly how trees capture carbon.
COVID slowdown makes action on gas-guzzlers even more important
Phasing out the most polluting vehicles now could save 97million tonnes CO2 by 2050, new research published by the UK Energy Research Centre finds. Co-Directed by Christian Brand the Centre looked at the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy system, and the role that energy policy could play in the UK's economic recovery. Discover their recommendations.
More-than-climate litigation: Global Majority v UK government
MSc/MPhil in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance students were asked to research a topic of their choice, within the broad remit of the Governance, Politics and Policy theme, and to create a video accompanied by a blog which further outlined the topic. Watch the winning video and read the accompanying blog.
Norway hikes cash for rainforests, seeking corporate help to slow losses
Norway is doubling the price it guarantees developing nations to keep their tropical forests standing and combat climate change, writes the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Constance McDermott, leader of the ECI's Ecosystems Governance Group, comments on the challenges faced by the initiative, including the need to ensure indigenous peoples' rights to land. [Image: Ecuador - A Shaman from the Siona Community (c) Angela Meier on Adobe Stock]
Yadvinder Malhi to be next president of the BES
Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystems Science, has been voted President-Elect of the British Ecological Society following an online ballot of more than 1000 members. A British Asian, Yadvinder will become the first non-white president of the Society in its more than hundred-year history. Read more about Yadvinder's work and priorities for the BES moving forward. [Image: Yadvinder Malhi in Wytham Woods (c) Debbie Rowe]
Jemima Richardson-Jones Highly Commended In RGS GHWRG Dissertation Prize 2020
Research by School of Geography and the Environment graduate Jemima Richardson-Jones (Keble College) has been Highly Commended by the Royal Geographical Society's Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group as part of their 2020 Undergraduate Dissertation Prize.
Climate Change Caused the Demise of Central Asia's Forgotten River Civilizations, Not Genghis Khan
A new study involving Dr Julie Durcan challenges the long-held view that the destruction of Central Asia's medieval river civilizations was a direct result of the Mongol invasion in the early 13th century CE.
Working towards anti-racist school geography in Britain
Amber Murrey argues why the British geography school curriculum must include the uncomfortable geographies of British colonialism and inequality in order to foster anti-racist and environmentally just futures.
Far from simple: Orangutan conservation poses ethical dilemmas
Could it ever be better to keep a wild-born, formerly captive orangutan in a cage? Should they be released into the 'wild'? And if so, which wild? Dr Alexandra Palmer considers the ethical questions raised by orangutan conservation in her latest blog post.
Why is COVID-19 more severe in the north of England? The story in four graphs
Prof Danny Dorling and Prof George Davey Smith (Bristol) explore the geographical differences in infections and deaths from COVID-19 in an article in The Conversation.
Brexit And Beyond with Professor Danny Dorling
Danny Dorling talks to 'UK In a Changing Europe' Director Anand Menon about the wealth and inequality gap in this country, how academics should communicate their findings to the wider world and the importance of using experts in a pandemic in this new Brexit and Beyond podcast.
Berlin's rent cap offers a new way of thinking about Britain's housing crisis
Alex Vasudevan explains why the UK must explore alternative policies to tackle its intensifying housing crisis in his newly authored opinion piece for The Guardian.
Net Zero All-Party Parliamentary Group
A team from across the School of Geography and the Environment, including co-authors Byron Fay and Kate Cullen (alumna, MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management) from the Oxford Net Zero initiative, has contributed to the APPG Decarbonisation Report, 'Putting Net Zero at the heart of future UK Policy'. The report is backed by MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum and makes the case for urgent Government action to secure a low carbon future for the UK.
UK ash trees losing fight against deadly fungus
CGTN Europe News speaks with Cecilia Dahlsjo, researcher in ECI's ecosystems group. Deep inside Oxford's Wytham Woods, she oversees experiments to investigate the impact of ash dieback on the woodland ecosystem. [Image credit: Andrew Bailey www.baileymg.com]
Filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, currently under construction, has strained relations between Nile countries. New research, published in Nature Communications by a team including ECI's Kevin Wheeler, finds near-term concerns about the impact of dam on water availability for Egypt and Sudan are unlikely to materialise, but drought preparedness is essential and will require careful coordination. [Also covered by the Telegraph and Washington Post]
Professor Nick Eyre appointed Oxford City Council scientific adviser
Nick Eyre, professor of energy and climate policy at the Environmental Change Institute, has been appointed as Oxford City Council's first scientific adviser. He will support the Council and the city, as it continues to tackle the climate emergency and moves towards net-zero.
30 Under 30: Environmental Leaders
Sam Loni, MSc student in the School of Geography and the Environment, was recently selected by The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) for its fifth class of 30 leaders under the age of 30. Sam combines research and advocacy to support educators in preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century and empowering them to shape sustainable communities. He is studying for an MSc in Environmental Change and Management and an MBA at the Said Business School.
Woman's Hour Power List: Our Planet
Brenda Boardman, energy researcher and ECI Emeritus Fellow, is one of the 30 women featured in the BBC's 2020 Power List. The list celebrates inspiring women whose work is making a significant positive contribution to the environment and the sustainability of our planet. Brenda's research includes bringing energy efficiency labelling to UK appliances.
Times letters: Boris Johnson's green industrial revolution
'There is one important difference between the prime minister's ten-point plan and that released last week by the all-party parliamentary group on net zero,' writes Myles Allen. 'The PM doesn't say who is going to pay for carbon capture in the long term. The solution the APPG proposed is simple: a carbon takeback obligation.' [Also covered by BBC, Guardian and others]
Heatwaves caused record deaths as Britain struggled with coronavirus
Heatwaves caused a record 2,556 excess deaths in Britain this summer as the country was struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new government estimate. Increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves are among the deadliest impacts of climate change, writes Reuters. Extensive media coverage includes comment and research from Friederike Otto on climate change attribution.
Philanthropy Report highlights Food Climate Research Network
The role of philanthropy in helping to accelerate the vital work taking place at Oxford has been recognised in this year's University Philanthropy report. The report features work from Dr Tara Garnett, ECI researcher and leader of the Food Climate Research Network. Since 2005, the network has empowered decision makers to take effective action on food system sustainability. Read pages 16-17 to find out more.
Reducing emails won't save us
Short 'thank you' emails amount to a tiny fraction of climate change caused by the internet, writes iNews. While emails do contribute to carbon emissions, experts have said they are much less detrimental to the environment than other activities such as video streaming. With comment from Stephen Smith, Executive Director of Oxford Net Zero.
Net zero emissions targets are everywhere - we need to sort the genuine from the greenwash
2021 brings reasons for hope - not only the possibility of a Covid-19 vaccine, but the prospect of significant progress in addressing the climate crisis, write Stephen Smith and Tim Kruger in the Conversation. The UK government has just published a ten-point plan for getting to net zero emissions, while the election of Joe Biden heralds a welcome change in the direction of US climate policy. However, they caution, pledges alone won't achieve Net Zero.
Patricia Daley named on influential Black Powerlist 2021
Congratulations to Patricia Daley (Professor of the Human Geography of Africa), who has been recognised in the influential Black Powerlist 2021, published by Powerlist Magazine on 17 November.
2019-20 Philanthropy Report draws attention to graduate work on sustainable water solutions
The role of philanthropy in helping to accelerate the vital work taking place at Oxford has been recognised in this year's University Philanthropy report, including that of Claire Nakabugo (MSc Water Science, Policy and Management graduate) who has been contributing to local, national and international conversations about sustainable water management. Turn to pages 18-19 to learn more.
'Oxford Net Zero' launches to tackle global carbon emissions
The initiative, launched this week, draws on the university's world-leading expertise in climate science and policy, addressing the critical issue of how to reach global 'net zero' - limiting greenhouse gases - in time to halt global warming. The new programme, backed by a 2.2 million pound investment from Oxford's Strategic Research Fund, includes leading researchers from across the university.
11 innovations set to change our lives
The Mirror explores incredible scientific innovations from fighting climate change to helping solve world hunger. First on the list is research from Cameron Hepburn on greenhouse gas removal and the potential to make valuable products from CO2.
Shift to net-zero buildings is not only cheap now, but viable too: India finds solutions
The Times of India covers new research from Radhika Khosla and international partners across North America, Europe and Asia, finding that cheap technology and sufficient skills already exist worldwide to achieve net-zero energy buildings at costs in the range of traditional projects. The article explores net-zero solutions and the implications of the study in Delhi.
Investors Gauge Future Climate Risks With Satellite Imaging
Asset managers are analyzing pictures and data taken from outer space to predict the physical impacts of global warming, writes Bloomberg Green. The article explores pioneering work by Smith School partner Lombard Odier to use geospatial data in risk analysis. It also explores new research from the Spatial Finance Initiative at the Smith School, led by Ben Caldecott.
Eleanor Pendle wins the 2020 RGS-IBG Social and Cultural Geography Research Group Dissertation Prize for research on urban planning strategies
Undergraduate student Eleanor Pendle (Brasenose College) has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Social and Cultural Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize for research she conducted on the superblock in Poblenou, Barcelona.
Centenary Event recording 'A thing inexpedient and immodest': women in the University of Oxford's School of Geography now available online
On 16th October Dr Elizabeth Baigent, Reader in the History of Geography at the University of Oxford, delivered a special event uncovering the hidden stories of the School of Geography and the Environment's first female geographers. The event formed part of the University's centenary, marking 100 years since the first women collected their degrees.
Companies Can No Longer Dodge Climate Risks as U.K. Raises Bar
'Starting in 2025, U.K. companies will have to disclose the extent to which their operations are exposed to the risks posed by global warming. Mandatory disclosures will force businesses to give investors and consumers the information they need to make decisions in rapidly warming world,' writes Bloomberg Green. With commentary from Ben Caldecott, director of Oxford's Sustainable Finance Programme, who highlights the need for good data to push companies to change.
The World Needs to Ramp Up Solutions for Greener Cooling
'A proliferation in traditional air conditioning meant to protect people from intense heat could also exacerbate global warming,' writes Scientific American. This in-depth article explores cutting-edge research from Radhika Khosla and colleagues at Oxford's Future of Cooling Programme as they explore sustainable cooling and reveal its impacts on each of the sustainable development goals.
Cooling: hidden threat for climate change and sustainable goals
Growing international demand for cooling has the potential to drive one of the most substantial increases in greenhouse gas emissions in recent history. A new study, led by Radhika Khosla and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Cooling, and published in Nature Sustainability, sets out a new framework for delivering sustainable cooling. It also examines cooling needs in the context of sustainable development, and finds that this is a global blind spot.
Lena Fuldauer awarded 1st prize in the Allianz Climate Risk Research Award
Congratulations to Lena Fuldauer (ITRC Researcher and current DPhil student) who has won 1st prize in the Allianz Climate Risk Research Awards.
Cracks in UK food system revealed in new mapping report
A new report led by ECI's Food Systems Research group reveals the huge value of the agri-food sector to the UK economy as well as the multiple challenges it faces. The report maps and quantifies the UK food system, aiming to act as a quantified foundation for further analyses of the UK food system.
The story of HEAT continues
The latest developments of the World Health Organisation 'HEAT' tool provide the cover story for a new publication in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Over the past 8 years, the TSU's Christian Brand has helped develop the tool, which quantifies the health and carbon benefits of walking and cycling, and is used by local and national governments across the globe.
Meet Jamie Lorimer
Professor of Environmental Geography
Launch of the SoGE Fieldworkers' Network
SoGE's new Fieldworkers' Network launched to support fieldworkers through practical issues and logistical challenges, at any stage of their career.
Dr Louise Slater awarded Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award by the European Geosciences Union
Dr Louise Slater has been awarded the European Geosciences Union's 2021 Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award in the field of Geomorphology.
October 2020 was the wettest month in Oxford for 145 years
Oxford experienced its wettest month for 145 years in October 2020, according to weather observers from the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University.
Meet Patricia Daley
Professor of the Human Geography of Africa
Advances towards global net zero buildings
An innovative collaboration between construction experts and leading international academics, including Smith School's Radhika Khosla, reveals global innovation in the building sector with the potential to help fight climate change. The new study finds that the technology and skills already exist to achieve net- or nearly-zero energy building in nearly every part of the world - including both developed and developing countries - at costs in the range of those of traditional projects.
New funding to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia by 2024
New funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will support global research and practice to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia, through Oxford University's REACH programme led by SoGE and the Smith School.
Coronavirus: Is the cure worse than the disease? The most divisive question of 2020
Danny Dorling considers experts' current and changing beliefs of how best to manage the pandemic and where the balance of advantages and disadvantages lies in his latest article for The Conversation.
Laura Antona awarded ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to support migrant shelters in Southeast Asia
Laura Antona has been awarded an 18-month postdoctoral fellowship by the ESRC to build on her doctoral research, which focusses on the experiences of migrant domestic workers who are no longer willing or able to work-for or live with their employers in Singapore.
Eliza Norris Awarded Royal Geographical Society's Political Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2020
School of Geography and the Environment undergraduate student Eliza Norris (Keble College) has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Political Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2020 for her work on subterranean hospitals in the Middle East.
People, not carbon emissions, should be at the heart of the west's climate action
In focusing on targets, activists from rich countries risk putting metrics above the lives of vulnerable people, says Aruna Chandrasekhar. Read in full via The Guardian.
A transition to working from home won't slash emissions unless we make car-free lifestyles viable
TSU researcher, Hannah Budnitz discusses whether a seismic shift to home working in-light-of COVID-19 is good news for the environment in her newly-authored article for The Conversation.
Yadvinder Malhi Awarded CBE in Queen's Birthday Honour
Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Sciences at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, announced on 10th October 2020, for services to Ecosystem Science.
TED: Fossil fuel companies know how to stop global warming. Why don't they?
The fossil fuel industry knows how to stop global warming, but they're waiting for someone else to pay, says climate science scholar Myles Allen. Instead of a total ban on carbon-emitting fuels, Allen puts forth a bold plan for oil and gas companies to progressively decarbonize themselves and sequester CO2 deep in the earth, with the aim of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and creating a carbon dioxide disposal industry that works for everyone. This talk was presented at an official TED conference.
Shell slims down to shape up for the energy transition
The FT covers Royal Dutch Shell's net zero emissions strategy and plans. With comment from Ben Caldecott.
BP Bets Future on Green Energy, but Investors Remain Wary
The Wall Street Journal covers BP CEO Bernard Looney's plans to tilt the British energy company away from oil, hoping to profit instead from wind and solar power. With comment from Cameron Hepburn.
Analysis shows Australia still lags behind on a renewable recovery
Analysis conducted by WWF in partnership with Brian O'Callaghan and Cameron Hepburn at the Oxford Smith School shows Australia's stimulus investments in renewable industries lag behind other markets and key trading partners. Based on recent Federal Government announcements, Australia will spend approximately AUD $96 per capita on clean recovery stimulus - almost nine times less than the global leader, EU ($897 per capita).
What the world can learn from clean energy transitions in India, China and Brazil
Clean-energy technology and deployment in emerging economies are critical for a global energy transition. New research led by Radhika Khosla explores how fast-growing countries can not only develop their own sustainable systems, but provide a source of learning and knowledge to influence global trends. The study investigates key examples from the three largest emerging economies: solar power in China, LEDs in India and biofuel in Brazil.
Shaping a brighter world of work
A new report from Zurich Insurance and the Oxford Smith School, co-directed by researcher Sarah McGill, outlines the case for a new social contract to address issues facing working people worldwide due to Covid-19. The report calls on insurers, employers, governments, and communities to work together and ensure that the future of social protection is more flexible.
Wildfires, hurricanes and vanishing sea ice: the climate crisis is here
Scientists warn extreme, weather-related events around the world show the economic and social costs of a warming planet, writes the Financial Times. With comment from Friederike Otto, associate director of the ECI: 'Where we really see the clearest and biggest sign of climate change is in extreme temperatures.'
Amazon study shows big conservation gains possible for imperilled freshwater ecosystems
A new study, published in Science magazine by an international team in the Brazilian Amazon, shows that redesigned conservation projects could deliver big gains for critical freshwater ecosystems - raising hopes for the futures of thousands of species. 'In a time when the Amazon is under increasing pressure from human activities, this paper provides effective solutions for biodiversity preservation,' explains co-author Erika Berenguer.
Oxford has wettest October day since rainfall records began in 1827
Oxford University researchers have recorded the wettest October day since daily rainfall records began at the Radcliffe Meteorological Station in January 1827. 60.0 mm of rainfall was observed in the rain gauge on Saturday 3rd October 2020, which was the sixth wettest day of the 70,000 days in the records, and the rainiest day in Oxford for over 47 years.
Why are coronavirus rates rising in some areas of England and not others?
Danny Dorling co-authors a new article explaining why more coronavirus tests will not see an equal rise of positive cases across the country. Read in full via The Conversation.
Forbes: China Just Promised To Go Carbon Neutral By 2060
But how can China to achieve this goal? Yangsiyu Lu, researcher at the Smith School, suggests the country ought to focus on three key policy areas: coal, technology innovation in electricity generation, and nature-based solutions.
Why Working From Home Makes More Sense Than Ever: Lessons From The Lockdown
Philipp Grnewald, ECI's deputy director of energy research, contributes to this article from Forbes. His research has found that during the UK's COVID-19 lockdown, more people working from home reduced the large peaks in electricity usage seen in the evenings, pre-lockdown. Read on to find out why this change is good news from the energy perspective.
Oxford launches new principles for credible carbon offsetting
Researchers from across the University of Oxford, led by Ben Caldecott and Eli Mitchell-Larson, have launched new carbon offsetting principles to ensure the 'net' in net zero is credible. The guidelines provide a key resource for the design and delivery of rigorous voluntary net zero commitments by government, cities and companies around the world.
Trash talk: 'no time to waste'
Alexis McGivern, Environmental Change and Management MPhil at the ECI, studies trash. More specifically, the environmental justice implications of waste management interventions. In this article for the Oxford Science Blog, Alexis highlights some of her recent research, published in the journal Science, exploring the worrying gap between global commitments and current levels of plastic pollution.
Finntopia: what we can learn from the world's happiest country?
In the quest for the best of all societies, Professor Danny Dorling provides insights on his latest book, exploring what can be learnt from Europe's most equitable country and what's made it the world's happiest country for three years running.
ECR researcher Jess Aguirre Gutirrez awarded NERC-IRF Fellowship to understand tropical forests responses to climate change
Jess Aguirre Gutirrez has been awarded a new five-year Independent Researcher Fellowship from the Natural Environment Research Council to understand tropical forest responses to global change drivers, working with contacts from around the world including Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, and Oxford and Leeds (UK).
Dr Hannah Budnitz wins 2020 Royal Town Planning Institute Early Career Researcher Award
Dr Hannah Budnitz was honoured to win this year's Royal Town Planning Institute Early Career Researcher Award for her research into the non-work activities and trips taken by telecommuters. Read why it is important to land use planners to consider the location and accessibility of non-work destinations.
Warming Temperatures are Driving Arctic Greening
As Arctic summers warm, Earth's northern landscapes are changing. Using satellite images to track global tundra ecosystems over decades, a new collaborative study involving the University of Oxford and global institutions across the world, found the region has become greener, as warmer air and soil temperatures lead to increased plant growth.
Meet Professor Michael Obersteiner, Director of the ECI
From September 2020 Michael Obersteiner will become Director of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Prof Obersteiner will assume 80% of the Directorship, working closely with Dr Friederike Otto, who will now step into the role of Associate Director, with oversight of ECI's communications and strategic research direction. Read on to learn about Michael's new role, research interests and hobbies - including plans to paraglide over the Farmoor reservoir.
Bending the curve of biodiversity loss
A new report, published in Nature, identifies two key areas for action to stop global biodiversity loss and 'bend the curve' towards recovery by 2050 or earlier - without jeopardising the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals. The study calls for bold conservation and restoration efforts, alongside a transformation of the global food system. It forms a core part of WWF's Living Planet Report 2020, and authors include Michael Obersteiner, Director of the ECI.
Nature-based solutions can help fight climate change, biodiversity loss
A new report from Oxford's Nature-based Solutions Initiative and collaborators including the Environmental Change Institute has found that nature-based solutions are key to reducing climate change impacts such flooding, soil erosion and loss of food production. The report is the first systematic review of the evidence for using nature-based interventions from around the world and investigates nearly 400 scientific studies.
Greenhouse gases hit new record despite lockdowns, UN says
A new report shows concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere hit a record high this year, despite an economic slowdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. As CO2 levels increase, so too does global temperature. Friederike Otto comments that society is not yet ready or able to adapt to the weather extremes made more likely and intense by climate change.
ECI contributes to WWF's Living Planet Report 2020
Global wildlife populations have plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years, according to a new report from WWF. The Living Planet update comes alongside a study co-authored by more than 40 NGOs and academic institutions, including ECI's new Director Michael Obersteiner, that lays out ways of arresting and reversing nature loss by 2050.
Coronavirus: why aren't death rates rising with case numbers?
Danny Dorling uses government data from England and Wales to explain why coronavirus death rates remain low despite cases rising for two months in his latest article for The Conversation.
Oxford University and Lombard Odier launch strategic partnership on Sustainable Investment
The multi-year partnership will create the first endowed professorship of sustainable finance at any major global research university. The post will be hosted in the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the School of Geography and the Environment. [Also covered by Bloomberg Green, Business Green, Responsible Investment, IPE and others]
Rai Saad Khan wins prize for his undergraduate dissertation on Performative Statehood
Congratulations to recent graduate Rai Saad Khan (2020, Christ Church) who has been awarded the 2020 undergraduate dissertation prize by the Royal Geographical Society's Development Geographies Research Group for his paper titled, 'Lahore's Performative Statehoods: A study of the form and practices of statehood of the Walled City of Lahore Authority in Pakistan'.
Only one in 10 utility firms prioritise renewable electricity
New research finds electric utility companies are undermining the global transition to net zero emissions. Only 10 percent of companies have prioritised renewable capacity and many of those continue to invest in fossil fuels as well. The study, led by Galina Alova, was published today in Nature Energy and covered by the Guardian, BBC, and others.
Climate change after COVID-19: Harder to defeat politically, easier to tackle economically
A column in VoxEU draws on a new research paper, 'Five Lessons from COVID-19 for Advancing Climate Change Mitigation' from a team including Franziska Funke, Linus Mattauch and Brian O'Callaghan at the ECI and Smith School. It argues that the current pandemic is an opportunity to understand where the real challenges lie for progression on climate action - in garnering political will and public support.
Why you should go animal-free: 18 arguments for eating meat debunked
Damian Carrington at the Guardian investigates the compelling environmental and health evidence for a plant-based diet. Featuring research and comment from across the University of Oxford, including from ECI researchers Joseph Poore and Tara Garnett.
5 economists redefining... everything. Oh yes, and they're women.
Forbes investigates five female economists revolutionising their fields by questioning the meaning of everything from value and debt to growth and GDP. The story features Kate Raworth, Senior Research Associate and lecturer at the ECI, and author of 'Doughnut Economics'. Her work challenges traditional measures of growth and GDP, and focuses on sustainable development within planetary boundaries.
How COVID-19 Has Accelerated Interest In Environmental Issues
BusinessBecause explores how the coronavirus has changed attitudes, outlooks and policy. With comment from Aoife Brophy Haney, on how the crisis has triggered people to re-engage with their local environment in a different way than they did before - and provided a trial run for the business response to the climate crisis.
MSc student Ellen Kujawa announced as one of nine Science Policy Fellows on the National Academies' 2020 Gulf Research Program
Ellen Kujawa, a current student on the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management programme, is one of nine recipients to be awarded a 2020 Science Policy Fellowship on the United States' National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Gulf Research Program, which seeks to benefit Gulf Coast communities and ecosystems.
Pandemic leaves Amazon more vulnerable than ever
Channel News Asia reports on the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, who have seen their lands ravaged by illegal deforestation, industrial farming, mining, oil exploration and unlawful occupation. Now, the coronavirus pandemic and forest fire season amplify these challenges and pose further threats. With comment from Erika Berenguer, ecosystems researcher at the ECI, on deforestation in the Amazon.
The Economist: Siberia's heatwave would not have happened without climate change
This year's Arctic heatwave has had far-reaching consequences, writes the Economist, from shrinking sea ice, to wildfires, to a massive oil spill. Friederike Otto, co-lead of the World Weather Attribution initiative, discusses the game-changing impact of climate change on this extreme weather.
How Climate Science Moved Online
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the April 2020 meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was held online for this first time. Lisa Schipper, social scientist at the ECI and coordinating author of an IPCC report chapter about climate resilient development options, spoke to NPR about the challenges associated with working from home, particularly for female researchers.
Scientists and environmental groups 'alarmed' by huge rise in Amazon wildfires
New data from Brazil's space research agency INPE has revealed that there were 28 percent more fires in the Amazon rainforest this July compared with the same time last year. Commenting on this study for NBC news, ecosystems researcher Erika Berenguer said that since July is just the start of the usual burning season, the rest of the season is likely to very intense. [Extensive coverage elsewhere]
Financial Times: Rise in coastal flooding poses threat to global economy
Jim Hall comments on a new study that finds coastal flooding is set to rise by about 50 per cent over the next 80 years and could threaten assets worth 20 per cent of global GDP. He cautions that the thorny questions of what standard coastal communities will need to be protected in future, and whether that is affordable, are not yet addressed.
Five questions about Ethiopia's controversial Nile dam
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam - Africa's biggest hydropower project - has fuelled tensions with downstream nations for nearly a decade. Ethiopia's neighbours, including Egypt and Sudan, worry the dam will restrict vital water supplies. This article from AP includes comment from Dr Kevin Wheeler, who studies the dam and supports development in the region. [Extensive coverage elsewhere]
Climate intervention prize
Andrew McConnell has been awarded 1000 EUR and will present to the Advisory Board of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition after his idea was chosen as the most promising 'sensitive intervention point' that could tip the balance on climate change. His proposal is for central banks to reduce their valuation of the worth of carbon-intensive assets posted as collateral for credit. The competition was run in partnership with the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment and led by Dr Matthew Ives.
Dry tropical forests may be more at risk than wet rainforests
Dry tropical forests are more vulnerable to the impacts of global warming than had been thought, according to new research from ECI's Ecosystems group, with wildlife and plants at severe risk of harm from human impacts. A new study, published in Nature Communications, found that areas with a drier climate have seen greater loss of biodiversity from global warming, the Guardian reports.
A view on climate change from the treetops of Western Africa
The tropical forest canopy is one of the Earth's underexplored frontiers. To understand how these unique environments respond to climate change a team from the Ecosystems Lab at the University of Oxford and partner institutes in Ghana gathered evidence from the treetops, finding drier forests are at greater risk. This University of Oxford science blog post explores what it's like to do research and fieldwork in this unique part of the world.
New report puts England's Economic Heartland in pole position for transport decarbonisation by 2050
A new study by the University of Oxford and University of Southampton provides an evidence base for the England's Economic Heartland (EEH) Draft Transport Strategy. It maps the EEH road and rail transport network and uses advanced modelling to demonstrate a variety of 'pathways' EEH could take to achieve a net zero carbon transport system by 2050.
That Siberian Heat Wave? Yes, Climate Change Was a Big Factor
2020's record-breaking 38 degree heatwave in Siberia would have been all but impossible without human influence on climate change, reports the New York Times. Dr Friederike Otto and the World Weather Attribution team found that global warming made this year's long hot spell 600 times more likely. [Extensive media coverage included BBC, CNN, Guardian, Economist, FT, Washington Post, Daily Mail, Metro UK, USA Today]
Reducing the carbon footprint of academic travel post COVID-19
Prior to the global pandemic, researchers identified an uncomfortable truth: the very meetings and events meant to support the fight against climate change were themselves causing vast greenhouse gas emissions through international air travel. Building on learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of Oxford researchers have identified new measures, published this week in the journal Nature, that may reduce the carbon footprint of conference travel by up to 90%.
Pioneering food systems teaching programme steps into the virtual sphere
In response to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the Interdisciplinary Food Systems Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL) programme held its first online summer school to resounding success at the end of June 2020. IFSTAL is coordinated by the Food Systems Transformation Group within the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.
New online executive education course
The TSU is delighted to launch a new fully online executive education course starting November 2020. The new course 'Global Challenges in Transport : Urban mobility after COVID-19' builds on the experience and networks that the TSU has established via running its popular Global Challenges in Transport Programme.
What's in a name? Belonging!
Dr Juan Pablo Orjuela has been working with low-income women in Itag, part of the Medellin metropolitan area (Colombia), but COVID-19 has brought new challenges on how to engage with communities in the midst of lockdown measures. Read his blog entry on the PEAKUrban website on how the co-creation of a group name and image has helped in the process.
Dr Raghav Pant Highly Commended in the 2020 Vice-Chancellor Innovation Awards
Congratulations to Dr Raghav Pant (Senior Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute) who has been Highly Commended in the Early Career category of the Vice-Chancellor Innovation Awards 2020 for his work on 'New modelling tools to help governments and decisions makers minimise the risks from infrastructure failures'
EU makes world's biggest 'green recovery' pledge - but will it hit the mark?
After 90 hours of intense negotiations, European Union leaders reached a COVID-19 recovery deal that included devoting nearly 550 billion euros to green projects over the next seven years - the largest single climate pledge ever made. With comment from Brian O'Callaghan, researcher at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. [Reuters]
Al Gore joins GOTO Climate Action Summit
Al Gore, the Former US Vice President, was the keynote speaker at the Oxford MBA Global Opportunities and Threats (GOTO) programme Climate Summit. In 2020 GOTO was co-led by Aoife Brophy Haney, lecturer in Innovation and Enterprise at the Smith School, and focused on the theme of climate action. The keynote lecture recording and transcript are available online.
Treat the System, Not the Symptoms: Covid-19 lessons for the Climate Crisis
The business response to Covid-19 can teach us vital lessons about the climate emergency, say Aoife Brophy Haney (Smith School and Said Business School) and Peter Drobac (Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship) in the Independent. Three features of business responses offer critical insights for ways to accelerate the response to the climate crisis: people, place and partnership.
Better company environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance improves economic growth
New research from the Smith School finds that private sector companies' environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices positively affect macroeconomic performance including GDP. In a working paper, Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme researchers Xiaoyu Zhou, Ben Caldecott, and Elizabeth Harnett perform the first empirical study to examine the effect of firm-level ESG practices on macroeconomic performance across both developed and emerging economies.
We still don't know if warmer weather slows down the spread of COVID-19
In a new analysis, a team of researchers from Oxford's Smith School, Environmental Change Institute, Institute for New Economic Thinking and Martin School highlight key limitations of available data, concluding that it is currently impossible to know whether more people contract COVID-19 in hot or cold weather. [Extensive media coverage including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, and the Independent]
Cold chains can help mitigate the COVID-19 food crisis: key lessons from Uganda
COVID-19 has disrupted food supply chains around the world, doubling the number of people at risk of acute food shortages and insecurity. However, certain supply chain characteristics - including the use of cold storage - can help mitigate this and future crises. Preliminary research from the University of Oxford and Makerere University contrasts the milk and fish supply chains in Uganda and finds key lessons for supply chain resilience worldwide.
Immediate action needed to stem the flow of plastic into the ocean, finds report
A new analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, the University of Leeds, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Common Seas, found that the annual flow of plastic into the ocean could nearly triple by 2040. The release of this report coincides with the publication of 'Evaluating Scenarios Toward Zero Plastic Pollution', in the journal Science and co-authored by Richard Bailey (Professor of Environmental Systems).
Dr Emma Howard awarded the Royal Meteorological Society's prestigious Malcolm Walker prize
Dr Emma Howard, recent doctoral graduate from the African Climate team in SoGE and member of the UMFULA research project, has been awarded the Royal Meteorological Society's prestigious Malcolm Walker prize.
Dr Lorraine Wild wins Divisional Teaching Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement
The School of Geography and the Environment's Academic Administrator, Dr Lorraine Wild, has won a Divisional Teaching Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement.
DPhil student Sabrina Li accepted into the Turing Enrichment Scheme at the Alan Turing Institute
DPhil student Sabrina Li has been accepted into the highly competitive Turing Enrichment Scheme at the Alan Turing Institute.
Accounting for the impacts of our food
As society grapples with the urgency and complexity of transforming the global food system, it is crucial to understand the true costs of the food we eat. A new report, Valuing the Impact of Food, provides a pathway towards costing the true impact of getting food on our plates, include diet-related disease, poverty and use of natural resources. Led by Steven Lord, the report is part of the Food System Impact Valuation Initiative (FoodSIVI).
Why coronavirus death rates won't fall as quickly as they rose
Danny Dorling uses the latest data on coronavirus deaths in England and Wales to look at the speed at which the death rate is falling compared to how quickly it rose in his latest article for The Conversation.
Oxford sees sunniest month in the world's longest continuous sunshine record
Oxford University's Radcliffe Meteorological Station has measured a new record for sunshine hours. Doctoral student Thomas Caton Harrison has collected the final readings for May's sunshine, taking the total for the month of May to 331.7 hours.
Social Sciences Division awards over 210,000 to projects addressing social, economic, cultural, and environmental impacts of COVID-19
The Division's Urgent Response Fund has awarded over 210,000 to 18 projects across the University, including projects led by Prof Cameron Hepburn and Dr Phil Grnewald, to support immediate impact and engagement work relating to the economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions of the global COVID-19 crisis.
FT: Governments should launch new policies to promote a green economic recovery
The FT view calls for a green economic recovery from COVID19, drawing on recent Smith School research from Cameron Hepburn, Brian O'Callaghan and colleagues.
Carbon pricing, offsetting needed to tackle climate change
Two articles in the Economist's May 23 2020 edition include comment from Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme and Associate Professor at the Smith School. New technology can enable better carbon offsetting - for example the use of high-resolution satellite imagery means that it is possible to know exactly when a tree is cut down. The edition also features Smith School research on the green economic recovery from COVID19.
PM's Council for Science and Technology
Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks, has been appointed to the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology. The CST advises 10 Downing Street on science and technology policy issues across government.
Guardian: UK infrastructure 'under threat from climate breakdown'
Energy networks, water utilities, communications, transport and other essential services are all at risk due to flooding, heatwaves and other climate change impacts in the UK. A new report from the National Infrastructure Commission features work from ECI's Raghav Pant, Tom Russell, Conrad Zorn, Edward Oughton and Jim Hall, and urges the government to explore plans for resilient infrastructure. [Report: bit.ly/2ZMUebF]
Rethinking water for SDG 6
The world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation by 2030. Writing in Nature Sustainability, Edoardo Borgomeo, honorary research associate at the ECI, urges a rapid change of the economics, engineering and management frameworks that guided water policy and investments in the past in order to address the water challenges of our time.
SoGE launches new page dedicated to COVID-19 research
The School of Geography and the Environment have launched a new page on their website dedicated to sharing the COVID-19 research going on within the School.
'Dust bowl' heatwaves now more than twice as likely due to climate change
Record-breaking temperatures across the US Great Plains during the Dust Bowl 1930s were caused by long-lasting and intense heatwaves. New research finds that the US is now at least 2.5 times more likely to experience a Dust Bowl-level heatwave than it was in the 1930s. Coverage included the Guardian, Forbes and the Daily Mail.
Electric bikes could help people return to work
The BBC covers a new report from CREDS UK, led by Nick Eyre, exploring how electric bikes can help people get to work safely, and in an environmentally and economically sustainable way, during coronavirus.
Rupert Stuart-Smith awarded RGS-IBG 2020 Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize
School of Geography and the Environment undergraduate student Rupert Stuart-Smith (St Hilda's College) has been awarded the Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
Professor Heather Viles honoured with prestigious award by the Royal Geographical Society
Professor Heather Viles has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's prestigious Founder's Medal for her excellence in establishing the field of biogeomorphology.
Halve the farmland, save nature, feed the world
Scientists have demonstrated that humans could restore roughly half the planet as a natural home for all wildlife, while at the same time feeding a growing population and limiting climate change. The new Nature Sustainability paper is from Michael Obersteiner, incoming director at the ECI.
Oxford's 'JoyMeter' app captures impact of lockdown on energy consumption
A team of researchers at the ECI have released a survey app dedicated to gathering data on UK households' energy usage during the COVID-19 crisis. The project is led by Philip Grunwald, the Deputy Director of Energy research at the ECI.
More than a blame game
Assessing how climate change affects extreme weather can improve climate science itself. This article in The conversation from Fredi Otto, acting director of the ECI, explains rapid attribution science and how it helps us to see, understand and better predict the impacts of global warming.
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surges as criminals exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and destroy record amounts of endangered rainforest
Deforestation of the Amazon has soared in recent months as South America battles the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last month, an area almost four times the size of Paris was destroyed as 156 square miles of rainforest wilderness was razed, reports the Daily Mail, with comment from Erika Berenguer, researcher in the ECI Ecosystems group.
Destination: green airline bailouts
The impacts of COVID-19 on aviation are only just beginning to be felt. In this article for The Conversation, Professor Cameron Hepburn and Brian Callaghan look at how governments could use bailouts to encourage innovation and get something for all of us, and the climate, in return.
Environmental activism goes digital in lockdown... but could it change the movement for good?
April 22 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, and a few days later a global school strike was being organised by Fridays for Future. But after months of careful planning, both events were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic - so they went online instead. In this article for The Conversation, William Finnegan looks at the future of environmental activism.
Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor
Dr Won Do Lee has been involved in a research project entitled Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor. It seeks to develop an online interactive digital dashboard and involves collaboration with Oxford University researchers across several departments.
Hackathon - Bogota, Colombia
As the COVID-19 epidemic reached Colombia and the possibility of a national lockdown was being proposed, Dr Juan Pablo Orjuela took part in a hackathon organised by NUMO, in alliance with Despacio and Datasketch. The main aim was to analyse available data on COVID-19 and Bogota's mobility systems to contribute to solutions aimed at improving transport during the pandemic.
Meteorologists say 2020 on course to be hottest year since records began
Although the global lockdown due to coronavirus has lowered emissions, scientists including Doctor Karsten Haustein say that longer-term changes are needed, but that the pandemic could be a catalyst for more sustainable means of living.
Rethinking the economics of water
Water is rising on the policy agenda as population growth and climate change intensify scarcity, shocks, and access inequalities. A special edition of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy addresses this, drawing on expertise across a wide range of topics and geographies. The issue outlines the challenges, opportunities and lessons of water economics, bringing together a range of insights of direct relevance for the people who are making current water policy decisions.
Build back better: Green COVID-19 recovery packages can boost economic growth and stop climate change
An analysis of possible COVID-19 economic recovery packages shows the potential for strong alignment between the economy and the environment. Research from Oxford's Smith School reveals that climate-friendly policies can deliver a better result for the economy - and the environment. Led by Cameron Hepburn, the team included Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and well-known climate economist Nicholas Stern. Extensive international media coverage included Guardian, FT, Telegraph, Reuters, Bloomberg, O Globo, Times of India, La Repubblica, Sydney Morning Herald.
Three charts that show where the coronavirus death rate is heading
Three graphs of mortality data tell the story of the direction the UK and the world are heading in after the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. Prof Danny Dorling tries to paint a clearer picture of the direction in which we are heading in an article for The Conversation.
How neoliberalism shapes urban nature: new book out!
In her book Les Natures de la Ville Nolibrale (The Natures of the Neoliberal City) (UGA Editions, 2019), SoGE Departmental Lecturer Marion Ernwein examines the ways in which neoliberal urbanism shapes these evolutions, their promises and their potential.
Oxford University bans investment in fossil fuels after student campaigns
The Independent reports that the University has agreed to divest from fossil fuels and commit to a net-zero investment strategy following extensive student-led campaigns and protests.
Food policy innovation in the COVID-19 crisis
Saher Hasnain, postdoctoral researcher and coordinator for the Foresight4Food Initiative, writes the first post in a series of reflection pieces and commentaries on food policy innovation in the COVID-19 crisis.
Insects... the little things that run the world
Insects, those creepy crawlies with six legs that some people love and others hate, are the little things that run the world. In a new blog post, Cecilia Dahlsj looks at why insects are so key for the planet. The post introduces a special issue of Biotropica on the future of tropical invertebrate research.
Mapped: How climate change affects extreme weather around the world
A new map from Carbon Brief collates the numerous studies that look at the potential link between climate change and extreme weather such as floods, heatwaves, droughts and storms. For the first time, the map includes the rapid attribution studies carried out by Friederike Otto and the World Weather Attribution team.
Amsterdam to embrace 'doughnut' model to mend post-coronavirus economy
The 'doughnut' economic model developed by Kate Raworth, researcher and advisory board member at the Environmental Change Institute, has been adopted by Amsterdam as the guiding policy to rebuild and mend the economy post-coronavirus.
Identifying the green growth tigers of the 21st century
China, Italy, USA and the UK among countries that could win big in the global transition to a green economy, finds new research from the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment and the Oxford Martin School.
Three graphs that show a global slowdown in COVID-19 deaths
There have been numerous graphs and charts mapping the rise of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. In his latest article for The Conversation, Professor Danny Dorling uses smoothed data visualisations to explore the deceleration in coronavirus deaths around the world.
ECI partners with the United Nations on sustainable infrastructure
Billions of dollars are being invested in infrastructure, and more is now being planned to help recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Launching a new joint initiative led by Jim Hall, UN leaders highlight how important it is that this infrastructure contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Resilience post Covid-19
After the coronavirus we need to review how to increase capacity and adaptability across the economy. Ben Caldecott, Director of Oxford's Sustainable Finance Programme, reflects on how short-run cost optimisation has resulted in systems that are not sufficiently resilient to shocks. This article first appeared on BusinessGreen.com on 26 March 2020.
The world will recover from coronavirus - but unless we learn from the pandemic, it won't recover from climate change
ECI researchers Kaya Axelsson and Eli Mitchell-Larson provide a perspective on climate change and Covid-19 in the Independent. "Mitigating the effects of the coronavirus pandemic should unequivocally be our top priority right now. But as we emerge from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to begin preparing in earnest for a larger threat: climate change."
Homeschooling during coronavirus: five ways to teach children about climate change
As schools have closed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many families are finding themselves thrust into homeschooling. William Finnegan, PhD candidate in the Environmental Change Institute's Energy program, offers lessons from the emerging field of climate change education on how to teach learners of all ages.
Coronavirus may slow long-term climate action
There has been a short-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as a consequence of measures aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19. However, after recovery from the current crisis we will still be facing the same policy challenges for meeting our climate targets, and there is real danger that climate action might be delayed, explains Dr Linus Mattauch to Argus media.
Finalist for the Guardian University Awards 2020
The University of Oxford's #TruePlanet campaign, which featured researchers from across the School of Geography and the Environment, has been selected as a finalist in the Guardian's annual awards. The campaign, which highlighted Oxford's global research on climate, energy, food, water, waste and biodiversity, is shortlisted in the category of marketing and communications.
Covid-19 bailouts, then what?
Dr Ben Caldecott argues the clamour for green strings to be attached to bailout packages could be misguided - could government take a long term stake in struggling companies instead and demand bolder climate strategies as a shareholder? This article first appeared on BusinessGreen.com on 31st March 2020.
India's astonishing transition to low-carbon LEDs
To achieve net zero emissions and stabilise global climate, countries need to adopt imported low-carbon technologies at scale or develop and transfer new technologies themselves. In India, new research on the unprecedented shift to LEDs - which use 75% less energy - shows how this can be done for lighting.
How energy-efficient LED bulbs lit up India in just five years
Dr Radhika Khosla and colleagues explore the unprecedented expansion of India's light emitting diode (LED) bulb market in a guest post for Carbon Brief. Three lessons emerge for future low-carbon technology innovation and market expansion in India and other developing countries.
Professor Danny Dorling discusses the fallout from coronavirus on BBC Radio 4
On BBC Radio 4's 'Start the Week' Professor Danny Dorling talks to Amol Rajan and Nick Timothy about the coronavirus pandemic, and what the fallout will be.
Coronavirus: how the current number of people dying in the UK compares to the past decade
Professor Danny Dorling looks at the spread of coronavirus, and how it has affected the mortality rate in the UK so far this year compared to the last decade.
New paper released on World Water Day looks at the impact of human modification on the water cycle
A new paper examines the role of the water cycle in tackling climate change and the effect that human modifications have on the water cycle. The paper includes contributions by Professor Simon Dadson, Professor of Hydrology at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, and was released to coincide with World Water Day.
Flow State: New Incentives, Strategies and Innovations for Water Scarcity
Water scarcity is spreading around the world and incentives to improve efficiency and sustainability have failed to scale up as hoped. A global initiative from The Nature Conservancy and the University of Oxford (led by Dustin Garrick) aims to coordinate innovations in governance, data and finance and link research with implementation to identify the regions where investments could make the biggest difference.
Guardian Comment: At the Glasgow climate conference, the UK could kickstart a green tech revolution
Cop26 is a chance to see how 'unicorn' technologies can take greenhouse gas emissions to near zero, writes Dr Mike Mason, fellow of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. The UK has an opportunity to build coalitions of the willing to invest in technology clusters with the potential to unlock multiple benefits across whole energy ecosystems.
Five tough questions to ask about reaching net zero climate targets
Anyone setting a net zero target - and the citizens, activists, consumers, and investors holding them to account - should be considering these 5 key challenges, explain physical and social scientists Myles Allen, Thomas Hale, Tim Kruger, Stephen Smith and Kaya Axelsson in the Independent.
China Daily: Build value for the aged
More investment in green infrastructure assets could be an effective way for China to close its pension gap. With comment from Smith School Emeritus Professor Gordon Clark.
Can rationing carbon help fight climate change?
Dr Tina Fawcett, senior researcher in ECI's Energy Group, comments on personal carbon allowances including potential issues around equitability for poorer households in this article from recently launched 'BBC Future Planet', a new initiative dedicated to the environment.
Brazil's Amazonian Battle
Dr Erika Berenguer discusses the impact of deforestation on the Amazon rainforest and global carbon emissions in episode 3 of "Politics of Climate Change", an investigative documentary from Channel News Asia. [Watch from minute 9:00]
Climate change: What is the future of our food?
Dr Monika Zurek and Dr Jim Woodhill, from the Food Systems Group at ECI, join the University of Oxford Futuremakers podcast to discuss the the future of food: from global warming and the impact of diet on carbon footprint, to lab-grown meat and new technologies that may make our food supply more adaptable and robust. #TruePlanet
OxRBL celebrates British Science Week in new series of blog posts
Each day this week, you can read a new blog post published by the Oxford Resilient Buildings and Landscapes Lab (OxRBL). The articles will look at who OxRBL are, what they do, and the challenges they face in using science to conserve heritage.
Evaluating what works (or doesn't) in energy innovation policy
How does public spending impact clean energy innovation? The evidence on what works best, and why, is still surprisingly limited. Jacquelyn Pless and Cameron Hepburn develop a framework for energy innovation policy and programme evaluation for generating a wider evidence base in a new paper for Nature Energy.
The $900 billion write-off of 'stranded energy assets' needed to make climate targets will be one of the biggest capital shifts ever
To meet the 1.5C global warming target, 84% of remaining fossil fuels would need to remain in the ground. Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Program at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, provides comment in the National Post. [Original story in the Lex column, Financial Times.]
Climate change and flooding on BBC Radio 4
In the wake of storms and flooding across the UK, Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risk, discusses potential policies for UK coastal communities that are under threat due to climate change. [Listen from 20:50]
Cultivating a connected food system in Davos
Dr Monika Zurek from the ECI's Food System Transformation Group was invited to present her work as an 'Idea Giver' at the World Economic Forum 2020 (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Dr Zurek's work explores food and nutrition security outcomes, options for change and potential trade-offs.
Climate change made Australia's fire season 30% more likely
The new rapid attribution study was co-authored by Australian scientists as well as Dr Friederike Otto and World Weather Attribution. They concluded the results were highly conservative, and that weather conditions that make fires more likely will continue to worsen. Extensive coverage included Nature News, BBC, New Scientist.
Spotlight on Research: paving the way for healthier, zero carbon transport
Inactivity is now one of the top four risk factors for premature deaths. In response to this, the Transport Studies Unit's Christian Brand has helped develop the World Health Organisation 'HEAT' tool, which quantifies the health and carbon benefits of walking and cycling, and is used by local and national governments across the globe.
Geography at Oxford retains top spot in new QS World University Rankings
The University of Oxford has been named the world's best university for the study of eight different academic disciplines, including Geography, according to the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject. Oxford earned the highest number of subject firsts in the UK for the second year in a row.
Free public transport in Luxembourg
In an attempt to incentivise people to use cars less often, in favour of greener public transport options, all buses, trams, and trains in Luxembourg were made free of charge at the start of this month. The TSU's Tim Schwanen discusses the initiative, and its political nature, and questions whether it will balance out social and economic inequalities - in an article on the Are We Europe website.
Project RISE and the University of Zambia hold a joint Interdisciplinary Workshop on Renewable Energy Solutions for Zambia
Deployment of renewable energy technology is a promising pathway for sustainable development globally. In this context, an Interdisciplinary Workshop on Renewable Energy Solutions for Rural Zambia was held on 5 November 2019 at the University of Zambia. This workshop was part of the impact activities undertaken under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) supported RISE: Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification project.
How can we ensure our investments don't harm the environment?
There is a massive and sustained interest in aligning finance with sustainability. Individual savers, shareholders, politicians and regulators all have a part to play, writes Ben Caldecott for the Telegraph 'Power of Us' campaign.
When will the Amazon hit a tipping point?
Scientists say climate change, deforestation and fires could cause the world's largest rainforest to dry out and change to savannah. Erika Berenguer comments on the impact of fire on the Amazon ecosystem in this news article from Nature.
MIT Tech Review 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2020
Climate change attribution, a growing area of research that allows scientists to understand climate change's role in extreme weather, has been named one of Tech Review's top breakthroughs of 2020. This research is led by World Weather Attribution, based in the Environmental Change Institute and led by acting director Dr Fredi Otto.
Going vegan with BBC Good Food
This in-depth article explores how a vegan diet can be better for the environment and investigates the impact of 'Veganuary'. Featuring research from Joseph Poore and comment from Helen Beecham of the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN).
A remote sensing algorithm to detect giant kelp forests in the world ocean
Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is the keystone species of one of the richest and most productive marine ecosystems on Earth, but detailed info on its distribution is entirely missing in some marine ecoregions, especially the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. In a recent publication, an international team led by SoGE DPhil student Alejandra Mora-Soto, employed satellite imagery to detect giant kelp, validated it with drone imagery from multiple sites, and created the first global high-resolution map of giant kelp.
Project RISE advises Ugandan government on designing its National Energy Policy
Following the workshop in Zambia last November, Project RISE held its second interactive stakeholder workshop on December 10th, 2019 in Kampala, Uganda. More than 50 senior energy sector stakeholders from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Electricity Regulatory Authority, and Rural Electrification Agency as well as mini-grid businesses, district government representatives, industry and non-governmental organization experts, donors, and academia came together to discuss the way forward for off-grid energy in Uganda.
Satellites Are Helping the Municipal-Bond Market Assess Climate Risk
The potential financial applications for satellite technology led researchers at the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme to coin the term "spatial finance" and to launch an initiative last year with groups like the Green Finance Institute to foster the use of geospatial data in markets.
What Jeff Bezos could do with his $10bn climate change fund
The Earth Fund will need to pick investments carefully to identify technologies where modest changes can have a snowball effect. "10 billion from a single person is hugely generous, but it's tiny compared to the need to redirect $1-2 trillion a year away from fossil fuels," explains Cameron Hepburn in the Telegraph.
World-class energy research to drive a net zero future
As a step towards achieving the UK's net-zero target, funding announced this week will enable engineers, social scientists and natural scientists to conduct vital research on global energy challenges and their implications for the UK. The fourth phase of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) will receive 22 million and Dr Christian Brand will co-lead its 'Energy for Mobility' research theme.
'Natural' flood management would be overwhelmed by Britain's winter super-floods
Work undertaken by Professor Simon Dadson and colleagues on the most comprehensive meta-analysis of natural flood management to date has concluded that while 'natural solutions' are useful for reducing nuisance floods they would be overwhelmed by the types of super-floods seen in the UK this winter.
Spotlight on Research - Rural water risk: sharing responsibility in Kenya
Find out more about the work of Dr Johanna Koehler and her colleagues in the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment's Water Programme, investigating different ways of managing water risks in rural Kenya. The vast majority of the rural population in Kenya rely on pumps and pipes for their water supply. However, when they break, they are often not repaired for a long time, as they fall outside of formal water service provision areas.
BCM Alum's ecosystem management software wins conservation tech prize
Recent graduate Daniel Oberhauser researched and developed his ecosystem management app alongside his MPhil in Biodiversity Conservation and Management. His innovative idea, linking blockchain smart contract payments with cloud-based remote sensing, won a $20,000 ConXTech Prize at the end of 2019.
Prof Myles Allen's scientific life profiled on BBC Radio 4
On 'The Life Scientific' Myles Allen tells Jim Al-Khalili how our ability to predict climate change has evolved from the early days, when scientists had to rely on the combined computing power of hundreds of thousands of personal computers. He sheds light on how the IPCC works and explains why, he believes, fossil fuel industries must be forced to clean up the carbon dioxide that they emit - a plausible solution, he says, to the "deeply solvable problem" of human-induced climate change.
RISE presents findings to the Zambian High Commission
Dr Susann Stritzke has presented the findings of project 'RISE' during a meeting with at the Zambian High Commission to the UK. In an exchange with HE Ltd Paul Mihova, High Commissioner to the UK, the importance of attracting private sector developers and investors through a coherent regulatory framework in the Zambian energy sector as well as the necessity of enhancing the productive use of energy in rural areas have been discussed. Both parties confirmed their ongoing cooperation with regard to RE research for Zambia.
New public information film to address conditions facing Bangalore's auto-rickshaw drivers
TSU researcher Lucy Barker has been awarded a grant from the University of Oxford's Public Engagement with Research (PER) Seed Fund. The grant will support Lucy to make a short public information film on the auto-rickshaws in Bangalore, an idea that came to her during her recent PEAK Urban research.
Climate Assembly UK
Nick Eyre joined the UK's first nationwide citizens' assembly on climate change to provide expert information on heat and energy use in the home. Five other members of the Oxford-led Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDs) also provided advice. Climate Assembly UK brings together over 100 members from all walks of life and of all shades of opinion to discuss how the UK should achieve net zero.
Home Truths Report
UK homes are under threat from climate change, including increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather like heat waves, flooding and storms. A new report from the Climate Coalition and the Priestley International Centre for Climate Change features a chapter from Friederike Otto describing the impact that climate change is already having on UK weather and homes.
Save the giants, save the planet
Habitat loss, hunting, logging and climate change have put many of the world's largest and most charismatic species at risk. But a new study from Yadvinder Malhi and the University of Arizona has found that protecting megafauna such as elephants, rhinos and whales - and large trees like sequoias - has a disproportionate positive impact on the health of the planet and resilience to climate change.
Going freelance
A study from Zurich and the Smith School on agile workforce has found that 38 percent of respondents in Malaysia who are currently in full-time employment are looking to enter the gig economy in the next 12 months. Globally, an average of 20 percent of the workforce plan to go freelance.
Lex in depth: the $900bn cost of 'stranded energy assets'
If the 1.5C climate target were to be met, over 80 per cent of hydrocarbon assets would be worthless. Ben Caldecott comments in the FT Lex column on the Smith School-led concept of stranded assets.
Could your idea tip the climate change balance?
The world isn't moving fast enough to stop global warming. But what if a small change could trigger outsized impacts? Submit your 'runaway solution' to global warming for a chance to win 1000 euros and pitch your winning idea to a team at the University of Oxford.
Do Carbon Offsets Really Work? It Depends on the Details
Purchasing carbon offsets "is clearly better than doing nothing," Cameron Hepburn tells Wired. But key considerations include the need for companies to already be reducing emissions and assurance that offsets aren't replacing other actions.
Five ways to turn CO2 from pollution to a valuable product
There is currently little economic incentive for industries that emit CO2 to capture it, let alone to draw it directly down from the atmosphere. Identifying valuable products and how to make them might kickstart CO2 removal on an industrial scale, and help bring down emissions in the process, explains this post in the Conversation.
Nature launches new food journal
Volume 1 Issue 1 of the new Nature Food journal features two articles from ECI. John Ingram discusses why nutrition security is more than food security, and the wider Interdisciplinary Food Systems Teaching And Learning (IFSTAL) team highlight their unique approach to equip graduate professionals with the skills, tools and capabilities to better understand and manage food-system complexity.
Beyond 1 trillion trees: understanding the values and limits of nature-based solutions
Done wrong, tree-planting could hurt people and the environment. A new paper provides much-needed clarity on the potential and challenges of this and other 'nature-based solutions'. It features as part of a thematic issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society focused on the interaction between ecosystems and climate change - with cover image from Dr Cecile Girardin.
New visions for the future of small-scale farming
Small scale farming is directly connected to the livelihoods of 40% of the world's population. A new report from ECI's Food Systems Transformation Programme explores the future of small-scale farms in our changing global food systems. It finds that current measures such as subsidies and price support schemes are often ineffective, and fail to tackle the deeper and longer-term structural challenges of transforming small-scale agriculture.
Spotlight on Research: mapping the hidden values of Bicester's green spaces
Take a look at the first feature in our new series in which we speak to researchers about their current projects. ECI ecosystems researcher Alison Smith explains her work to create a toolkit to help Bicester's urban planners map 'green infrastructure' and deliver their vision of a garden town and healthy new town.
A brief history of electric cars
The idea that electric vehicles, or 'EVs', are new is thoroughly misguided. In a video for The Times, Tim Schwanen explains the history of the EV, from its birth in the early 1800s through to the climate emergency today, being touted "an important part of the future of urban mobility". However, he explains, to make our transport systems truly sustainable "we will need to move away from owned vehicles towards walking, cycling and public transport".
Rewilding the Arctic could stop permafrost thaw and reduce climate change risks
A new paper from the School of Geography and the Environment, and the Environmental Change Institute, suggests that wide-scale introduction of large herbivores to the Arctic tundra could be an economically viable way of restoring the 'mammoth steppe' grassland ecosystem and mitigating global warming.
Leadership in a Climate Emergency Webinar
People around the world are waking up to the huge climate risks facing our planet. Many leaders are actively adapting their strategy to address the climate emergency with their business, for example by committing to reach net zero.
Finding the Heads: Oxford's mystery statues
Central Oxford is guarded by statues of 17 unknown figures. What is the history behind the mysterious Oxford heads, scattered across the city? Professor Heather Viles and Dr Katrin Wilhelm explore who they are and how they came to be here, in this short video.
Clever vlogs open Oxford to minorities
Second year geography undergraduate Tony Farag is contributing author in The Sunday Times' piece about how student vloggers, or "study tubers", are playing an important role in Oxbridge access campaigns. "I think the value of student-led outreach work is the honesty it comes with as well as the relatability," Tony explains. "Prospective students can really relate to the person on the screen."
The UN climate talks ended in deadlock. Is this really the best the world can manage?
Opinion piece in the Guardian on the disappointing outcome of COP25 from journalist Aruna Chandrasekhar, currently on the MSc in Environmental Change Management. "But dysfunctional as they are, COPs are perhaps the only international legal forum that are partly open to observers to witness geopolitics and global call-out culture first-hand. And it's those witnesses - all of us - who must apply the pressure," writes Aruna.
Best of Today
Kate Raworth, Senior Research Associate at ECI and creator of Doughnut Economics, joined BBC Radio 4 Today for a special programme guest-edited by climate activist Greta Thunberg. The feature also included Greta's first discussion with Sir David Attenborough.
Nature's 10
Ecologist Sandra Daz, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and visiting Professor at ECI Oxford, has been named as one of Nature's ten people who mattered in science in 2019. "We cannot live a fulfilling life, a life as we know it, without nature," Diaz says. "And if economies continue to run in such a destructive way, a new economic model is needed for nature and people."
Half UK universities commit to divesting from fossil fuels
Following years-long student campaigns, some 78 of the UK's 154 public universities have committed to at least partially divest from fossil fuels. This includes a pledge from the University of Oxford to remove direct investment from coal and tar sand projects. However, divestment is not necessarily the only option. Dr Ben Caldecott spoke to the Financial Times about the impact of effective engagement and stewardship.
Letter to the Editor - Carbon Utilisation
Extensive coverage in the Economist of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) prompted a response from Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Smith School. The letter highlights recent research on CO2 utilisation as well as the potential of mandatory carbon sequestration - requiring fossil-fuel companies to capture and safely dispose of a fraction of the carbon dioxide that they extract or import - to speed investment in CCUS technologies.
Global Proxy Watch Top 10
Global Proxy Watch has named Dr Ben Caldecott as one of the 10 individuals who achieved breakthrough impact on corporate governance in 2019. Dr Caldecott was honoured as the founder of the fast-growing Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment. GPW is the newsletter of international corporate governance and stewardship, read by funds with more than US$30 trillion in assets.
SoGE becomes a test lab for carbon-saving technologies in 2020
Facilities Manager Alex Black and his team have been working closely with the University's Estates Sustainability Team to plan an exciting year of new-tech trials and carbon-saving initiatives. From a new cooling system, to smart heating and lab equipment upgrades; it is hoped that these initiatives prove viable enough to roll out across the University Estate, enabling carbon reduction targets to be met.
First human ancestors to leave Africa died out in Java, scientists say
Professor Richard Bailey has worked on a project dating Homo erectus bones found on the Indonesian island of Java. The team's findings, published in Nature, confirm that Homo erectus - one of the most successful human ancestors and the first to walk fully upright - roamed the planet for 1.8m years
Professor Sarah Whatmore named in 2020 New Year's Honours list
Sarah Whatmore, Professor of Environment and Public Policy at the School of Geography and the Environment, has been appointed a DBE for services to the study of environmental policy, for her research into flood management decision making. The Dame Commander (DBE) is the second highest rank in the order.
Why and how we should support citizen-led walking and cycling projects
A new Policy Brief from the DePICT project has concluded that citizen-led walking and cycling projects suffer from a lack of financial and physical security. The briefing makes a number of recommendations to help policy-makers better facilitate grassroots projects that, the authors explain, "offer a number of valuable benefits to their respective cities".
How Africa will be affected by climate change
Professor Richard Washington has explained to the BBC World Service why Africa is more vulnerable to the world's changing weather patterns than any other region. Key parts of the system, such as the Congo Basin, are very understudied: "We know remarkably little about that climate system - it is scarcely even monitored - there are more reporting rain gauges in the UK county of Oxfordshire than the entire Congo Basin," he commented. We share how Richard and other Oxford Geography researchers are working to close the knowledge gap in this area.
Changing risks of simultaneous global breadbasket failure
What does climate change mean for our global food system? New research from Franziska Gaupp, Simon Dadson and Jim Hall finds that climate shocks increase the risk that multiple global breadbaskets fail at the same time. Coverage of this and related University of Oxford research in the Washington Post explains, "Extreme weather patterns are raising the risk of a global food crisis, and climate change will make this worse." The research is published in Nature Climate Change.
Solving climate change... nature or technology?
The University of Oxford's Futuremakers #TruePlanet podcast has had over 100,000 listens and is the top-ranked nature podcast globally. Join Helen Gavin, Jim Hall and Nathalie Seddon as they debate technology-led and nature-based climate change solutions.
Fiona Ferbrache's book chosen as a 2019 Outstanding Academic Title
Dr Fiona Ferbrache's book Transit Oriented Development and Sustainable Cities, which she co-edited with Richard D. Knowles (Emeritus Professor of Transport Geography, University of Salford), has been counted in the top ten percent of titles reviewed by Choice Magazine in 2019.
Icebound - the climate change secrets of 19th Century ships' logbooks
'Old Weather' is a group of citizen-scientists that includes Joan Arthur, Office Coordinator at ECI. They have transcribed millions of observations from long-forgotten logbooks of ships, many from the great era of Arctic exploration. As the polar regions grow ever warmer, the volunteers have amassed a rich repository of climate data in a 21st century rescue mission. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrew Marshall investigates in a special report for Reuters.
Global heating plus inequality is a recipe for chaos - just look at Chile
Dr Maisa Rojas is scientific coordinator for the COP25 climate summit, director of Chile's Centre for Climate and Resilience Research, and a visiting professor at the Environmental Change Institute. In this op-ed for the Guardian she explores the social unrest that forced COP25 to move from Santiago to Madrid and the impacts of climate change on inequality. She reminds us: only if social demands are met will ambitious and rapid climate action be feasible.
ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities with the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership
Applicants wishing to apply for a Fellowship at the School of Geography and the Environment should note that our internal departmental deadline is Monday 17 February 2020, and are encouraged to contact our Senior Research Support Officer, Gillian Willis, as soon as possible.
Oxford researchers launch a 21st century conservation plan
Researchers at the University of Oxford, including SoGE doctoral research student Joseph Poore, and their collaborators have launched a new approach called the "Conservation Hierarchy" to support governments, businesses, individuals, communities and local authorities in their efforts to tackle the loss of nature in a coordinated way.
Noah Hurton wins prize for his undergraduate dissertation on fell running
The Geographies of Leisure and Tourism Research Group awarded their 2019 dissertation prize to Noah for his work exploring the ways in which fell runners experience landscapes, and how technologies are transforming runners' relationship with the environment.
Are SUVs sabotaging the green transport revolution?
A new review from UKERC, co-authored by Christian Brand, reveals how the trend of purchasing bigger cars is threatening the UK's attempts to reduce emissions from the transport sector. Over the past four years, there have been 1.8 million SUV sales in the UK, compared to a total of 47 thousand for battery electric vehicles. This equates to a staggering ratio of 37:1.
The Arctic's changing landscape and its impacts on life
A major new study from a team of international researchers including Dr Marc Macias-Fauria reveals the impact of warming temperatures on Arctic vegetation, animal species, and human communities who rely on the stability of the Arctic food chain to survive.
Key countries need to turn up political momentum at COP25
The UN Climate Summit, also known as COP 25, will take place in Madrid from Dec 2 to 13 2019. Dr Lisa Schipper is attending the summit, and was interviewed live on CNA (Breaking News Asia and Singapore) to share her views on the summit, the need for a just transition, and crucial agenda items including Article 6 (carbon markets) and ongoing negotiations on loss and damage.
Don't hate, mitigate
Dr Friederike Otto, Acting Director of the ECI, talks to Quartz about the need for climate change solutions that marry mitigation (reducing fossil fuel emissions for the long term) and adaptation (actions that protect existing communities and infrastructure now). "One way to reimagine how to tackle climate change is to put people at the heart", she explains. "It's then easier to come up with win-win solutions."
Brazilian government claim that Amazon fires this summer were 'normal' disproved by scientists
New research from Dr Erika Berenguer and colleagues showed that the August fires in the Amazon rainforest were linked to a sharp increase in deforestation."Our paper clearly shows that without tackling deforestation, we will continue to see the largest rainforest in the world being turned to ashes," explained Erika. Extensive coverage included O Globo, the largest newspaper in Brazil, BBC World and Newsweek.
Climate change - who should we sue?
To date, there have been climate change legal cases in at least 28 countries. From Greta Thunberg leading a group of young people in filing a lawsuit against five countries at the UN, to the Hague Court of Appeals upholding a historic ruling against the Dutch government, increasing numbers of people are taking legal action together to demand governments do more. Fredi Otto and Myles Allen joined the University of Oxford's #TruePlanet podcast to discuss what this rise in litigious climate action means for society as we race to meet climate targets.
APPLY NOW Departmental Lecturer and Course Director - MSc Sustainability, Enterprise and the Environment
The Smith School is launching a new MSc in October 2021. The course aims to address two pervasive and unmet challenges of our time: making the transition to a zero-carbon and environmentally sustainable economic model, whilst simultaneously improving the quality of life for the world's least advantaged people. The Course Director will shape the development of this ambitious new course, overseeing the development of academic content and innovative teaching methods.
Response to coverage of Professor Danny Dorling's article on British Geography
Please read our response to recent press coverage of Professor Danny Dorling's article in the journal Emotion, Space and Society in which he calls for more kindness in British Geography
Understanding off-grid data: Project RISE shares findings at AIX: Power and Renewables 2019
Dr Susann Stritzke was invited to present central findings of project RISE (Renewable Energy Innovation and Scale) at the panel session 'Understanding off-grid data' at the Africa Investment Exchange (AIX): Power and Renewables meeting in London this month.
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships
Early career researchers are invited to apply and ensure that they are also familiar with SoGE's internal selection process, which has an earlier deadline of January 2020.
In Memoriam: Moshe Givoni
It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and colleague Professor Moshe Givoni passed away on 21 November. Moshe was Senior Researcher at the Transport Studies Unit from 2007 to 2011. In that period he played a major role in the rebuilding of the TSU under Professor David Banister.
Fast forwarding thinking on a Net Zero Oxfordshire
The TSU's Gordon Stokes and Sam Hampton have consulted Oxford Friends of the Earth on sustainable transport and energy science, for their 'Fast Forward Oxfordshire' report. The publication sets out a vision of sustainable Net Zero Oxfordshire in 2040, and supports this with policy recommendations and examples of sustainable intiatives already happening around the world.
New research identifies sustainable infrastructure choices for Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Arc
The Oxford University-led Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) has developed globally unique methods for simulating future population, housing growth and demand for infrastructure services. They have deployed these methods in new research to inform the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Arc - one of the UK's largest housing and transport projects. The report provides a preliminary analysis of key questions across travel time, carbon footprint, water usage, housing developments, pollution and environmental impact.
Global Challenges in Transport 2020 Diversity Scholarship
The Transport Studies Unit is delighted to invite applications for this scholarship, which provides a unique opportunity for under-represented voices to participate in the Global Challenges in Transport Leadership Programme.
Jack Rogers named as runner-up in British Hydrological Society Undergraduate Dissertation Competition
Jack, who graduated this summer, has won one of the prizes in the 2019 British Hydrological Society competition for his dissertation investigating climate change and the 2002 central European floods.
Juggling work and home: three male colleagues share their experiences
On this International Men's Day, we are sharing the experiences of three of our male colleagues who have combined work and family life. By making these examples more visible, we hope to show that flexible working can benefit all of us in SoGE, no matter what our gender.
Project RISE presents central research findings at a stakeholder workshop in Lusaka, Zambia
Project RISE held it's first interactive stakeholder workshop themed "Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification (RISE) in Zambia: Challenges and Opportunities" on 5 November 2019 in Lusaka. Over 40 participants from the public, private and academic sectors actively engaged in a discussion of the project's research findings and the next steps to be taken to enhance access to clean energy in rural Zambia.
Only 1 in 10 of the world's largest energy companies have made plans to get to net-zero emissions
Just 13 out of the largest 132 coal, electricity, and oil and gas companies have made commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, according to research published today by the Grantham Research Institute (LSE), the Oxford Martin School, and the Transition Pathway Initiative. Authors Rupert Stuart-Smith and Cameron Hepburn are also affiliated with the Smith School and ECI.
World Gold Council Points the Way for Gold Industry Resilience in the Face of Climate-related Risks
A new report offers a more comprehensive overview of the current status of gold's climate impacts and how the sector, and gold mining in particular, might decarbonise, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Extensive coverage worldwide featured comment from Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
Rivers are changing all the time, and it affects their capacity to contain floods
Building robust flood defences and modelling vulnerable areas is crucial if we are to avoid loss of life and livelihoods from these devastating weather events. But new research by Dr Louise Slater and colleagues reveals that the capacity of rivers to keep water flowing within their banks can change quickly - and in failing to acknowledge this, some flood models and defences may be under-equipped to deal with the consequences when they do.
Carbon emissions from loss of intact tropical forest a 'ticking time bomb'
When undisturbed tropical forests are lost the long-term impact on carbon emissions is dramatically higher than earlier estimates suggest, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances. Co-authors include Dr Alexandra Morel and Professor Yadvinder Malhi from the ECI. There is an urgent need to safeguard tropical forests because they play an indispensable role in stabilizing the climate, the authors told Mongabay.
Ten ways to use CO2 and how they compare
Can we turn CO2, the waste gas largely responsible for global warming, into a valuable feedstock? Cameron Hepburn and Ella Adlen explore the scale and cost of different C02 utilisation pathways in this guest post for Carbon Brief. Their research, recently published in Nature, provides the most comprehensive global picture of CO2 utilisation to date and investigates pathways including fuels and chemicals, plastics, building materials, soil management and forestry.
Financial Times: Clear labels and innovation turn white goods green
Innovation in the design and efficiency of fridges, kettles, washing machines and other appliances is one of the positive environmental stories of recent decades, but there is still room to improve. Researchers from the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment and the Environmental Change Institute feature in the Financial Times Special Report on Energy Efficiency.
How can cities encourage uptake of electric vehicles in residential areas with no off-street parking?
Cities around the world are seeking to accelerate the transition to cleaner, greener electric vehicles (EVs), however limited charging infrastructure in dense urban areas is a problem. Oxford City Council have been trialling five different EV charging technologies and asked TSU researchers to monitor the project. Their final report provides a "wealth of insights" with policy recommendations for local authorities and government policy makers working on the EV transition.
Capturing carbon dioxide to make useful products could become big business
CO2 utilisation has the potential to operate at large scale and at low cost, meaning it could form part of a viable new global industry. If done correctly, using CO2 to create valuable products could help offset the cost of reducing emissions or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and help to fight climate change, say a team led by researchers at the University of Oxford.
Smith School's Project RISE Launches a Practitioner Report on Rural Electrification in Uganda and Zambia
The new report presents the results of studying the three main stakeholder groups in the off-grid sector: 1) the private sector, 2) the public sector, and 3) communities in relation to off-grid energy for sustainable development.
Blog: Why we should put our heads together to tackle global challenges in transport (and maybe make a think tank!)
Researcher and Coordinator of Oxford's Leadership Programme 'Global Challenges in Transport' Ersilia Verlinghieri tells us how taking time out of your daily work to learn from leading academics - and meeting transport practitioners from across the globe - can lead to exciting new ideas and ventures.
Pioneering food systems teaching programme reaches fifth year
University of Oxford students from a wide range of disciplines attended the launch of the Interdisciplinary Food Systems Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL) programme as it entered its fifth year. The programme aims to help address the systemic failings in food systems which have resulted in about one billion people being hungry, two billion lacking sufficient nutrients and over two billion overweight or obese - all while also causing significant environmental degradation. With over 1,400 students engaged to date, IFSTAL's alumni network is already having an influence as former students take on roles in the global food system.
nina.draws.scientists x ECI
Instagram illustrator Nina Chhita draws trailblazing scientists (that happen to be women). A new collaboration with the University of Oxford #TruePlanet campaign highlights research from the ECI including: 🌍How to feed the world whilst mitigating climate change 🌍Opportunities for households to become more energy efficient 🌍The impact of climate change on health 🌍How humans are influencing extreme weather. Pictured: Dr Saher Hasnain (Foresight4Food), Dr Tara Garnett (Food Climate Research Network)
Oxford #TruePlanet podcast features researchers from across the School of Geography and the Environment
Climate change may be the issue that comes to define our time - but it's a hugely complex problem. The University of Oxford's Futuremakers podcast is the 'fly on the wall' to the debates between academics and leading experts from around the world on what, and how, climate action should be taken. Join researchers from across the School of Geography as they explore the existential threats from climate change, and how we can help to prevent them.
Oxford Geography's Uncomfortable History
The first in Oxford Geography's new All-School Seminar series, hosted in collaboration with Uncomfortable Oxford, tackled the controversial history of the School's founder, Halford Mackinder. The Lecture Theatre was filled with an audience of 200 students, support staff and academics to hear Professor Gerry Kearns' talk on Mackinder and his influence, which you can listen to online now.
New research programme pursues a sustainable future for capital-intensive industries
The Oxford Smith School has today launched a new programme designed to support the transition of capital-intensive industries such as mining and construction to environmental sustainability. The programme is led by Dr Atif Ansar, Fellow of the Smith School and the Sad Business School. Its founding benefactor is Marex Spectron, a world leading commodity broker.
Facilities and Footprints at a 'Circular Google'
Jeremy Sigmon from the WSPM MSc catches up with his former Washington University peer Lauren Sparandara, who is now working as a sustainability manager for Google's Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) team. He quizzes her on the circular economy and the environment as part of the Skoll Centre Blog.
Jesus College Geography Fellowships fully endowed by alumni
Thanks to the generous donations of Jesus alumni (some of whom were Geographers) the College has fully endowed its two Geography Fellowships in perpetuity, ensuring the subject's rich future at the college for generations to come.
SoGE climate research well represented at the first African Climate Risks Conference
Dr Ellen Dyer, Dr Callum Munday, Dr Rachel James, Dr Richard Jones, Dr Katrina Charles and Professor Richard Washington, all from the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE), presented results from five large NERC and DFID funded current research projects (REACH, UMFULA, IMPALA, FRACTAL and LaunchPad) in 20 papers at the first African Climate Risks Conference in early October.
Agility will define the workforce of the future, new study finds
1 in 5 people plan to go freelance within the next year. Where self-employment has historically been considered a risky choice dictated by necessity, it is increasingly viewed as an opportunity. The job-mobility trend is driven mainly by employees' desire for flexibility, independence and control over schedules and workloads, according to a comprehensive international study undertaken by Zurich Insurance Group and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford. The research offers insights into the empowerment and protection of this new agile workforce.
Inaugural Philomathia Award presented for innovative work on the future of the commons
The grant from the Philomathia Foundation will enable Dr Dustin Garrick to investigate one of the most fundamental puzzles in science - how and why people cooperate - in the urgent context of environmental change and resource conflicts. His work revisits the idea of the commons in a world approaching peak population alongside deepening inequality and growing threats to democratic forms of governance.
An alternative future for the sell-side analyst: eco-warrior
Dr Alex Money explores climate-related risk and the role of research analysts in this op-ed for the Financial Times. Dr Money is the Director of the Innovative Infrastructure Investment Programme at the Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and Environment and a former fund manager.
DPhil/PhD Scholarship at Transport Studies Unit
The Transport Studies Unit (TSU) at the School of Geography and the Environment of the University of Oxford will have one fully funded, three-year Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil/PhD) scholarship available for a citizen from a country in Africa, South and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean or small island states in the Pacific or Indian Ocean. Applications are open to all but this year preference will be given to a candidate who self-identifies as female.
Dr Fiona McConnell awarded a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize
Congratulations to Dr Fiona McConnell who, it was announced today, has been named as one of five recipients of the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Geography. The award supports researchers at an early stage of their careers whose work has had international impact and whose future research career is exceptionally promising.
Global Climate Strike 2019
On 20th September climate and energy scientists from the School of Geography and Environment attended the youth-led climate strike in Oxford, answering questions and sharing the latest research on net zero, mitigation, clean energy, reducing demand, attribution and more. Around 10,000 people attended the strike in Oxford, joining an estimated 4 million people worldwide.
New PhD studentships on next wave of water governance in Africa - Apply by 15 November 2019
The Smith School is recruiting two PhD (DPhil) students to join a global research network on the next wave (NEWAVE) of water governance. The two funded posts are: 'Governing Informal Markets in Eastern Africa' and 'Rural Water Finance in Africa'. The program will develop and implement a cutting-edge research agenda on the key water governance priorities and prepare actionable insights for future directions.
Smith School contributes to new WEF briefing on Plastics and the Environment
About 350 million tonnes of plastics are produced annually, much of which ends up in landfill or the ocean. Plastic pollution, including fossil fuel use for production, is a serious threat - but some plastics are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We have partnered with the World Economic Forum to create a map and briefing outlining challenges and solutions for the future of plastic: from demand reduction, to circular economies, to chemical recycling.
'From the Field' calendar photography prizewinners announced
Every summer Oxford geography undergraduate, graduate and DPhil students are invited to submit their best photos and stories 'from the field'. Congratulations to Lucy Chen (WSPM, 2018) for her prizewinning shot (above), and to Ernielly Leo (BCM, 2018) and Michelle Tran (WSPM, 2018), who were runners up. You can now buy the calendar featuring their and others' work, online and at reception.
Living bridges inspire new approach to circular economies
Dr Aoife Haney joined the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Summit to launch a new circular economy report with Oxford's Sad Business School. The report highlights the need for systems change and public/private sector collaboration to achieve circular economies in support of sustainable development goals.
Storm Imelda twice as likely, ten to fifteen percent stronger, due to climate change
Just as for Hurricane Harvey, the extreme rainfall and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Imelda was made more likely and intense due to global warming concludes a rapid analysis from international science partnership World Weather Attribution. Dr Friederike Otto, acting director of ECI, is one of WWA's lead scientists.
New research finds nearly half the flights we take aren't important
New research evaluating the necessity of air travel indicates that as many as half of flights may be considered to lack importance to the travellers themselves, according to a study co-authored by Dr Debbie Hopkins.
Landmark science report informs United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019
There are large and growing gaps between agreed targets to halt global warming and the actions being taken to implement them, reveals a new report synthesising the latest science from leading climate organisations. Dr Lisa Schipper, Environmental Social Science Research Fellow at ECI, contributed to the United in Science report as a member of the UN Climate Action Summit science advisory group.
Making maths relevant to the climate strikes
One of the key demands of the UK's school climate-strike movement is that more attention is paid to climate change in the curriculum. To help address this, ECI researchers have worked with students to write new GCSE and A-level maths practice questions that help to integrate climate change into the school curriculum. Teachers are invited to use this resource and all feedback is welcome.
Oxford evidence used in Government report recommending more ambitious clean growth policies
In addition to bringing forward the proposed ban on sales of new conventional cars and vans to 2035 at the latest, the report suggests that the ban should explicitly cover hybrid EV as well as internal combustion engine vehicles. The ECI's and TSU's Christian Brand led the detailed analysis, cited as evidence for this recommendation.
English people living in Wales tilted it towards Brexit, research finds
At the British Science Association's annual meeting Professor Danny Dorling presented new research which suggested Wales' 52% leave vote could in part be attributed to the influence of English voters. Border towns and areas with large English communities correlated with a higher proportion of leave votes, he observed.
Mongolian mining boom threatens traditional herding
For six millennia, Mongolian herders adapted to water and pasture scarcity but the rapid rise in mineral extraction means their adaptive strategies are being threatened by resource extraction. Dr Troy Sternberg and recent DPhil graduate Jerome Mayaud explore whether herding can survive mining in Mongolia in The Conversation.
Virtual Open Day: students go the extra mile for prospective applicants who can't!
We hosted our first virtual open day at the School of Geography and the Environment this week, with an Instagram Live broadcast featuring current students and a tutor, answering questions from prospective applicants and giving a tour of the department. The event was aimed at those who are unable to attend today's University-wide Open Days, and particularly to give them the opportunity to ask questions in an informal setting.
The five major challenges facing electric vehicles
Prof. Tim Schwanen responds to the government's efforts to encourage more people into electric vehicles with some notes of caution, and discusses some potential difficulties and barriers to increased usage.
Highlights: The net-zero climate change conference in Oxford
Didn't get a chance to attend the "Achieving Net Zero" conference in Oxford? Read this comprehensive summary from Carbon Brief, or watch the complete livestream on the Environmental Change Institute YouTube channel. Over 160 science and policy researchers, energy experts, members of government, activists and industry representatives attended the conference, with over 400 viewers tuning in online.
ECI to provide expert advice to the UK's first citizens assembly on climate change
In September 2019 Oxford will be the first UK city to hold a citizens assembly on climate change, following a unanimous declaration of a climate emergency by the City Council. Myles Allen and Nick Eyre of the ECI will join the assembly to provide expert advice on climate science and clean energy. Citizens' assemblies on climate and ecological justice are a key demand of the Extinction Rebellion movement.
How green is my university?
Academia has gone green in a big way in recent years, but some doubt whether it will make much difference to the planet. Dr Cameron Hepburn, professor of environmental economics and Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, spoke to Times Higher Education on the leadership role of universities, engaging with big oil and the future of greenhouse gas removal.
Air conditioning for all? Hotter world faces risk of 'cooling poverty'
As extreme heat grows with climate change, finding cheaper and greener cooling is crucial to protect both people and the climate. "By the end of the century, global energy demand for cooling will be more than it is for heating," Dr Radhika Khosla told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Dr Khosla is a senior researcher at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and leads the Oxford Martin programme on the future of cooling.
Largest ever academic conference on sustainable finance takes place at the University of Oxford
The largest ever convening of academic researchers working on sustainable finance took place in Oxford from 3 to 6 September 2019. The Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment hosted the 2nd Annual Conference of the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment (GRASFI).
Why is Earth so biologically diverse? Mountains hold the answer
A pair of companion papers co-authored by Prof Rob Whittaker and published in Science reveal that mountain regions - especially those in the tropics - are hotspots of extraordinary and baffling richness.
Oxford climate change conference ramps up efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions
Community leaders join academics from the University of Oxford and around the world at the Achieving Net Zero conference, 9-11 September, to discuss opportunities, challenges and pathways for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming. The conference is hosted by the Environmental Change Institute and Oxford Martin School and sponsored by the University of Oxford and the Victoria University of Wellington.
RGS-IBG celebrates Professor Linda McDowell's work
A special event 'Celebrating the contributions of Linda McDowell' was jointly organised by the Economic Geography Study Group and the Gender and Feminist Geographies Study Group, as part of the RGS-IBG 2019 Conference on Thursday 29 August.
New leadership programme in environment and the law for the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China
The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and environmental law charity ClientEarth have designed and delivered a leadership development programme for environmental judges selected by the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China. The programme took place 18-23 August in Oxford.
#PrayforAmazonas
"The Amazon rainforest is not the lungs of the world. But there are many reasons it must still be protected." Al Jazeera interviews ECI ecosystems scientist Dr Erika Berenguer, who has worked in the Amazon for the past twelve years. Extensive coverage elsewhere includes BBC News World, BBC Radio 5, BBC Radio 4 and New Scientist.
Ethiopia's future is tied to water
Water is a vital yet threatened resource in a changing climate. Postdoctoral researcher Ellen Dyer writes with REACH Country Programme Manager about the effects of climate change on water resources, people and the economy in Ethiopia for the Conversation.
New collaboration with University of Zambia to deliver clean energy solutions
A new Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Zambia explores solar energy across rural Zambia, where only 5% of the population currently has access to electricity. The partnership is part of the RISE: Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification project. Read more in the Zambia Business Times.
Reflections on the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment sustainability summer school
"Participants came from all over the world and with widely ranging interests, making the cohort highly diverse in terms of both academic and cultural experiences. Hearing different symptoms of the same root problem felt across the world brought each issue's complexity into full view, as different viewpoints represented different needs and ideas." Mariana Lebrija reflects on her summer school experience in this guest blog post.
Amazon rainforest fires: top ten questions answered
Swathes of the Amazon rainforest are burning at a record rate, with many of the fires believed to be started deliberately. Professor Yadvinder Malhi, ecosystems scientist and Director of the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, spoke to the BBC to help answer readers' questions about this complex issue. Extensive coverage elsewhere includes the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, National Geographic, BBC Mundo and Der Politiken.
How governments can transform food systems under climate change
Food systems have a key role to play in mitigating climate change and are at the same time highly vulnerable to its impacts. Dr Monika Zurek has contributed to a new working paper outlining policy options to deliver sustainable, equitable global systems capable of meeting food and nutrition needs while mitigating global warming.
Laure Rurangwa wins ATBC's 2019 Alwyn Gentry Award for Best Poster Presentation
Congratulations to Laure Rurangwa, a current DPhil student, who has won the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation's 2019 Alwyn Gentry Award for Best Poster Presentation at the ATBC's annual meeting.
Risk to the British railway network from flooding and erosion at bridges
Scour (localised erosion by water) can cause substantial damage to bridges, leading to transport disruption and safety risks. A new probabilistic analysis with partners including JBA Trust, Lancaster University and ITRC-Mistral shows the risk of bridge scour equates to an average of 8.2 million passenger journeys being "lost" annually.
Richard Bailey becomes Professor of Environmental Systems
We are delighted to announce that Richard Bailey, member of the School of Geography and the Environment, and Fellow and Tutor at St Catherine's College, has had the title of Professor of Environmental Systems conferred on him by the University, in recognition of his academic distinction.
Tim Schwanen becomes Professor of Transport Studies and Geography
We are delighted to announce that Tim Schwanen, Director of the Transport Studies Unit at the School of Geography and the Environment, and Research Fellow at St Anne's College, has had the title of Professor of Transport Studies and Geography conferred on him by the University, in recognition of his academic distinction.
Estimating global exposure and risk of transport networks to natural disasters
Adding resilience to transport planning could reduce worldwide damages by up to 60% and save billions of dollars, finds new research on the impact of natural hazard events on global road and rail infrastructure. The study, published in Nature Communications, was led by Dr Elco Koks of the ECI and the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC-Mistral).
Ersilia Verlingheri teaches TSU research methodologies in Ecuador
After the final ever 'Governing Transitions in Urban Transport' course in June, executive education coordinator Ersilia Verlingheri travelled to Ecuador, to take TSU teachings to a summer course at the Pontificia Universidad Catlica del Ecuador in July.
Environmental activist murders double in 15 years
Killings of environmental defenders have doubled over the past 15 years to reach levels usually associated with war zones, according to a study lead-authored by Geography and Environment DPhil alumna, Nathalie Butt (Christ Church, 2000). Nathalie is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Queensland and an Honorary Research Associate at the School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford.
Why we need more babies
"The main reason we have continued global population growth today is not because of childbirth, but because we are all now living so much longer." Professor Danny Dorling responds to Prince Harry's comments on limiting how many children he has, citing new data from the Office for National Statistics, which show that birth rates in Britain hit a historic low in 2018, down nearly 10 per cent on 2012.
The future of carbon pricing: Consultation response
A standalone carbon trading scheme for UK domestic emissions would be the worst post-Brexit outcome and a huge missed opportunity, concludes a joint submission to the UK Government on the future of carbon pricing from the Environmental Change Institute (Oxford), the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (Oxford) and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change (LSE).
Pathways to sustainable land-use and food systems
It is possible to achieve sustainable land-use and food systems, concludes a new report from the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use and Energy (FABLE) Consortium. Countries must address three pillars for action: efficient and resilient agriculture systems, conservation and restoration of biodiversity, and food security and healthy diets.
How much warmer is your city?
ECI climate scientists have contributed to a new data visualisation and interactive tool from the BBC. Find out how the temperature in 1,000 major cities has changed and how much it could increase by in the coming years.
European heatwave made up to 100 times more likely due to climate change
Record-breaking July 2019 heatwave would have been extremely unlikely without human-induced climate change in many parts of continental Europe, shows a near real-time analysis from World Weather Attribution and partners including Oxford's Environmental Change Institute.
How an accidental discovery led to a digital archive project on gender and Empire
Dr Sneha Krishnan (Brasenose College, Oxford) and Dr Megan Robb (University of Pennsylvania) have been awarded a Fell Fund Grant to digitally archive the papers of two women whose lives - in the 18th and 20th century respectively - bookend Britain's imperial presence in India and reveal interesting new perspectives on gender and Empire.
Professor Gillian Rose is the new Head of the School of Geography and the Environment
Professor Gillian Rose is the third female Head of School, since the department's establishment by Halford John Mackinder in 1899. Gillian joined the School as Professor of Human Geography in 2017, moving from The Open University. She is a Professorial Fellow at St John's College, and has been elected a Fellow of the British Academy and Academy of Social Sciences.
Global energy overview
Former solar power research programme leader, Jeremy Leggett, has made his Solarcentury 'global context' presentation public. "As the climate crisis escalates, missions like this are coming under increasingly intense pressure to turn aspiration into reality," he explains. "Accordingly, we think it makes sense to reach out with on a wider front, hoping to encourage others to join us."
In Memoriam: Claire Dwyer (Lady Margaret Hall, 1984)
We are sad to learn of the death of our alumna Claire Dwyer, who passed away on 14 July 2019.
Christian Brand awarded UKERC Phase 3 Best Paper
The journal article 'Lifestyle, efficiency and limits: modelling transport energy and emissions using a socio-technical approach' was announced the winner at UKERC's Annual Assembly this month. The research, led by Christian Brand, suggested that radical lifestyle change - switching to walking, cycling and public transport - can show quicker results than the gradual transition to electric vehicles.
The Sharing Economy and Blurring in Public-Private Relationships
Geoff Dudley, David Banister and Tim Schwanen observe some unforeseen consequences of the sharing economy on transport habits and governance, such as the recent decline in bus use in London, the growth of public-private data exchange and a shifting power balance.
A message from climate scientist Myles Allen on #FridaysforFuture
Myles says 'thank you' to strikers, explains why it's not too late to solve climate change and introduces the 'Achieving Net Zero' international conference and public talk happening in Oxford in September 2019. Watch the full video on YouTube.
Bullying and Blocking at the UN
A new report edited by Dr Fiona McConnell details how certain regimes are manipulating the United Nations Human Rights System to block and attack those representing minorities, indigenous communities and other unrepresented peoples. The report is based on a 3-year study by Oxford University, with UNOP and the Tibet Justice Centre.
How are emerging technologies shaping urban transportation in India?
The TSU's Research Associate in Urban Mobility, Lucy Baker, travelled to Bangalore, India, to find out how new digital payments, fare- and route-setting methods are impacting local mobility networks. Here she blogs about her research process and findings so far.
One Planet Sovereign Wealth Funds: Turning ambition into action
Sovereign Wealth Funds are uniquely placed to promote and implement the alignment of finance with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. A new briefing paper provides guidance on integrating climate change into SWF governance and investment.
How the Amazon fights climate change
"Trees take in carbon dioxide, locking huge amounts of carbon in the forest and keeping it out of the atmosphere," Erika Berenguer tells the BBC. To understand this process, she has been monitoring the same patch of rainforest for ten years. But now, deforestation threatens this unique ecosystem.
Peak Urban project channels launched
The four-year international and multidisciplinary research programme on urban futures has launched its new website and YouTube channel, featuring new video interviews with TSU researchers Lucy Baker and Jacob Doherty.
New project set to fast-track development of climate models for Africa
Researchers from the School of Geography and the Environment have been awarded funding from the Department for International Development to host the LaunchPAD (Priority on African Diagnostics) for a Climate Model Evaluation Hub for Africa.
Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme contributes to milestone UK Green Finance Strategy
New report outlines a comprehensive approach to greening financial systems, mobilising finance for clean and resilient growth, and capturing the resulting opportunities for UK firms. It includes expectations that publicly listed companies will disclose how climate change risk impacts their activities.
Banks need to get ahead of climate change, or else
"Real economy cannot meet sustainability goals without help from financial sector, and while climate change is becoming an ever more important strategic concern for banks we still have a long way to go," says Dr Ben Caldecott in an op-ed for the Financial Times.
Electric cars don't reduce congestion but bicycles can, argues first CREDs report
New report from the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions recommends that the UK government shift policy focus from energy supply to demand, to meet net-zero targets and achieve co-benefits for society.
Climate change made European heatwave at least five times likelier
Near real-time analysis from Dr Fredi Otto, Acting Director of the ECI, shows human-induced climate change made record-breaking June 2019 heatwave five to 100 times more likely. Coverage included BBC, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, New Scientist and Scientific American.
School celebrates new book on the rich history of Radcliffe Meteorological Station records
Head of School Professor Heather Viles and Director of the Radcliffe Meteorological Station Professor Richard Washington welcomed co-authors Stephen Burt and Tim Burt to the department to launch the publication of their new book 'Oxford Weather and Climate Since 1767'.
Interdisciplinary collection on Flix Guattari
Following a long-term collaboration between colleagues at the University of Oxford, University of Bristol and the University of New South Wales-Canberra, we are pleased to announce the publication of 'Why Guattari? A Liberation of Cartographies, Ecologies and Politics' (Routledge).
Wellbeing, inequality and everyday mobility in the city
Tim Schwanen gave one of two keynote lectures at the 15th NECTAR conference in Helsinki, focusing on the relationships among wellbeing, inequality and the everyday mobility of people in the city.
Long term study reveals public health benefits from air pollution reductions
Policies to improve air quality in the UK over the past 40 years have led to significant reductions in air pollution and associated mortality rates, a new study led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and involving Dr Clare Heaviside, senior research fellow at the ECI, has found.
What counts as a green or sustainable investment?
Dr Ben Caldecott, Director of the Smith School's Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, is featured in an article on Quartz about the European Commission's new classification system that details what economic activities are green, and therefore what really counts as an environmentally sustainable investment.
Why is life expectancy faltering?
For the first time in 100 years, Britons are dying earlier. The UK now has the worst health trends in western Europe - and doctors and experts believe that the impact of austerity is a major factor. Professor Danny Dorling comments in a Guardian article on the decline in life expectancy in the UK for the first time in 100 years.
A new picture of dengue's growing threat
New research, co-led by the School of Geography and the Environment's Dr Janey Messina and Dr Oliver Brady (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), paints a startling new picture of where dengue, the world's fastest-growing mosquito-borne virus, will spread to put more than 6 billion people at risk toward the end of the century.
Disrupting the UK energy system: impacts and policy implications of getting to net-zero
A new report outlines changes needed across four key areas of the economy to reach future carbon targets. Input from Dr Gavin Killip and Dr Christian Brand give an in-depth analysis of the construction and transport sectors, respectively.
Landmark global survey explores perceptions of the changing world of work
Research from Zurich Insurance Group and the Smith School investigates new technologies, the gig economy and other factors driving change in how people work. It identifies the need for 'agile workforce protection' to offer security and alleviate anxieties about the future.
By defining 'green finance', the EU hopes it can kickstart low-carbon investment
Bumper report from the European Commission sets out criteria to define sustainable finance in a bid to protect investors from 'greenwash'. Dr Ben Caldecott, Director of the Smith School's Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, is featured in an article by BusinessGreen.
How the EU's 'Marmite' taxonomy might help, or hinder, green finance
The EU's green taxonomy is the Marmite of the sustainable finance world: some love it, some hate it. Sophie Robinson-Tillett explores in an article for Responsible Investor whether the EU looks close to accepting the TEG's recommendations, referencing a recent article by Dr Ben Caldecott, Director of the Smith School's Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.
New study shows e-bikes to be a healthy and sustainable transport substitute to cars
A new study from the EU-funded PASTA project has profiled hundreds of e-bike users across 7 European cities and found that e-bikers take longer trips by e-bike and bicycle when compared to typical cyclists. E-bikes might therefore be used for longer commuting trips than non-electric bicycles.
New, diverse sculptures added to iconic stone heads on Broad Street
The 'Tomorrow's Oxford Heads' art installation was commissioned and organised in collaboration between the History of Science Museum and the School of Geography and the Environment, and was supported by the University's Diversity Fund and the Van Houten Fund.
Disrupting transport sooner a "no brainer"
Christian Brand blogs about his research into the UK's 'Road to Zero' strategy. He concludes that the target for all new cars and vans to be 'effectively zero emission' by 2040 may be 'too little too late' to avoid 1.5C warming. A stronger policy signal of a 2030 ban including hybrid electric vehicles would, he suggests, move manufacturers to invest and innovate, bringing deeper reductions in carbon emissions sooner.
Investors debate engagement priorities at the 8th Sustainable Finance Forum
Should investors collectively prioritise engagement issues, and if so what is at the top of the list? This was one of the topics delegates discussed at the 8th Sustainable Finance Forum run by the Oxford University Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment together with The Rothschild Foundation and the KR Foundation.
TSU in the desert
The TSU's Johannes Kester and Toon Meelan presented research findings on electric mobility and vehicle-to-grid respectively, at the 2nd Energy Research and Social Science conference in Phoenix, Arizona at the end of May.
A Visit to Wessex Water: Making our #2 their #1
Sam Rob describes the WSPM excursion to Wessex Water, one of the ten English water utility companies, at their Avonmouth Sewage Treatment Works (near Bristol) to see the nuts and bolts of their system which handles sewage from over one million people.
Investigating Natural Flood Management on the Evenlode
Find out about the WSPM cohort's rather muddy trip to observe Natural Flood Management practices underway in the Evenlode catchment of the beautiful Cotswolds region, in a post written by Tiantao (David) Zhou.
Ebro River's Lessons for WSPM students
Lucy Chen writes about the course field trip to Spain's Ebro River basin, where students focused on how to achieve an equitable and efficient management of scarce water resources among a multitude of stakeholders.
Oxford economists support parliamentary inquiry on 'unacceptable and hypocritical' fossil fuel investment
Economists at the Smith School at Oxford University have contributed to a new Environmental Audit Committee report, which concludes that the UK's financing of fossil fuel projects in developing countries is undermining its climate commitments and should end by 2021.
Futures Thinking for Change: The Foresight4Food Initiative
The ECI Food Systems Group is excited to launch an opportunity to join a collaborative platform focused on informing the food systems foresight agenda. Foresight4Food is a new initiative supporting enhanced foresight and scenario analysis for global food systems. Having successfully obtained seed funding (from the Open Society Foundations) to catalyse the Initiative, we are keen to share our progress and engage with the community.
Rain or shine: Watching the weather for 250 years
Come rain or shine, come howling gale or thick fog - Oxford doctoral student Emma Howard must keep her 09:00 appointment. Two hundred and fifty years of history demand it. Jonathan Amos features the School's Radcliffe Meteorological Station in an article for the BBC.
Digital | Visual | Cultural podcast launched
A new podcast series captures discussions from a Digital | Visual | Cultural event organised by Professor Gillian Rose at St John's College earlier this year, and explores the intersection between digital visualising technologies and the making of urban publics.
Professor Dave Thomas presented with Victoria Medal by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
Professor Dave Thomas is this year's recipient of the RGS-IBG Victoria Medal, which is awarded to recognise outstanding geographical scholarship, for his world leading research into drylands and societies and for his contributions to geography in the UK.
Solar energy on island states
Rhodes Scholar Kiron Neale discusses his doctoral research on solar energy, which has concluded in a book offer by Routledge. His book, on 'Mainstreaming Solar Energy in Small Tropical Islands: Cultural and Policy Implications', is due in 2020.
Westminster debates five-point plan for pension divestment
Professor Cameron Hepburn welcomes former-energy secretary Sir Ed Davey's proposals to penalise pensions funds not properly managing climate risk. "Ed's plan, whether fully adopted or not, represents the strong direction of travel as climate risks start to hit and as the transition to a zero-carbon economy continues," he commented.
Smart Handpumps crowdfunding appeal launched
On 3 June OxReach launched its latest crowdfunding campaign, to raise 50,000 for Smart Handpumps before 1 July. The money will be used to develop technology so that Smart Handpumps can be deployed more widely across rural Kenya, and beyond, so that more people can benefit from sustainable water supplies.
New study illuminates ways that we can increase coral reef resilience
Herbivore management areas (HMAs) have been identified as a key strategy for coral reef recovery and effective management. HMAs take advantage of feeding habits of herbivorous fish, which essentially mow the lawn for coral reefs. Dr Lisa Wedding and her team published a new study in Coral Reefs that combines ecological and cultural considerations to identify which HMA locations would be most impactful for coral reef recovery.
DPhil student working with the Government of St Lucia
As part of a collaboration between the University of Oxford and the UN Office for Project Services, Lena Fuldauer (2018) is working with the government of St Lucia in order to implement cross-ministerial infrastructure systems planning. Read more about her work, spatially modelling the island's climate change hazards and impacts, in St Edmund Hall's research profile.
New paper reveals that islands' biodiversity is less affected by their remoteness than expected
A new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences co-authored by Professor Rob Whittaker provides the first analysis to test the combined effects of underlying processes on the emergent patterns of island diversity and reveals that islands' biodiversity is less affected by their remoteness than expected.
New research project seeks citizen scientists to explore Wild Gabon online
Charles Emogor, an MSc student at the Environmental Change Institute has begun research to assess the population dynamics of large mammal communities in the forest-savannah mosaic of Gabon's Lop National Park and to understand the interactions these animals have with the landscape.
Ruksana Rimi wins Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Best Journal Article Prize
Ruksana was awarded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and the Taylor and Francis Group for her article 'Risks of pre-monsoon extreme rainfall events of Bangladesh: is anthropogenic climate change playing a role?', published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in December 2018.
New best-practice guide to inclusive conferences launched
As the School prepares to apply for a Silver Athena SWAN award, it publishes a new practical guide to making conferences and events more inclusive. Written by Alice Chautard and Claire Hann, the guide draws on examples of best practice from conferences around the world, and was also informed by the findings of the authors' own online survey of more than 230 people.
Global temperature change attributable to external factors, confirms new study
In a new study, published in the Journal of Climate, researchers at the Environmental Change Institute have confirmed that slow-acting ocean cycles do not explain the long-term changes in global temperature over the last century. 'We can now say with confidence that human factors like greenhouse gas emissions and particulate pollution, along with year-to-year changes brought on by natural phenomenon like volcanic eruptions or the El Nio, are sufficient to explain virtually all of the long-term changes in temperature,' says study lead author Dr Karsten Haustein.
Brexit: how the end of Britain's empire led to rising inequality that helped Leave to victory
Professor Danny Dorling explores the link between empire, inequality and Brexit in a new article for The Conversation.
Dr Michael Obersteiner joins leadership of ECI
Dr Michael Obersteiner has been appointed director of ECI and joins the institute from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), where he is currently the Director of the Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program. His phased start in the post will begin in October 2019.
Ecosystems researchers support garden design for human well-being and biodiversity at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019
Dr Pam Berry and Alison Smith have advised celebrated designers in their creation of 'The Savills and David Harber Garden' for this year's RHS Chelsea Flower show. The design seeks to create a beautiful, sustainable woodland clearing in a city garden and reflects the importance of keeping green spaces and nature in urban areas.
Fossil fuel companies should go green for climate fight
At a time when the effects of climate change and global warming are hard to ignore, experts believe the only way to counter this impact for a brighter future is for fossil fuel companies to halt oil and gas investments and focus on clean alternatives. Article by Anadolu Agency includes comment by Dr Ben Caldecott.
Performance-based Funding for Reliable Rural Water Services in Africa
New research makes the case for long-term, multi-country funding to accelerate progress for the SDG to deliver reliable drinking water in rural Africa. Evidence from Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Kenya and Uganda illustrate major improvements in the performance of rural infrastructure with new models of service delivery reaching one million people.
Lucy Jarman named Best Support Staff at Oxford SU Teaching Awards
Lucy Jarman, our Undergraduate Coordinator, was named "Best Support Staff" at the Oxford SU Student-led Teaching Awards on the 9 May 2019.
Markets missing fossil fuel exposure to climate risk: analysis
Investors are overlooking the long-term risks climate change poses to oil and gas infrastructure firms, which face tens of billion of dollars worth of stranded assets as the world transitions to greener energy, according to new analysis seen by AFP. Includes comment by Dr Ben Caldecott.
Dr Pam Berry appointed by Defra
Dr Pam Berry is one of six senior academic Fellows who will lead a new Systems Research Programme at Defra, looking at some of the UK's most pressing environmental issues to inform and shape future policy decisions. The Programme will focus on five key areas; Rural Land Use (which Pam will head), Food, Air Quality, Marine, and Resources and Waste.
Professor David Thomas receives the Royal Geographical Society's Victoria Medal
Professor David Thomas has been awarded the Victoria Medal for his world leading research into dryland environments and societies. He is one of 21 individuals to be recognised by the RGS-IBG in 2019, for their extraordinary achievements in geographical research, fieldwork, teaching and public engagement.
Oxford's Stone Heads: History and Mysteries
350 years of heritage will be explored through three generations of Broad Street's famous sculptures, in a new display opening on Saturday 4 May at the Weston Library. The exhibit, reconstructing the history of the heads right up to present day and showcasing heritage science, is the culmination of over 5 years' of SoGE research.
What's new in the war on food waste?
Jeremy Sigmon, a current WSPM MSc student, interviews global food waste expert and entrepreneur Marc Zornes for the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship Blog. Marc Zornes is co-founder of Winnow, one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Europe.
Growing Greener project launches free online course for sustainable business champions
The Growing Greener project is proud to partner with OpenLearn to launch a new course on 'Promoting sustainability in business: a values-based toolkit'. Co-written by Sam Hampton (ECI) and Richard Blundel (Open University Business School), the course helps anyone who wants to bring about change within Small- or Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Plugging the water investment shortfall
To deliver on SDG6 a significant uptick in water infrastructure investment is urgently needed and private businesses could hold the key, argues Dr Alex Money in an article in BusinessGreen
Make EU trade with Brazil sustainable
Prof Rob Whittaker, Dr Erika Berenguer and Dr Tara Garnett are amongst over 600 signatories to an open letter published in Science urging the EU to put human rights and the environment at the forefront of current trade negotiations with Brazil.
USAID funding boost for water research in rural Kenya
The Smith School's Water Programme work on sustainable rural water services in Kenya has received a significant funding boost from USAID. A research collaboration exploring the institutional and financial conditions required to improve water security for the rural poor in Kitui County will now extend to 2021.
Dr Jian Peng wins 2019 Remote Sensing Young Investigator Award
Dr Jian Peng has won the 2019 Remote Sensing Young Investigator Award for his outstanding research on exploring the teleconnection between hydrological variability and climate oscillations based on satellite observations.
Why protesters should be wary of '12 years to climate breakdown' rhetoric
Prof Myles Allen, the relevant lead author of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C, explains in an article in the Conversation why protesters should be wary of misleading '12 years to climate breakdown' rhetoric.
Tip the planet: tackling climate change with small, sensitive interventions
Smith School researchers explain their new paper in Science, which introduces the idea of socioeconomic and political tipping points around climate change. Identifying and triggering these "Sensitive Intervention Points" could, they say, generate outsized impacts and accelerate progress towards a post-carbon world.
Can remote sensing help us to protect coral reefs?
The School of Geography and the Environment's Dr Lisa Wedding uses remotely sensed LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data to illuminate coral reef complexity and biodiversity. These cost-effective and accurate methods of identifying coastal "hotspots" are essential to effective management plans for marine protection and conservation, she says.
Research shows rapid urbanisation increasing pressure on rural water supplies globally
An international team led by Dr Dustin Garrick has carried out the first systematic global review of water reallocation from rural to urban regions - the practice of transferring water from rural areas to cities to meet demand from growing urban populations. They found that 69 cities with a population of 383 million people receive approximately 16 billion cubic meters of reallocated water per year - almost the annual flow of the Colorado River.
Climate crisis: today's children face lives with tiny carbon footprints
The idea for the analysis came from Dr Ben Caldecott, at the University of Oxford's Sustainable Finance Programme. He comments, in the Guardian article, that it is the first systematic use of emissions data to inform the debate about intergenerational responsibility for climate change and had produced some "uncomfortable numbers".
Smith School faculty have co-led two bids with 2 million for Research on 'Innovating for a Sustainable Future'
In a recent competition by the Oxford Martin School the Smith School secured two out of the four new solutions-focused research grant that aim to improve outcomes across two or more of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
Reflective roofs can reduce overheating in cities and save lives during heatwaves
A new modelling study from the University of Oxford and collaborators has estimated how changing the reflectivity of roofs can help keep cities cooler during heatwaves and reduce heat-rated mortality rates. "Climate change and increasing urbanisation mean that future populations are likely to be at increased risk of overheating in cities," Dr Clare Heaviside comments, "although building and city scale interventions have the potential to reduce this."
Scientists discover, climb and describe the world's tallest tropical tree
The tree was first spotted by researchers from the University of Nottingham, using an airborne Light Detection and Ranging Survey (LiDAR). ECI researchers and SEARRP partners then trekked out to Menara in August 2018 to conduct high-resolution 3D scans and drone flights, which have produced remarkable 3D visualisations of this amazing tree.
ECI scientists to evaluate world's first low carbon Energy Superhub
A 41m mobility, power and heat Energy Superhub will be built in Oxford, making it a model for cities around the world to cut carbon and improve air quality. Tina Fawcett and Sam Hampton are among the Oxford scientists who will assess the impacts of the project and advise on how they can be replicated, both across the country and abroad.
Infrastructure needed to achieve 72% of Sustainable Development Goal targets
A new ECI analysis published in Nature Sustainability has found that the majority of the UN's SDGs - global targets relating to poverty, health, the environment, peace and justice - will rely on infrastructure systems. Whilst the SDG deadline of 2030 may seem a long way off, massive global infrastructure investments have the potential to lock-in patterns of unsustainable development for years to come.
Oxford conference takes a diverse approach to tackling the water security problem
Opening today, the REACH International Conference on Water Security and Poverty 2019 celebrates achieving its most diverse gathering of practitioners and scientists to date. In addition to achieving an equal gender balance, half of attendees represent countries in Africa and Asia, and one-third are early career researchers.
Myles Allen named as one of the world's 100 most influential people in climate policy
Drawing on hundreds of nominations from experts and leading organisations, Apolitical's 'Climate 100' list celebrates politicians, civil servants, academics and activists who are the driving force behind climate policy change.
Emmanuel Abalo wins Oxford University Press Law Prize
MSc student Emmanuel Abalo has been awarded the Oxford University Press (OUP) Prize for International Environmental Law. This prize, generously sponsored by OUP, is awarded to the Envrionmental Change and Management MSc student who receives the top mark in the International Environmental Law elective.
Climate Change, Education and Action: Questions and Answers
On Friday 15 March, the second Youth Strike for Climate took part in Oxford City Centre, as part of a global movement of children, young people and their supporters. Researchers from across Oxford University staffed an information stall offering to answer questions about climate science and responses to climate change. We made a record of the questions asked on the day, and here are some of the answers we came up with.
Achieving Net Zero emissions - call for abstracts
Following on from the ECI's International Conference on '1.5 Degrees: Meeting the Challenges of the Paris Agreement', comes a two-day Oxford conference 'Achieving Net Zero' in September 2019. Questions include 'What do we mean by Net Zero?' and 'How much can we reduce emissions?' and will explore innovative ideas for reducing and recapturing emissions, as well as consider the governance, regulation, and reality - the opportunities and challenges - of delivering Net Zero globally.
Can the poor pay for drinking water?
On World Water Day, Prof Rob Hope explores how to square safe water for everyone, a human right as well one of the world's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with financial sustainability in a blog article for the ESRC
RISE visits members of women self-help groups and local teachers in Singani, Zambia
During her research trip for project 'RISE' in February, Dr Susann Stritzke met members of women self-help groups and local teachers in Singani, a rural village in Zambia, who are involved in operating two small solar PV stations. The systems have been installed during a previous project of Dr Stritzke in cooperation with SolarAid UK eleven years ago.
RISE visit to Northern Uganda brought to life the potential of off-grid energy
Project RISE researcher Dr Philipp Trotter went on a two-week research trip to Uganda in January and February 2019. Driving through Northern Uganda illustrated the limits of grid electrification for reaching the UN's Sustainable Development Goal - while the national grid passed right over rural households, almost none of these houses were actually connected to the grid
Climate change could make insurance too expensive for most people - Guardian report
Dr Ben Caldecott comments in an article in the Guardian about Munich Re, world's largest reinsurance firm, who are warning that premium rises could become a social issue
New Oxford-Belgium network launched for heritage science and conservation
The Belgian Federal Scientific Policy Office will fund a two-year initiative focused on fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange between the University of Oxford and several Belgian organisations. The network will enable expert meetings and knowledge exchange placements in both countries. Additionally, it will coordinate an international Summer School on heritage science and stone conservation in Ghent in August 2019.
Professor Gillian Rose elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
The School is delighted to announce that Professor of Human Geography Gillian Rose has been conferred a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, in recognition of her work shaping the field of cultural geography. As an Academy Fellow Professor Rose joins distinguished scholars and practitioners from academia and the public and private sectors working in Social Sciences.
Adapting to climate change: the need for acceptance
Environmental Social Science Research Fellow Dr Lisa Schipper reflects on the reality that life will change dramatically for many, as climate change increasingly impacts on lives. This has powerful implications for the path of development and human wellbeing she writes in an article for GlobalDev.blog, saying that it is time for "true acceptance of what is happening".
"I'm a climate scientist, ask me anything!"
On Friday 15 March Oxford schoolchildren, students and their supporters are taking part in the international #schoolstrikeforclimate day, gathering in Bonn Square 11am - 2pm. Researchers from the School of Geography and the Environment will be at the event, running a climate change science information table.
A climate scientist's view on the 'Green New Deal' resolution
Professor Myles Allen presents climate science from the IPCC report and puts forwards his own ideas as to how the United States of America might tackle climate change by incrementally reducing its fossil fuel emissions.
How indigenous knowledge can help address climate change
The Chicago Policy Review takes a closer look at a recent paper by Cuthbert Makondo and Professor David Thomas, which provides evidence of indigenous knowledge in climate change adaptation in Zambia. Their research, interviewing 18 indigenous leaders, reveals that communities have long considered and developed adaptation plans for their changing environment.
ECM Graduate Max Thabiso Edkins in Ethiopian plane tragedy
The department was very saddened to learn that alumnus Max Thabiso Edkins was one of the 157 victims who lost their lives in the Ethiopian plane tragedy on 10th March. Thirty-five-year-old Max was a graduate of the MSc course in Environmental Change and Management from 2007/08 and a member of Oriel College.
Alumna Janice Lao wins Edie's Sustainability Leader of the Year Award
Congratulations to Janice Lao (MSc in Environmental Change and Management 2004-05), who received the prestigious Edie's Sustainability Leader of the Year Award in a ceremony in London in February. Janice works as Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels.
Where next for SoGE students? Alumni provide inspiration at careers events
Our alumni are a fantastic source of professional insights and advice, and we were delighted to welcome 15 of them back to the School in Hilary term to speak to our current students at various careers events.
Feeding humanity and mitigating climate change
The twin challenges of feeding humanity and mitigating climate change are daunting separately and together, particularly where most greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. How do societies begin to discuss such difficult matters, trade-offs or co-benefits? And can ordinary citizens become more involved, especially young people? Read how ECI, ICCCAD and Oxfam's 'zero hunger zero emissions' project in Bangladesh explored these difficult questions.
Dr Ben Caldecott provides oral evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee
Dr Ben Caldecott provided oral evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on the 26th of February as part of an inquiry into UK Export Finance supporting overseas fossil fuels projects.
SoGE retains its place at the top of the QS World University Rankings for Geography
The School of Geography and the Environment has now held the top spot in the QS World University Rankings by subject for nine consecutive years. The annual league table compares the world's top 900 universities.
Policy pathways to a resilient UK food system
ECI food systems researchers have launched a new policy brief, exploring the need for a wide range of actors in the food system to improve their resilience from possible short and long term shocks. The UK imports around half of its food and supply can by affected by a wide-range of environmental, biological, economic, social and geopolitical factors.
Reducing wealth inequality through wealth taxes without compromising economic growth
Wealth, when untaxed, generates a more unequal income distribution across society - the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. ECI economist Linus Mattauch explores ideas for reducing wealth inequality through taxation and reinvestment.
Dr Prue Addison receives MPLS Impact Award
On 20th February 2019, Dr Prue Addison, Senior Research Associate in Biodiversity at SSEE and Knowledge and Research Exchange Fellow in the Dept of Zoology, was awarded the MPLS Impact Award for the work she has undertaken in her NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship which translated research on biodiversity measurement and management to support more responsible practice.
How understanding values creates better conversations on climate change
The average small and medium enterprise (SME) could save up to 25% on energy use through relatively simple, low cost measures. However, many don't. Sam Hampton, ECI researcher on the Growing Greener project, blogs about how low carbon advisers can tailor their language to effectively communicate low carbon practices to the full range of SMEs.
Minimising the risk of tailings dams failures through the use of remote sensing data
An article in Environment Analyst, 'Minimising the Risk of Tailings Dams Failures Through the Use of Remote Sensing Data', a project funded by the UK Space Agency in which Dr Caitlin McElroy is participating, highlights the importance of investigating ways to minimise risks of dam collapse following the recent Brumadinho tailings dam collapse
Who Cares? Can caring responsibilities be combined with a successful academic career?
To consider these questions, in January the department played host to academics, and equality and diversity practitioners from geography departments across the country, to share their experiences of being a parent or carer and working in academia. Claire Hann writes about the workshop, that she co-organised with Jennie Middleton as part of the School's Athena SWAN programme.
Can clean energy be provided for 600m people in sub-saharan Africa who lack reliable energy access?
How can clean energy be provided for those 600 million people in sub-saharan Africa that currently lack reliable energy access? Project RISE: Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification in Uganda and Zambia aims at finding answers to this complex challenge.
Blog: Can conferences be developed in a more inclusive way?
REACH Communications and Knowledge Exchange Manager Alice Chautard blogs about the benefits of 'inclusive conferences' and invites academics, researchers and practitioners to join the conference conversation, by participating in a short online survey.
Scholarships Launched - Oxford Enterprise and the Environment Summer School
The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment is delighted to announce that 3 scholarships are now available for its Enterprise and the Environment Summer School. These scholarships will cover the course fee in full and are intended for high-achieving students that are passionate about environmental sustainability and are currently in full-time education.
Mapping the atmosphere: Methane from East African swamps
At the end of January the ECI's Dr Michelle Cain joined an ambitious 35-person piece of fieldwork in Uganda and Zambia. The research, part of the NERC-funded MOYA (Methane Observations and Yearly Assessments) and ZWAMPS (Zambian Swamps) projects, used the FAAM aircraft to gather 3-dimentional observations of methane concentrations in the atmosphere.
New Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub launched
Dr Katrina Charles leads the Oxford team, part of an ambitious new UKRI/GCRF interdisciplinary hub project aimed at tackling the world's toughest challenges. "This collaboration gives us the opportunity to build on our research... to tackle these intractable interdisciplinary water security challenges in new places and with new approaches."
Raising awareness of Botswana's hidden heritage
Dr Sallie Burrough and Professor David Thomas together with Dr Sarah Mohulatshipi from the University of Botswana spent two weeks talking to community leaders, school children and local guides in the Makadikgadi region of Botswana. Through community meetings, school talks and open lectures they directly reached over 1000 members of the public, telling the remarkable story of Kalahari megalakes and the stone age people of the Makgadikgadi salt pans.
RISE complete first field research trip to Zambia
The RISE: Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification programme team have successfully completed their first field research trip to Zambia.
UK clean air research travels to the Netherlands
Research from Dr Christian Brand (TSU, University of Oxford) and Dr Alistair Hunt (University of Bath) on the cost of air pollution from cars and vans has been translated and applied to Dutch roads by Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands.
PEAK Urban project researchers begin work in Bangalore
In January, the TSU's Lucy Baker and Jacob Doherty joined 70 other urban scholars for a week-long retreat at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in Bangalore. The retreat was the initial project-wide gathering of the international PEAK Urban research team.
ECM alumnus Sujay Natson receives Gold Medal in Climate Law and Governance Essay Competition
Congratulations to our alumnus Sujay Natson (MSc in Environmental Change and Management 2017-18) who was awarded a gold medal in a global essay competition at the Climate Law and Governance Day at COP24. Sujay wrote the winning essay for his ECM elective module 'International Environmental Law'.
Friederike Otto is Scientific American's one to watch in 2019
ECI Acting director Dr Friederike Otto tops the list of key climate scientists and projects to watch this year. Otto and her collaborators are making attribution studies faster and easier to conduct, they write. "Eventually, their work could help establish rapid attribution services that provide quick assessments of extreme weather events and their links to climate change, similar to the way weather services provide forecasts."
Philipp Trotter presents RISE research to EU Parliament
On 11 October 2018, Philipp Trotter delivered a talk entitled 'Possibilities of renewable energies in bringing sustainable economic development to African Carribean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and particularly to remote areas' at the European Parliament in Brussels.
SoGE's most cited papers of 2018
Academics and researchers at the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) published over 450 journal articles in 2018 but which papers got the world talking last year? Joseph Poore, Professor Yadvinder Malhi and Dr Janey Messina are among some of the most cited researchers.
Global warming has already raised the risk of more severe droughts in Cape Town
The ECI's Friederike Otto writes with Mark New and Piotr Wolski about their recent research, observing how climate change has affected the risk of droughts in the South Western Cape region of South Africa.
On going up to Oxford to read geography 1950s style
Alumnus Michael Cross remembers his time as a Geography student in the 1950s
1995 Geographers' Reunion
Kirsty Johnson (1995) reports on a gathering of 1995 geographers in Oxford this September, celebrating their twenty year anniversary since Finals.
Ashleigh Ainsley's alumni story
"In the UK just 2.6 percent of tech leadership positions are held by ethnic minorities, compared to 17 percent in the US." Alumnus Ashleigh Ainsley (St Catherine's, 2011) explains how and why he set up the organisation Colorintech, supporting racial diversity in the tech industry.
Blog: Animal agriculture takes centre stage at COP24
Recent ECI MSc graduate Jessica Zionts (ECM, 2017-18) writes about her experiences at COP24, organising the ECI's side event and exploring how new climate models are changing the debate around livestock emissions.
COP24: How can we achieve net zero in energy, industry and agriculture?
ECI and Oxford Martin School experts took to the stage at COP24 last week, hosting a side event during the conference in Katowice, Poland, to address key issues around greenhouse gas metrics and set out what 'net zero' emissions will mean for energy, industry and agriculture.
COP24: UK debuts Powering Past Coal Calculator
Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme launches new online tool designed to help more government's develop credible coal phase out strategies.
Susann Stritzke promotes the use of clean energy among women and youth at a workshop in Zambia
In the workshop, hosted by by Global Platforms Zambia, Susann's presentation covered both the challenges and opportunities for rural electrification in Zambia.
COP24: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Katowice
The Carbon Brief provide a thorough analysis of the outcomes agreed at UN climate talks in Katowice, including comment from Michelle Cain on what she describes as 'backwards steps' in reporting emissions.
COP24: UN talks have an opportunity to align rules with their long-term temperature goal
Leading thinkers on climate change, including those from Oxford, today warned the UNFCCC that measurement rules in current draft texts at COP 24 could make it impossible to assess mitigation measures against a long-term temperature goal.
How the finance industry can save the world
A news article by the World Economic Forum, which cites our research, explores the way that the finance industry can be redefined to have a more positive impact on the world.
German news site ARD engages Harald Kuntsmann in documentary about climate change
In a German documentary for ARD news, Harald Kuntsmann is interviewed about the disappearance of the last glaciers at Mount Zugspitze and the 2018 extreme drought with record breaking minimal water levels in the river Rhine.
COP 24: High profile heroes and barriers to net zero
In a blog post for the Oxford Martin School, Michelle Cain outlines key outcomes emerging from the first week of COP24 in Katowice, Poland.
New Engaging Smart Cities toolkit launched
On Monday 10 December, at an event in Milton Keynes, the ESRC-funded smart city project launched its Engaging Smart Cities toolkit for avoiding excluding people from smart city projects.
Energy Sufficiency: evolving the energy conversation
In this new blog post for the UK Energy Research Centre Tina Fawcett introduces the concept of 'energy sufficiency' and the idea that people's basic energy needs can met equitably and within ecological limits.
Dhaka Tribune run a special climate supplement on our Zero Hunger Zero Emissions project
In this 10 article special in the Dhaka Tribune, the series of articles written by Oxfam's John Magrath stress the importance of planning and scenario building to address the Sustainable Development Goals.
Solastalgia in the anthropocene
Every year our MSc programme prepare some sort of exposition on the theme of Global Change and the Biosphere in the Anthropocene. The winning entry this year tells the story of environmental change and loss as experienced in each of the student's home regions.
Corporate boycotts of palm oil could be a positive driver of change for the fate of our forests.
In a Medium blog post for Oxford University, DPhil Aoife Bennett discusses how decisions by businesses to boycott palm oil may lead to better protection for our forests than the ineffective and often unclear certification processes designed to protect them.
Professor Gordon Clark retires after 23 years at the School
On Friday 2 November 2018, over 120 participants paid tribute to Professor Gordon Clark for his 23 year contribution to the research and teaching activities at the School of Geography and the Environment, Head of SoGE (2003-2008) and most recently as Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (2013-2018).
Final Honour School Prizes 2018
We are delighted to announce this year's winners of undergraduate prizes for outstanding achievements in Final Honour School (FHS) exams.
Improving Groundwater Management and Welfare in Kenya
As part of the Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor, the Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development project held its final project workshop in Diani with over 30 stakeholder partners including researchers from the UK, Kenya and Spain, and partners from the national and county Government of Kenyan and water-related industry.
Making short journeys on foot and by bike could save 5% of carbon emissions
New TSU research presents realistic, empirically-derived evidence on the potential of walking and cycling to replace 41% of short car trips, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. This is on top of 5% of already 'avoided' emissions from cars due to existing walking and cycling.
Oxford University calls for artists to reimagine the stone icons of Broad Street
A team of scientists from the School of Geography and the Environment have been learning about the history of the Broad Street heads - exploring the Bodleian's archival records, hunting for missing heads from the past, and testing the old stone to inform conservation efforts - however what does the future hold for these Oxford icons?
Beetles for Breakfast? Meet the Communities Swapping Bacon for Bugs Across the Globe!
Biodiversity, Conservation and Management MSc student Charlie Tebbutt (2018) writes about a group of "protein pioneers" in Uganda, who are exploring sustainable (insect) food sources as potential solutions to the world protein crisis.
The mystery of the decaying "Emperors"
It is hoped that a visit to the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Lab will help scientists understand why the second generation of Sheldonian Emperors' heads decayed so rapidly. DPhil researcher Scott Orr explains his research, investigating stone samples using a specialist neutron instrument.
Second Comberti Scholar to follow Claudia Comberti's passion for preserving ecosystems whilst meeting needs of local communities
Robyn Haggis has been awarded the second Claudia Comberti Scholarship towards her studies on our MSc programme in Environmental Change and Management. She hopes to fulfill her ambition to work towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Registration for 2019 Water Security and Poverty conference now open
Our REACH research programme has opened registrations for their 2019 Conference on Water Security and Poverty on 27-29th March at Keble College Oxford. The conference will discuss key results to date from REACH in Bangladesh, Kenya and Ethiopia.
The story of geographer and suffragette Nora MacMunn
As part of the 'Women in Oxford's History' podcast, Dr Elizabeth Baigent explores the life of geographer Nora MacMunn, who was the second woman to be appointed to an academic post at the University of Oxford.
Getting home insulation right
The latest blog post from our CREDS programme explains how, done well, home insulation can offer many benefits. It helps people achieve comfort at lower cost, lowers energy use and carbon emissions. However, done badly, it can have very negative effects.
The future of sustainable finance in Europe
Olivier Guersent, Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) discusses the unprecedented reforms put forward by the EU to secure financial stability and improve the supervision of financial markets following the outbreak of the financial crisis.
ECI partners with Oxford arts and sustainability organisations to release pioneering environmental research music video
Tandem Collective, Upcycled Sounds and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute have partnered with The Bookshop Band and Eilidh Nicoll, to create a song and animation responding to research from Kate Raworth and Professor Yadvinder Malhi. The project was funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Jubilee or tragedy? WSPM's trip to the Jubilee river
There are always two sides to every water management story, writes Andrew Tabas on the findings of the latest Water MSc field trip, listening to contrasting expert perspectives on the Jubilee River, an artificial river designed to reduce flood risks along the River Thames.
New approach needed to protect more workers in the 21st century
A new three-year partnership between the Smith School and Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) has been launched today. The study will look at the potential for developing frameworks involving different stakeholders, so more workers are provided with flexible protection and financial support in an increasingly fragmented labor market.
Current approach to protecting England's coastal communities from flooding and erosion not fit for purpose as the climate changes
A new report by the Committee on Climate Change's Adaptation Committee, led by Prof Jim Hall, investigates the long-term challenges of managing England's coastline against the backdrop of a changing climate. It concludes that the current approach to coastal management in England is unsustainable in the face of climate change.
Applications are now open for the Sustainable Finance Foundation Course and the Climate-related Financial Risk Course
The Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment are now inviting applications for two courses in 2019.
Hitting 1.5C: The Stark Climate Choices for Governments
Professor Myles Allen talks to Chatham House about the crucial differences between a 1.5C and 2C warmer world and the resilience of the Paris agreement.
Carbon emissions from Amazonian forest fires up to 4 times worse than feared
New research suggests carbon losses caused by El Nio forest fires of 2015 and 2016 could be up to four times greater than thought, according to a study of 6.5 million hectares of forest in Brazilian Amazonia.
Alex Foster commended by the Alfred Steers Dissertation prize panel
Alex Foster (2013, Hertford) introduces his dissertation, 'The-wolf-stalks-at-five-o'clock: A more-than-human, relational approach to livestock depredations in North-East Oregon', which was commended by the RGS-IBG Alfred Steers Dissertation prize judging panel for 2017. This award is made for the best undergraduate dissertation in a UK geography department.
Harry Gibbs wins both Historical Geography and Political Geography Research Group dissertation prizes
Harry Gibbs (2014, Jesus) introduces his prize-winning dissertation, 'Connected concrete, vital communications and the radical openness of civil defence: Reimagining the Cold War bunker'.
Southeast Asia Power Plants Seen Clashing With UN Climate Goals
A new study from the SSEE's Sustainable Finance Programme estimates carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants in Southeast Asia and finds that 84% are incompatible with the 1.5C climate target.
Southeast Asian power plants fail to meet UN carbon targets designed to combat global warming
A new report by the SSEE Sustainable Finance Programme suggests that almost 84 per cent of Southeast Asia's planned and existing fossil fuel power plants are incompatible with future scenarios that avoid catastrophic damage from climate change.
The Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme and E3G win the French Social Investment Forum and UN Principles for Responsible Investment prize
At a ceremony at Mirova's headquarters in Paris the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and environmental think tank E3G won the FIR-PRI Award for the Best Pedagogical Innovation in Sustainable Finance.
The story of a recoverable earth
For too long stories of 'doom and gloom' have been alienating people from the environmental movement, writes Paul Jepson. However Gelderse Poort in the Netherlands, where 'wilded' ponies and cattle were introduced and diverse ecosystems followed, provides us with a new hopeful environmental story, one "of the recovery of socio-ecological wellness".
To Dorset, to Dorset to talk of the chalk
In the latest installment of the SoGE Field Trip Blog 'Out and About' Jeremy Sigmon writes about the Water Science Policy and Management MSc course's September field trip to Dorset. "It's into the chalk that Wessex Waterworks and so many others insert their drinking straws that feed typically English activities - charming agriculture, ale brewing, and steeping afternoon tea."
What is the future for carsharing in London?
At the beginning of October TSU researchers Brendan Doody and Tim Schwanen ran an interactive and interdisciplinary workshop to examine how a transition towards widespread car sharing can be realised in London.
Global Challenges Research Fund project RISE is launched
The inaugural workshop for the launch of RISE (Research innovation scale energy) took place at the University of Oxford on 3/4 October 2018. The meeting brought together the project team, along with external stakeholders and advisory board members to review and plan the project.
Renewable energy strategies for rural electrification must be local resource based and targeted at women, High Commissioner Chikonde advises
In the launch meeting of a new GCRF project, RISE (Renewable Innovation Scale Energy), the High Commissioner of Zambia, Muyeba Chikonde, devlivers a keynote speech calling for renewable strategies in Africa to better target women and children - the most vulnerable groups when it comes to energy scarcity.
New Oxford-UNOPS report stresses infrastructure as key to unlocking Sustainable Development Goals
A new report, published today by the ECI-led Infrastructure Transition Research Consortium (ITRC) and UNOPS, has found that efficient infrastructure policy and disciplined investment decisions are vital for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Energy demand can help meet the 1.5C challenge while also delivering human wellbeing and ecosystem benefits
In a new blog post for CREDS, Dr Tina Fawcett writes a response to last week's IPCC special report on 1.5C. She explores the role of energy demand in meeting the challenges ahead.
We label fridges to show their environmental impact - why not food?
Doctoral student Joseph Poore believes that mandatory environmental labels would change how we produce and consume in three far-reaching ways. Read more in his article for the Guardian.
'Smart' handpumps help secure safe drinking water for people around the world
Discover how machine learning techniques are being used to provide people across Africa with reliable access to water - from monitoring water levels, to checking the condition of handpumps.
Visually Impaired Mobilities given the big screen by SoGE's Inspiration Fund
Films made by young Londoners with visual impairments (VI) about their experiences of public transport within the capital city, were premiered in London thanks to SoGE funding. The films were part of wider research led by the TSU's Dr Jennie Middleton on the everyday mobilities of VI young people. The accessible screening was subtitled/audio described and followed by a panel discussion with BSL interpretation.
Data capture, not disclosure, is the way to meet our climate goals
In this new article for the World Economic Forum's Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth series, Dr Ben Caldecott explores the progress needed with big data in order to stand any chance of meeting climate goals.
Professor Ceri Peach (1939 - 2018)
We are very sad to announce that Professor Ceri Peach passed away on 2 October after a period of illness.
Early career award for Oxford Martin Fellow Richard Millar
ECI physicist Dr Richard Millar, of the Oxford Martin Net Zero Carbon Investment Initiative, has been named as one of Elsevier and the US-UK Fulbright Commission's six UK Early Career Researcher Award winners for 2018.
BoE finds banks unprepared for climate change risks
Dr Ben Caldecott comments on the Bank of England's survey results which suggest that only ten percent of lenders take a long-term view of climate risks.
Dr Paul Coones (1955 - 2018)
It is with great sadness that the department has learned of the death of our former colleague, Dr Paul Coones.
Power showers could be restricted and households forced to install water meters, under drought plans
Speaking at a briefing in London about water resilience, Professor Jim Hall said the government may need to introduce restrictions on appliances such as showers, washing machines and dishwashers to limit their water use.
IFSTAL goes to the Global South!
This summer IFSTAL's reach continued to grow through the first non-UK based intensive course on food systems taking place at the University of Ghana.
How must energy pricing evolve in a low-carbon future?
ECI Research Associate John Rhys discusses redefining how we take our electricity supplies, the complexities of allocating fixed costs, and the need to recognise environmental costs through carbon pricing.
Less is more as domestic energy consumption falls
In an article by the Financial Times, Dr Brenda Boardman explains how energy regulations curbed the UK's domestic energy use in recent years through efficiency standards applied to many new appliances.
When it's time to evacuate, cities struggle to help those who can't drive
Wired reports on research published in International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction by John Renne, which compares the evacuation planning for vulnerable populations in the UK and US.
Oxford hosts global collaboration on Africa's climate conundrum
On 13 September an international team of scientists from Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa and the United Kingdom travelled to the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) in Oxford to discuss an enduring problem: how to improve climate models over Africa.
Dr Chris West, 1951 - 2018
It is with great sadness that the ECI has learned of the death of our former colleague and Director of the UK Climate Impacts Programme, Dr Chris West.
Coming to Oxford from a state school
Ella Duffy (Worcester, 2015) tells of her journey to study geography at the School of Geography and the Environment; through navigating the Oxbridge application process, to what it's like living in a college and learning through tutorials.
Final DePICT Stakeholder Workshop in London: A Fruitful Exchange
On Monday 10 September 2018, the TSU's Denver Nixon, Tim Schwanen, and Kirsty Ray held the final stakeholder workshop of the DePICT project at the Royal Geographical Society headquarters in London.
Professor Gillian Rose named Ander Visiting Professor in Geomedia Studies at Karlstad University
Karlstad University's Professor Andr Jansson commented that Gillian was an "obvious choice" for the Ander professorship, which is awarded annually to a person who, through research or media-related activities, has made significant efforts to deepen knowledge about the importance of media in a globalized world.
Kate Gardiner highly commended by Developing Areas Undergraduate Dissertation Prize award panel
Kate Gardiner (2015, Hertford) introduces her undergraduate dissertation 'A Nascent Nation', on the vast stateless population of ethnic Haitians in the Dominican Republic, which was highly commended by the RGS-IBG Developing Areas Research Group.
Isabelle Green awarded 2nd place in Gender and Feminist Geographies Undergraduate Dissertation Prize
Isabelle Green (2015, Mansfield) introduces her prize-winning dissertation, 'The Gendered Geographies of Rebuilding: Worlding Women's Experiences of Post-Katrina New Orleans', awarded by the RGS-IBG Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group.
ECI to seek new Director after Professor Jim Hall steps down
After more than seven years as Director of the Environmental Change Institute, Professor Jim Hall has stepped down from his leadership position this September.
New report on financing water infrastructure launched at World Water Week
Written by the Smith School's Dr Alex Money, the report proposes that changes in how private corporations engage with the challenge of inadequate water infrastructure, coupled with recent financial innovations can contribute to improved project returns and reduced risks.
Prime Minister responds to leading academics and their plea to challenge President Trump on his lack of action on climate change
The plea, written in July by over 130 eminent UK scientists, urged the Prime Minister to challenge President Trump in advance of his visit to the UK. Christian Brand, Nick Eyre, Jim Hall and Yadvinder Malhi were among the signatories on the letter to which the Prime Minister responded with a strong message asserting the UK's commitment to managing the risks posed by climate change.
Global Financial Centres after the Global Financial Crisis and Brexit - book launch
Professor Dariusz Wjcik will host the launch of the book entitled 'Global Financial Centres after the Global Financial Crisis and Brexit', just published by Oxford University Press, at the British Academy in London on Monday 17 September 2018.
SoGE Window of Women exhibition relaunched
A controversial exhibition celebrating our women alumnae has been relaunched at the School of Geography and the Environment.
The Determinants of Wind Energy Growth in the United States - new paper published
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews has just published The Determinants of Wind Energy Growth in the United States: Drivers and Barriers to State-Level Development authored by Dr Kim Schumacher and Zhuoxiang Yang (University of Tokyo).
New Oxford partnership with the Nature Conservancy will address water scarcity through markets and incentives
The new three-year TNC-Oxford partnership will explore how water markets and incentives can help communities better manage scarce water resources, for both security of supply as well as conservation benefits.
Rob Hope becomes Professor of Water Policy
We are delighted to announce that Rob Hope, member of the School of Geography and the Environment, and Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, has had the title of Professor of Water Policy conferred upon him by the University, in recognition of his academic distinction.
Simon Dadson becomes Professor of Hydrology
We are delighted to announce that Simon Dadson, member of the School of Geography and the Environment, and Fellow of Christ Church College, has had the title of Professor of Hydrology conferred upon him by the University, in recognition of his academic distinction.
Anna Lora-Wainwright becomes Professor of the Human Geography of China
We are delighted to announce that Anna Lora-Wainwright, member of the School of Geography and the Environment, and Fellow of St Cross College, has had the title of Professor of the Human Geography of China conferred upon her by the University, in recognition of her academic distinction.
Improving life expectancy used to be the UK's forte - now it's falling behind
Professor Danny Dorling writes with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Lucinda Hiam about the emerging evidence that UK life expectancy growth has stalled. "Life expectancy is one of the most important indicators a country can produce about the health of its population," they write. "Any deterioration in it is a marker of significant underlying societal problems."
The Sounds of the Namib Desert
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson presents a journey in sound from dawn to dusk in southern Africa's Namib Desert and talks to Professor Dave Thomas about his experiences working in these desert lands. "If you climb up dunes on a clear day... and if you stay there long enough you, can see aspects of the world changing around you. They are absolutely spectacular places to be."
Reflections on the 2018 Enterprise and the Environment Summer School
Mary Bergen reflects on the Smith School's third Enterprise and the Environment Summer School, a 2-week course designed for future leaders of environmental change. The programme was attended by 35 students from 16 different nationalities and a global spread of Universities.
Dr Geoffrey Dudley awarded grant for research into dockless bicycle hire
The Rees Jeffreys Road Fund is supporting a new TSU research project, led by Geoffrey Dudley. The project will explore how disruptive innovations, such as dockless bicycle hire, might be regulated.
The Future of Freight: Expectations, experimentation, and 'beyond experiments'
To mark the end of their Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) project on 'smart and automated freight', TSU Director Dr Tim Schwanen and Research Lecturer Dr Debbie Hopkins hosted a lively stakeholder workshop at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London.
Carbon dividend from polluters to households could win over the public
Political acceptability is the biggest challenge for the introduction of ambitious carbon pricing schemes aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But new research suggests that using the revenue to pay a dividend to households could make carbon pricing a success.
Climate change more than doubled the likelihood of the European heatwave, according to new research
The unprecedented temperatures seen over Summer 2018 are a sign of things to come - and climate change more than doubled the likelihood of the European heatwave, according to new research by the ECI and World Weather Attribution network (WWA).
Professor Gillian Rose joins the 'Smart Cities' panel on Thinking Allowed
Whilst tech companies are interested in easily-measurable data sets for city infrastructure, Professor Gillian Rose's research focuses on understanding the human side of smart cities. Cities are incredibly rich melting pots of social diversity, she explains. "When it comes to people, putting algorithms to work is a lot more complicated, often because we don't agree on what a good city looks like."
The tropics at tipping point, new research warns
Global biodiversity is at tipping point and on the verge of collapse, according to a major research collaboration. The team caution that urgent, concerted action is needed to reverse species loss in the tropics and prevent an environmental catastrophe.
Continuing partnership with Zurich to protect future generations from the income protection gap
The Smith School are to continue their partnership with Zurich Insurance Group to investigate current threats to the sustainability of worker protection systems, and propose frameworks for social protection in rapidly changing global and national labour markets.
London wants to become a 'national park city' - is that a contradiction in terms?
Writing for the Conversation Dr Paul Jepson debates the recent alignment of the term "national park" with London. Instead of risking damaging the national park brand, he suggests that the city considers working towards becoming a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Ensuring affordability, reliability and sustainability for Africa's electricity network
A newly funded Global Callenges Research Fund project seeks to overcome energy poverty in rural Africa, working alongside stakeholders, investors and local householders to develop an affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity network.
Climate change tripled likelihood of drought that pushed Cape Town water crisis to 'Day Zero' brink, say scientists
New research from the World Weather Attribution project suggests that man-made climate and its effect on rainfall made the drought 3 times more likely.
'Smart Handpumps' research is the overall winner of the Vice Chancellor's Innovation Award
Oxford's Smart Handpumps' research has been selected as the overall winner in the University's inaugural Vice Chancellor's Innovation Awards, and also won the category for impact in building capacity.
Today's transport policy benefits the rich more than the poor
New research from the University of Oxford's Professor David Banister reveals that we are travelling 5 times further today than we did in 1960. But it is the better-off who are travelling faster and further, leaving the poor in the slow lane and closer to home.
Peak inequality
The gap between the very rich and the rest is wider in Britain than in any other large country in Europe, and society is the most unequal it has been since shortly after the First World War. But is great change coming? Professor Danny Dorling says the signs are there, that we've reached peak inequality.
Cathy Clegg (2017) presented with Biodiversity MSc Blog Prize
The Biodiversity, Conservation and Management MSc/MPhil course has announced the winner of its first ever popular science writing prize as Cathy Clegg, for her blog entry 'Seal or Salmon? Sustainable meat with an adorable face'.
The UK's first National Infrastructure Assessment is backed by ECI analysis
A long-term view of the UK's infrastructure needs and priorities has been developed - for the first time - and published today by the National Infrastructure Commission.
One Planet: Sovereign Wealth Funds, climate change, and the ability to move markets
In a news article for Business Green, Dr Ben Caldecott of the SSEE's Sustainable Finance Programme explains why President Macron's new Sovereign Wealth Fund announcement is such an important development for global climate action
Are investors ducking the hard questions on climate change?
Professor Myles Allen argues that we need to be asking fossil fuel companies what their plans are for achieving net zero emissions in a new blog post for the Oxford Climate Society.
Climate Lab DPhil students publish papers in the top ranked atmospheric science journal
Emma Howard, Amy Creese and Callum Munday each have a paper on early release in the highly rated Journal of Climate.
Scaling up sustainable innovation: actors, institutions and geographies
A new phase in the transition to a more sustainable society has arrived: some sustainable innovations are now scaling up. Researchers from Oxford University and the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University discussed upscaling during a one-day workshop.
Oxford Bishop calls for wider adoption of Oxford Martin Principles for Climate-Conscious Investment
As the Church of England debate fossil fuel divestment this week, The Bishop of Oxford draws on the latest research by ECI and SSEE, calling for greater consideration of the Oxford Martin Principles for Climate-Conscious Investment.
Global Challenges in Transport: Inspiration Fund Scholarships Launched
The Transport Studies Unit (TSU) is delighted to announce its new Inspiration Fund Scholarship, specifically designed to facilitate the attendance of women practitioners/researchers from low income countries on its Global Challenges in Transport courses.
Playing Pokmon GO increases daily physical activity concludes recent study
A new journal article co-authored by Tim Schwanen explores the physical activity benefits of Pokmon GO in Hong Kong. The open access paper reports short-term increases in players' walking and running distance, especially among less physically active participants.
10 years on from the MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and Management
Lydia Cole, Rowan Trebilco, Anne Christianson and Laura Chartier (BCM 2007-08) reflect on their 10 year reunion, when '08 graduates summarised their last "10 years in 10 minutes", in a day of discussions on "Early career trajectories in biodiversity, conservation and management".
A great alumni match
Congratulations to Alan Poynter (St Edmund Hall, 1951) and Jean Poynter nee Wadsworth (Lady Margaret Hall, 1952) who first met at the School of Geography and this year celebrated their diamond anniversary.
SoGE Alumni Drinks Reception in San Francisco
Nearly 30 SoGE alumni gathered on 5 April for our first ever side event at an US Alumni Weekend: Alumna Reem Yusuf (ECM 2011-12) kindly hosted the reception at the British Consulate in San Francisco.
Outdoor education in Chiang Mai and a mini Thai reunion
In May Alumna Shivanti Kandiah-Evans (St Hilda's, 1994), took a group of her school students on a field trip to the Maekok River Resort in northern Chiang Mai, an outdoor education centre and resort run by fellow alumnus Bryan Massingham (Hertford, 1972).
New Oxford Geography alternative prospectus launched for Oxford Open Days
Oxford Geography Society has published 'The Alternative Oxford Geography Prospectus' to inform students of the unique Oxford geography experience.
Heathrow's third runway is expensive, polluting and unequal - why the poor will lose out
After more than a decade of debate, the expansion of London's Heathrow airport has been given the green light. Construction could begin as early as 2021. However, in all the deliberation over costs and connectivity, the biggest losers from this decision - the poor - have been largely left out of the discussion, writes Professor David Banister.
New Director for the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
Professor Cameron Hepburn has been announced as the new Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and from October 2018 will lead the School in its growing portfolio of research and education to shape business practices, government policy and stakeholder engagement on the environment.
ECI scientists awarded the 2018 Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Water Management and Protection Prize
Professor Jim Hall and Dr Edoardo Borgomeo have been awarded the 2018 Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Water Management and Protection Prize for their work on decision making under uncertainty.
Intact forests 'indispensable' in the fight against climate change
This week, a major international conference will explore the latest research into 'intact' forests - large forested areas that remain mostly unharmed by human activity. Co-organiser Dr Alexandra Morel explains why these threatened landscapes are so important to the future of the planet.
A new way to assess 'global warming potential' of short-lived pollutants
Dr Michelle Cain writes a guest post for the Carbon Brief to address whether treating all greenhouse gasses as CO2 equivalent is the best measure for stocktaking countries emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement. She suggests a modified metric as an better way of linking emissions to warming.
Rising CO2 may increase dangerous weather extremes, whatever happens to global temperatures
New research from the University of Oxford and collaborators at several other institutions provides compelling evidence that meeting the global warming target of 1.5C may not be enough to limit the damage caused by extreme weather.
Air pollution from cars and vans costs society 6billion per year
A new Oxford University collaboration involving ECI/TSU's Dr Christian Brand has shed light on the damaging health consequences of Britain's car addiction - revealing that it is likely costing our NHS and society in general more than 6 billion per year.
Kicking the car(bon) habit better for air pollution than electric cars
Changing our lifestyles and the way we travel could have as big, if not more of an impact on carbon dioxide transport emissions, as electric vehicles and the transport technology revolution, according to new Oxford University research led by Dr Christian Brand.
Will London run out of water?
In a news post for the Conversation, Edoardo Borgomeo considers the water scarcity challenges facing the capital, drawing on research undertaken by the Environmental Change Institute-led MaRIUS (Managing the Risks, Impacts and Uncertainties of Droughts and Water Scarcity) project.
Rating climate risks to credit worthiness
A news piece in Nature Climate Change examines how climate change risks could impact credit rating and in turn be used to incentivise climate risk reduction efforts by companies. In the article, Ben Caldecott highlights some of the complexities and existing limitations in collecting and disclosing the necessary data to account for climate risk.
A cultural theory of drinking water risks, values and institutional change
New research by doctoral student Johanna Koehler applies cultural theory of risk to waterpoint management in rural Kenya
Carbon 'bubble' could cost global economy trillions
In a news article on the BBC website, it is suggested that a rapid reduction in demand for fossil fuels could see global economic losses of $1-4 trillion by 2035, with reference to a report by the Sustainable Finance Programme.
MPs call for mandatory climate risk reporting
Following inquiry into green finance, Environmental Audit Committee concludes large companies and asset owners - such as pension funds - should be forced to report their exposure to climate change risks and opportunities
New estimates of the environmental cost of food
Research published in the journal Science highlights the environmental impacts of thousands of food producers and their products, demonstrating the need for new technology to monitor agriculture, and the need for environmental labels on food products.
An improved emission metric shows new path to "innovative, world leading" climate change policy
A new paper outlines a better way to think about how methane and other gases contribute to greenhouse gas emissions budgets. This is an important step towards evaluating the warming from methane emissions when developing strategies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
UK Green Finance Taskforce publishes recommendations on disclosure
The introduction of a comprehensive and world-leading UK climate-related and sustainability-related financial disclosure framework is a key priority. This report entitled, Establishing the World's Best Framework for Climate-Related and Sustainability-related Financial Disclosures, was produced jointly by the UK Green Finance Taskforce and the City of London Green Finance Initiative Working Group on Data, Disclosure and Risk. It sets out how and why the UK can introduce a new climate-related and sustainability-related financial disclosure framework. The GFI Working Group is chaired by Ben Caldecott, the founding Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme and a Member of the UK Green Finance Taskforce.
Professor Yadvinder Malhi receives highest honours from the Royal Geographical Society
Professor Yadvinder Malhi has been awarded one of the Royal Geographical Society's Patron's Medal for his world leading studies on the impact of climate change on tropical ecosystems. The Royal Medal is approved by Her Majesty the Queen, and among the highest honours of its kind in the world.
Four graduate students to explore innovative solutions to Sustainable Development Goals at the UNLEASH Innovation Lab
Four graduate students will represent the Environmental Change Institute at the 2018 UNLEASH global innovation lab held this week in Singapore, to explore new and innovative solutions to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Why blowing the 1.5C global warming goal will leave poor tropical nations sweating most of all
Almost all of us are going to be worse off as climate change takes hold, whether through heatwaves, changing rainfall patterns, sea level rise, or damage to ecosystems. But it's the world's poorest people who will suffer the biggest disruptions to their local climate, Dr Luke Harrington explains in the Conversation.
INTALInC comes to Oxford
In early May the TSU hosted an Early Career Researcher Workshop and Dissemination Event for the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities (INTALInC) programme. The events were attended by more than 50 delegates from Ghana, Bangladesh, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
MPs criticise government clean energy policies
Heavy criticism has been levelled at UK government energy policies for causing a rapid fall in clean energy investment. The SSEE are quoted in this BBC article by highlighting the need for low-cost capital for low-carbon infrastructure and technology.
Will putting a price on nature devalue its worth?
Cameron Hepburn responds to a recent article in the Guardian Newspaper on the dangers of trying to value nature, by suggesting that markets do have a role if nature is properly valued.
Dr Jocelyne Hughes wins Most Acclaimed Lecturer Award at recent Oxford SU: Student-Led Teaching Awards
Dr Jocelyne Hughes wins Most Acclaimed Lecturer Award at recent Oxford SU Student-Led Teaching Awards. She received her award at the Student-Led Teaching Awards held at the Oxford Town Hall on the 10 May 2018.
SoGE graduate students attend writing retreat on the Isle of Wight
A group of 14 graduate research students from the School attended a week-long writing retreat in March of 2018. The retreat was held at the Northcourt Manor home on the Isle of Wight. This was the second event of this type that has been coordinated by the department's postgraduate joint consultative committee.
Rewilding's next generation will mean no more reserves full of starving animals
In an article in the Conversation, Dr Paul Jepson explores how the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in the Netherlands, an iconic example of "rewilding", is managed and how it might be renewed in the future.
Sea Ice and Arctic Biota - Special edition published this week
The impacts of the rapid melting of sea ice on arctic biota requires a new scientific framework, if we are to have a chance of protecting plant and animal ecosystems, says Dr Marc Macias-Fauria, co-editor of a special edition of Biology Letters.
Doctoral student Lisa Thalheimer selected to be Global Youth Climate Network Climate Ambassador
Lisa has been selected to the Global Youth Climate Network - part of the World Bank Youth to Youth Community of young professionals dedicated to engaging, inspiring and empowering young people in global development.
Recent extremes 'not unusual, but climate change makes them seem so'
In a news article in the Independent newspaper Dr Friederike Otto explains that the recent weather extremes experienced in the UK are not unusual. She cites the increasingly early arrival of spring as one explanation for changing our expectations for warm weather compared to the past.
Australian businesses urged to view climate change through financial risk lens
A new series of papers by the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) - an initiative of the Smith School's Sustainable Finance Programme - urge Australian businesses to better understand climate change through a financial risk lens, or risk being left behind by their global peers.
Remembering Claudia Comberti
Today marks the one-year anniversary since we lost our friend and colleague Claudia Comberti to a tragic cycling accident. A heartwarming tribute in the Oxford Mail reminds us of her inspiring research and the call for safer cycling on our roads through The Claudia Charter, launched in her name.
Wall of Geography Women Unveiled
A new photo mosaic featuring the portraits of over 150 geography alumnae has been unveiled at the School of Geography and the Environment this week. The display, which lines the window and walls of one of the School's stairwells, celebrates women graduates who have become leaders in a diverse range of fields.
In Memoriam: Christina Ellen Walter ne Chipperfield (St Hugh's 1954)
We are sad to learn of the death of our alumna Christina Ellen Walter, who passed away on 10 March 2018.
Steps beyond carbon footprinting
'Investors need to go much further than carbon footprinting their portfolios to measure environmental risk'says Ben Caldecott, in a talk given at the Fiduciary Investors Symposium at Oxford University.
Clear signs of global warming will hit poorer countries first
Reported in Nature News, a New climate-inequality tool developed by Dr Luke Harrington and colleagues quantifies how quickly the weather will veer beyond normal in different regions.
How to ensure a sustainable future for the largest landlocked country in the world?
Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and The School of Geography and the Environment have co-organised an international conference on 'Arid Lands: Environmental and social sustainability' in an attempt to understand the sustainability challenges facing Kazakhstan.
Public concern over air pollution rises where Nitrogen Dioxide levels are highest
A new paper from the PASTA Research Consortium, including TSU's Dr Christian Brand, links NO2 to people's concerns over air pollution's effect on their health.
Risk to power generation sector is already real
In response to an article in the Financial Times published last week quoting Bop Dudley, Chief Exectutive of BP, as saying 'the idea of stranded assets just doesn't hold', Alexander Pfeiffer explains how research shows that the risk has, in fact, already materialised in some areas of the economy.
Agriculture is destabilizing the Earth system, according to recent study
Agriculture's impact on the Earth's systems is pushing the planet to - and in some cases beyond - its limits. In a new research paper, researchers explore how agriculture is transgressing nine planetary boundaries.
Resigned Activism book wins ethnography prize
Associate Professor in the Human Geography of China Dr Anna Lora-Wainwright wins prestigious ethnography award for her book on the 'slow violence' of living with pollution in China and the ensuing struggle for health and justice.
Are we ready to reap the environmental benefits from the viral boom in shared urban transport schemes?
The growth of innovative urban transport schemes offers many opportunities for improving the sustainability of our cities. In a new policy brief by the GREEN-WIN project, the environmental benefits of such schemes are highlighted.
Understanding demand-side solutions to climate change
New research in Nature Climate Change calls for greater attention to be given climate solutions that address demand for energy, including changes in behaviour and lifestyle.
Climate change in a San Francisco courtroom
Professor Myles Allen writes about his latest assignment - to explain the history and science of climate change to a judge in a San Francisco court - in a case brought by American cities against the oil companies.
ECI experts selected as authors in all three Working Groups of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Reports
Three senior academics from the ECI have been selected as authors in the upcoming Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The reports will assimilate current knowledge relating to climate change and exist as a basis to guide policymakers and global climate negotiations.
The environmental case for keeping the clocks on summer time - all the time
Dr Philipp Grunewald makes the case for keeping the UK's clocks on British Summer Time all year round off the back of the energy savings that would be made. Read his idea in full in the Conversation.
The Paris Agreement goals are still achievable, but require immediate action from the international community
Ahead of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C by the IPCC, a Themed Issue on this topic has been commissioned by the Royal Society, entitled "The Paris Agreement: Understanding the physical and social challenges for a warming world of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels".
"Bail out or fade out? Oil majors face tough choice on climate, researchers warn"
New research by the Smith School and think tank E3G uses wargame simulations to predict how major oil companies could secure a commercially viable future under 2 degrees of climate change. Read full report in Business Green.
"In a San Francisco courtroom, climate science gets its day on the docket"
American cities are taking oil companies to court, arguing that they should pay for climate-related problem. Professor Myles Allen appears before the judge to explain the history and science of climate change. Read more in this report by Science Magazine
ECI to lead new 19 million research centre on energy demand
A major new UK research centre on Energy Demand has been announced by the EPSRC and ESRC today, to develop and deliver internationally leading research, focusing on energy demand from a systemic, socio-technical perspective.
Advancing African climate science
REACH postdoc, Dr Ellen Dyer, leads a new phase of African climate research which will strengthen linkages between climate and water research across the REACH programme and the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) programme.
Can service water models level the playing field for rural water supplies?
Dr Tim Foster presents findings from his doctoral research examining the sustainability of rural water supply on the south coast of Kenya where the first large-scale deployment of the Afridev handpump was installed in 1983.
Water for Sustainable Development: what can we hope for the coming decade?
On World Water Day, REACH programme directors reflect on how REACH will contribute to the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development.
Landmark assessment reports present global understanding on the links between human well-being and nature
In response to the widespread loss of global biodiversity and the subsequent threats to human well-being, five landmark assessment reports have been published to describe the most up to date state of knowledge about biodiversity, ecosystems and nature's contributions to people.
Is Fukushima doomed to become a dumping ground for toxic waste?
Seven years after the Tsunami that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdowns, SoGE research fellow Dr Peter Wynn Kirby discusses possible future plans for the radiation-hit exclusion zone, including robot test-fields and safe storage for Japan's 17,000 tonnes of radioactive waste. "It is only a matter of time before it becomes possible for politicians to publicly back the idea of transforming the area around Fukushima Daiichi into a secure repository."
Changes and challenges on the Thai-Myanmar border
As diplomatic and economic bonds deepen, so is economic life on the Thai-Myanmar border. However, as aid is redirected to "transitioning" Myanmar, refugee and migrant communities in Thai border-towns face a difficult future, explains SoGE DPhil research student Shona Loong.
Concerns raised over rising deaths in England and Wales
Health chiefs are failing to investigate a clear pattern of rising death rates and worsening health outcomes in England and Wales, argues Danny Dorling and colleagues in The BMJ, as the latest figures show more than 10,000 extra deaths in first weeks of 2018 compared with previous years.
Promoting sustainability and wellbeing in Ghana's cocoa forests
More than half the population in Ghana depend on income from cocoa production, but it is at increasing risk from forest degradation and climate change. This new video presents the work of the ECOLIMITS project to identify new eco-friendly farming methods for cocoa production.
The Population Bomb
Professor Danny Dorling joins the BBC Radio 3 Arts and Ideas panel, to discuss the global best-seller 'The Population Bomb' written at peak population growth in 1968. This population growth has now slowed - from 2% year-on-year then to 1% today - and we are heading towards births balancing deaths, Dorling explains.
New research examines the influence of land use change on global warming
A new paper co-authored by ECI's Daniel Mitchell shows how changes in landuse, such as the expansion of the bioenergy industry, are having considerable influence on projections of temperature extremes
Geography alumnus Neil Mendoza to be Elected as Oriel's Next Provost
Neil read Geography at Oriel and matriculated in 1978. He will be elected as Oriel's next Provost in August of this year.
Governing natural resources for effectiveness, equity and sustainability
In a new policy brief by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation programme, Dr Constance McDermott and colleagues suggest key messages for improving the effectiveness, equity and sustainability surrounding the governance of natural resources such as fisheries, forests and grazing land.
Climate computer modeling needs to be greener
ECI's deputy director Dr Friederike Otto outlines the steps she has taken to reduce carbon emissions in her personal life but calls for more to be done to cut carbon at research organisational level in this article for DW news
Panel debate: The true cost of food: can we afford it and how do we change it?
On 27th March, the ECI's Food Systems Group are hosting an expert panel will discuss what is the true cost of our food once its external impacts on nature, society and individual health are taken into account? Can we afford to continue to pay these hidden costs? Can costing these externalities bring about change in the way giant food companies operate and our own food choices?
Celebrating Women Alumnae
In celebration of the National Year of Women 2018, marking 100 years since a significant number of women gained the vote in Britain, SoGE invited twelve of its inspirational alumnae to share their career and life experiences, in person at a special event in January 2018 and on film.
A year in the life of an Athena SWAN Officer
In a special blog for International Women Day Claire Hann looks back over her first year as the School's Equality and Diversity Officer and talks openly about what it gender equality means to her.
The challenge of improving water security under intense drought
Following meetings in Turkana which convened national and county level stakeholders, Rob Hope, Dan Olago and Andrew Trevett from the SSEE's REACH team reflect on the challenges associated with improving water security for the poor in the drought-prone county.
Showcasing projects building resilience to El Nio - lessons from the field
An event at London's Royal Society, organised by the ECI and ICCS, will showcase fourteen UK Government projects which aim to help build resilience to future extreme climate events such as El Nio
The hunt to find Oxford's retired Emperor Heads
DPhil researcher Scott Allan Orr talks to BBC Oxford about the department's efforts find and study all 27 of the Sheldonian's 'retired' Emperor Heads. Understanding how the figures have eroded over time will help improve conservation efforts for similar carvings, he said.
London Stock Exchange explore recommendations from Green Finance Taskforce at celebration event in London
Representing Oxford University, Dr Ben Caldecott spoke at the London Stock Exchange event on the 6 February to explore the relevance of sustainable finance in the UK. The event was attended by The Rt Hon Claire Berry MP who established the Green Finance Taskforce to advise the government on reforms to scale up green financial flows in the UK and ensure Britain remains a global leader in this market.
Top universities sign up to Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment
18 Universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Yale have signed up to a new Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment. The Alliance is designed to help support and accelerate the transition towards greener finance models and to raise the profile of academic research in response to growing interest from policy makers and business.
SoGE retains its place at the top of the QS World University Rankings for Geography
The School of Geography and the Environment has now held the top spot in the QS World University Rankings by subject for eight consecutive years. The annual league table compares the world's top 900 universities.
SoGE second in The Complete University Guide's subject table for Geography
The guide comments: "Typically high Entry Standards ensure a high-level degree programme, while impressive Research Quality and Graduate Prospects make it clear that the University of Oxford is offering a demanding but rewarding education for those who are suitably high achieving."
TSU and EPG collaborate with industrial partners in new V2GO project
V2GO (Vehicle-To-Grid Oxford) is one of 21 new government-funded projects aimed at supporting the development of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies enabling electric vehicles to deliver electricity back to the smart grid, to light homes and power businesses. The project will develop, trial, and evaluate potential business models for fleet operators' use of electric vehicles and their suitability for V2G charging. V2GO is led by EDF Energy and involves the TSU and the Energy and Power Group (EPG) in the University's Department of Engineering Science alongside six other partners from the private sector.
Why is life expectancy in England and Wales 'stalling'?
Academics have called for an independent enquiry to ascertain what is happening to life expectancy in England and Wales and what should be done about it. Co-author Professor Danny Dorling explains, "there are some European countries, especially Norway and Finland... they continue to see life expectancy rise and rise. They are doing the best and we, in the UK, the worse when it comes to progress since 2010".
What do doughnuts have to do with climate change?
Kate Raworth's pioneering idea of doughnut economics reconceptualises traditional economic principles and offers new opportunities to create a world which is more equitable and sustainable. In this article, Varsity Magazine explore doughnut economics and the benefits that modern alternatives to neoliberalist economics may offer to the world.
New project to use satellite imagery to protect communities and ecosystems from toxic pollution caused by failing dams in Peru
The new 2.7 million project involving Dr Caitlin McElroy will use remote sensing data to monitor the risk of tailing dams collapsing, thus enabling quicker action to avoid the dam failing. The dams are constructed from earth embankments and used to store toxic mine waste and effluent.
New climate projections for the UK will improve our understanding of how droughts may change in the future
The new dataset by the MaRIUS project has been formed using computing resources from model simulations gathered across hundreds of volunteer's computers around the world. The outputs offer new insights into the risk of possible strong droughts in future climates and will enable us to learn how these droughts could be managed through a risk-based modelling approach.
Oxford to host major international conference on 'Intact Forests in the 21st Century' this June
We have opened a call for abstracts and registration to attend a major meeting on 18-20th June at Oxford University. The Conference will examine the extent, condition, threats and policy actions for preserving and restoring of the world's intact forests.
The SSEE Sustainable Finance Programme provide evidence to UK Government on green finance and climate risk reporting
Dr Ben Caldecott recently gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee Green Finance Inquiry. With London being the current green financial centre of the world, the UK Government has a unique opportunity for aligning finance and sustainability as a means of tackling global environmental challenges. In the written evidence, Dr Ben Caldecott provides high-level perspectives on the following issues: 1) how policymakers should evaluate different green finance proposals, 2) the importance (and limitations) of disclosure 3) why we need to focus on asset-level data, and 4) the case for a UK Green Fintech Centre, particularly to realise the potential of innovations in data capture and date processing.
Amazon rainforests that were once fire-proof have become flammable
Carbon emissions from the Brazilian Amazon are increasingly dominated by forest fires during extreme droughts rather than by emissions from fires directly associated with the deforestation process, according to a study in Nature Communications. The authors suggest that recurrent 21st century droughts may undermine achievements in reducing emissions from deforestation in this region.
Dr Jamie Lorimer awarded a prestigious British Academy Fellowship
In January 2018 Jamie Lorimer began a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. This award will support new fieldwork on ecological approaches to health and environmental management.
Possible impacts of China's "Silk Road"
SoGE research is cited by the New Statesman, in an article that explores the potential environmental impacts of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Both Dr Troy Sternberg's paper, and a WWF-HSBC report that ECI-researchers contributed to, impress the need for urgent environmental impact assessment and monitoring.
Swarovski Foundation supports second water science scholar
Claire Nakabugo is the second Swarovski scholar to study on the School's MSc course in Water Science, Policy and Management. "We are delighted that the Swarovski Foundation are providing this second scholarship," says Professor Heather Viles, Head of School. "Their support is vital in bringing students like Claire Nakabugo to Oxford to enhance their knowledge and leadership skills and equip them for their future careers."
Head hunters sought
Professor Heather Viles appeals for information about Oxford's missing historical stone heads, which formally adorned the Sheldonian Theatre between 1669 and 1972. "The whereabouts of many heads from the earlier generations are known, but some have disappeared. We're on a mission to find them."
AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute names new Public Engagement Fellows
Dr Dustin Garrick is one of 15 new AAAS Leshner Fellows elected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The fellows were chosen for having demonstrated leadership and excellence in their research careers and an interest in promoting meaningful dialogue between science and society.
Suspected poacher mauled by lions
SSEE's DPhil Candidate, Michael 't Sas-Rolfes who studies market influences on poaching at the University of Oxford commented on a National Geographic article (12 February 2018 by Sarah Gibbens) about a suspected poacher mauled by lions. He notes the lucrative benefits of lion body parts which still remain lower than rhino horns.
New 'Settlers' exhibition opens
Dr Claire Hann and Prof Danny Dorling have helped curate a new exhibition entitled 'Settlers: Genetics, geography and the peopling of Britain', that opens at the Museum of Natural History today. From the arrival of the earliest modern humans to the people of the present day, 'Settlers' tells the dynamic story of Britain's ever-changing population.
The revised Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography offers a radically updated perspective on the field for the 21st Century
The long-awaited follow-up to one of the 'most influential volumes' in the field of Economic Geography has now been published bringing together more than 60 leading economists and geographers from around the world.
From peaks to plains: troubled waters along Nepal's Gandaki River
In Autumn 2017, we sent a team with the Himalayas to Ocean (H2O) project to follow the Gandaki River from the Himalayas, to the floodplains of Nepal. Along the way, they collected stories of those living at the forefront of climate change. Read about their journey and the novel ways they seek to raise awareness about climate change.
Connecting Doctoral Students with Enterprise and the Environment
In partnership with Oxford University's Maths, Physical and Life Sciences Division the Smith School recently held its second Enterprise and the Environment training programme for doctoral students. Attended by 21 students from a number of UK Universities, the course sought to equip students with skills to make their research relevant and accessible to business.
Good climate policy can contribute to a growing economy more than previously thought, says new research
A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management sheds new light on the potential opportunities arising from climate protection policies as a driver for investment.
The role of science, academia and environmentalism at the World Economic Forum in Davos
As an invited scientist with the European Research Council, Professor Yadvinder Malhi attended the 2018 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos to present his work on climate change, tropical forest conservation and tipping points. Read about his first-hand experiences at the elite, invitation-only event.
The rise of the planetary labour market
"This will be the first year in human history in which a majority of the world's population is connected to the internet." SoGE Research Affiliate Professor Mark Graham writes for the New Statesman on the rise of this newly emerging labour market in which millions of jobs can be performed from "almost anywhere on Earth".
Synthesis paper reveals strengths and weaknesses of corporate environmental pledges
The environmental pledges to halt deforestation made by industry can often fall short of meaningful impact. A new paper in Nature Climate Change, co-authored by ECI's Constance McDermott examines why some promises make more of a difference than others and offers policy options for making zero-deforestation initiatives more effective.
How anti-globalisation switched from a left to a right-wing issue
Honorary Research Associate Daniel Haberly his co-authors explore the new backlash against economic globalisation which, they say, "emerges from concerns about its impacts in the Global North".
Austerity policies at the heart of soaring homelessness and related health harms
Writing for the British Medical Journal, SoGE's Mark Fransham and Professor Danny Dorling say action is needed on issues of welfare reform and the housing market to help those caught up in the homelessness crisis.
ECI provides recommendations on greening the Belt and Road
A new WWF report launched at Davos last week proposes a framework of guiding principles and actions to ensure that China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) delivers sustainable and resilient infrastructure investment.
Energy efficiency: the missing piece in the Energy Cost Review jigsaw
Professor Nick Eyre reflects on the lack of energy efficiency policy in the UK Government's Energy Efficiency Review, published in 2017. In a blog post for the Association for the Conservation of Energy, he suggests that 'the review is highly skewed towards considering supply side issues and away from demand'.
Study reveals reasons behind big drop in young people driving cars since 1990s
Members of the Transport Studies Unit, together with The Centre for Transport and Society at the University of West of England (UWE Bristol), conducted a study for the Department for Transport looking into the reasons behind a marked drop in car ownership among young people over the past 25 years. The report "Young People's travel - what's changed and why?" was published on the 23 January 2018.
Giant curtain erected in Peru in bid to reveal secrets of the cloud forest
The Guardian newspaper follows former ECI researcher Dr Dan Metcalfe into the the Peruvian cloud forests to report on the impact that rising clouds will have on the jungle ecosystems below as a direct consequence of climate change.
SoGE student prize-winners 2017
ECM MPhil student Jory Fleming (Worcester, 2017) and Undergraduate Honour School Finalists 2017, Rachel Hough (Hertford, 2014), Ben Nother (Mansfield, 2014), Caragh Bennet (Jesus, 2014) have been recognised for their excellence in data storytelling and dissertation-writing.
European Cities Could Avoid up to 10,000 Premature Deaths by Expanding Cycling Networks
The new paper, co-authored by European scientists including SoGE's Dr Christian Brand, has found that expanding designated cycling networks in cities could provide considerable health and economic benefits.
Bogotá's "Biketivism"
TSU DPhil student Paola Castaneda talks about her research exploring bicycle activism - or "biketivism" - in Bogotá. "I focus on one specific form of advocacy: bicycle collectives (colectivos) are groups of people that since 2005 have been staging weekly or bi-weekly night-time cycle rides," she explains, "in order to understand how biketivists attempt to take back the city from the motor vehicle, and challenge the dominant order on city streets."
New principles to guide corporate investment towards climate goals
Research published this week in Nature Climate Change and authored by ECI's Richard Millar and SSEE's Cameron Hepburn proposes a new set of principles for helping investors and companies to address the moral challenges of climate change. The investment community is recognised as pivotal to the success of transitioning to a net zero carbon economy.
Call for Applications for studies exploring inequalities by our REACH programme
A total of 150,000 is available until August 2019 for new studies to explore inequalities in three REACH observatories: Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya. The funding seeks to explore how water (in)security contributes to socio-economic inequalities, particularly for women and disabled people.
Researchers can now blame warming for individual disasters
In a new article published in EE News, Professor Myles Allen recounts the scientific journey into attributing single weather events to climate change. The science has emerged over the last 15 years, from being an impossible idea into a reality, and is now one of the most rapidly expanding subfields of climate science.
Anticipating disruption: At the nexus of technology and infrastructure
KPMG Insights magazine interviews Professor Jim Hall and other leading infrastructure gurus to find out how they think technology will influence the world of infrastructure.
How do we make our food systems more resilient?
In a blog post for 'Food Science and Technology', ECI's John Ingram discusses the different strategies for addressing global food system resilience, and the opportunities that this will create in the food sector.
The forests behind the label - Why standards are not enough
Have you ever checked where your furniture is being sourced from? Does your retail supplier even know which forest provided the timber? In this TEDx talk, Constance McDermott explains the importance of paying attention to these details and the overall impact it can have on the supply chain for timber.
Let's say Auf Wiedersehen to England's embarrassing tuition fees
"Education in Germany is seen as a public good, something that benefits society as a whole, rather than a product that can be sold." Professor Danny Dorling and Dr Benjamin Hennig observe how Germany's tuition-free Higher Education system boasts a higher proportion of young people who attend University compared to the UK.
Global warming made Hurricane Harvey deadly rains three times more likely, research reveals
New research by the World Weather Attribution initiative has found that the unprecedented rain and flooding from Hurricane Harvey was 15% more intense due to climate change. Read the full story in the Guardian news report...
A green 'Belt and Road Initiative' is a global imperative
A new international collaboration by the SSEE Sustainable Finance Programme will improve understanding of financial and environmental risks posed by Belt and Road projects. Find out more in the China Dialogue blog post by Programme Director Ben Caldecott.
ECI win two runner-up prizes in the Oxford University 'Picture this!' competition
ECI's Ali Shenkin and Sallie Burrough were awarded runner up prizes for their field work photos in the competition. The judges were wowed by Sallie's image of a star lit Kalahari sky during geological fieldwork in one of the world's largest salt pans; and Allie's photo of local partners using a new method to gather data from tree crowns in Africa.
Is the UK doing enough to meet carbon emissions targets?
In an ITV news report, researcher Gavin Killip is filmed in his home highlighting the merits of his eco-renovation. Homes account for a fifth of the UK's carbon emissions and have gone up by two percent between 2014 and 2015.
Brazil's Cerrado forests won't be saved by corporate pledges on deforestation
Dr Paul Jepson and current DPhil student, Sergio Henrique Collao de Carvalho, explore why Brazil's Cerrado forests won't be saved from deforestation by corporate pledges in an article in the Conversation.
DePICT So Paulo Fieldwork Complete
Fieldwork in the second DePICT research site, the city of So Paulo, Brazil, recently came to a close with a final stakeholder workshop on the 29th of November 2017.
Be Inspired: Short talks from Inspiration Fund winners
At the end of 2017, SoGE Inspiration Award winners were invited to each give a 7-minute talk on their 'innovative' project. From network-building and interdisciplinary collaborations with artists, web-tool and website building, to a public'head-hunt' and environmental work with school-children, all Inspiration Award projects proposed work that was totally new.
SoGE hosts course for geography teachers
Alumni events are not the only opportunity to revisit the School. In July, one of the Royal Geographical Society's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses took place at the department, and alumna Sarah Murnane (nee Lee, Jesus 1995-98) was one of the geography teachers attending.
SoGE showcases its talent at Oxford's Meeting Minds Alumni Weekend
From green economy, military power and the future of international relations, to smart energy metres and cutting-edge maps: these were the topics covered by SoGE academics at Meeting Minds 2017. After a lunch with alumni in the Herbertson Room, recent prizewinning graduates received their certificates from Professor Danny Dorling and were welcomed into the School's alumni community.
Mega-events transport seminar makes the national news in Brazil
In November, the TSU and the Brazilian Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) co-organised a seminar entitled "Transport legacy of mega-events, equity and the future of public transport in Rio de Janeiro". Hosted by Ipea, the event garnered interest from specialists in the field as well as the media and was covered by various national TV channels and newspapers in Brazil.
New and expectant parents wanted for study on impacts of austerity on parental well-being
What is everyday life like for new parents in Oxford today? A new project funded by the Wellcome Trust and led by Dr Jennie Middleton will explore the impacts of government spending cuts on the caring practices and well-being of new parents. The project is seeking parents from across a range of backgrounds and residential areas.
Living with pollution in rural China
SoGE's Dr Anna Lora-Wainwright talks about her new book 'Resigned Activism', a study of how people in rural China have responded to pollution. Studies tend to focus on activist movements, she explains, and "less attention is given to individual responses - to fatalism, resignation and how pollution is naturalised. But if we want to understand environmentalism, we also need to understand these processes".
Professor David Thomas announced as Chair of Geography and Environmental Studies sub-panel for REF2021
Following nominations from subject bodies and HEFCE's selection process, Professor David Thomas has been announced as a member of Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 Panel C and Chair of Sub-panel 8, Geography and Environmental Studies.
What does a 'gap-free' science-policy interface look like? iConnect
A new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report published on 2 December cites Oxford's iConnect project as an example of how "sound science can play an important role in creating the political will to shape policies". Researcher Dr Christian Brand (TSU, ECI) comments: "Promoting active travel is one of the rare policies that has proven to provide multiple benefits... public health, air quality, noise, climate and - last but not least - the economy."
Celebrating Oxford's outstanding interdisciplinary environmental research
The recent ONE network event at Oxford's Natural History Museum brought together over 250 academics,researchers and graduate students to showcase the work of the Oxford Networks for the Environment. Members of the School of Geography and the Environment and its research centres took part in the event, which included a lively discussion and lecture on the Anthropocene by Professor Will Steffen.
Maximising Home Delivery of Groceries - Insights on Consumer Behaviour
The TSU's Tim Schwanen and Christian Brand showcased the results of the EPSRC project Maximising Home Delivery of Groceries - Insights on Consumer Behaviour at the final project workshop at the Royal Geographical Society, London to a diverse and select audience of academics, policy makers and industry.
Stopping the Nile: new dam for Ethiopia
Geographic magazine reports on impact that a new hydropower development in Ethiopia is having on Egypt's already fragile water supply. ECI's Kevin Wheeler highlights some of the risks and warns that media exaggerations surrounding the impacts on Egypts water availability will not help negotiators between the two countries have a rational dialogue.
The true cost of food: industry, academia and civil society meet to discuss the valuation of environmental, social and health impacts from food systems
Representatives from some of the world's largest food companies, civil society, and academia, met in Oxford earlier this year to discuss standardising how we measure and value the environmental, social and health impacts from food systems. This forms part of an ongoing effort in the ECI's food group to regulate food products and companies in proportion to their net damage.
Dr Abrar Chaudhury leads and launches the World Bank sponsored Pakistan Climate-Smart Agriculture Country in Pakistan.
ECI's Alum Abrar Chaudhury presented the Pakistan Climate-Smart Agriculture profile in Pakistan at a launch event to a high level delegation chaired by the Minister of National Food Security. The report outlines recommendations to help meet Pakistan's climate and food security goals.
El Nino might speed up climate change
New research by Professor Yadvinder Malhi and his team, and reported in Scientific American, provides data to demonstrate that El Nino events boost CO2 levels, which may, in turn, speed up climate change.
Dogs and Microbes in the Thames
Our rivers are chronic recipients of sewage. The implications of this on the health of dogs that use our rivers for swimming, playing and drinking have not been assessed. A new SoGE pilot study involving Oxfordshire dogs and their owners aims to understand the effect of river pollution on dogs' health.
INTALInC in Nigeria
The TSU's Ersilia Verlinghieri participated in the third workshop of the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities (INTALInC) project at the end of October. Held in Lagos, Nigeria, the workshop focused on 'Transport and Mobilities: Meeting the needs of informal settlement and slum dwellers in Nigeria'.
Reflections on falling life expectancy in the UK
Life expectancy in Britain has fallen so much that a million years of life could disappear by 2058, say Oxford's Professor Danny Dorling and Hong Kong's Stuart Gietel-Basten. The latest projections from the Office for National Statistics herald the end of 110 years of steadily improving life expectancy in the UK, they write. "The implications for this are huge and the reasons the statistics were revised is a tragedy on an enormous scale."
Micro Grids for Rural Communities - case studies, optimisations and interuniversity field study proposals in Africa
On Tuesday 28th November, Professor Andrea Micangeli, Sapienza University of Rome, presented his research on Microgrids for Rural Electrification to members of the SSEE. He focused on initiatives developing electrification strategies for rural communities through Mini-Grids, starting from social needs in order to optimise the technical sizing and energy related activities on site. The aim is to improve significantly the present methodologies for rural electrification.
New report raises alarm at vanishing wealth of nature
New research led by Professor Cameron Hepburn calls for rapid action by governments in order to protect the natural world. The new research, launched at the World Forum on Natural Capital, shows that governments' Ministries of Finance and Treasuries are often blind to how dependent economies are on nature.
What is right with energy efficiency?
In a new commentary for the Journal 'Building Research and Information', researchers Tina Fawcett and Jan Rosenow present their arguments in favour of the role of energy efficiency in transitioning to a low-carbon future.
The world needs to rethink the value of water
Research, published in the journal Science and led by Oxford, highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to guide better policy and practice.
Getting to grips with uncertainty across multiple scales
Policy makers, practitioners and academics from around the world gathered this week in Oxford for the 5th Annual Workshop on Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty to discuss how to help governments, companies, and international agencies get to grips with these uncertainties.
Responsible chocolate is about protecting both forests and cocoa farmers' livelihoods
Researchers from the ECI have responded to the recent announcement by Ghana and the cocoa industry that they intend to end deforestation in the country, with a new article in The Conversation.
Enterprise and the Environment Summer School confirmed for 2018
We are delighted to announce the return of the SSEE Enterprise and the Environment Summer School, which will take place from 1-13 July 2018 at the School of Geography and Environment. Early bird applications from all those interested in the nexus between enterprise and the environment are welcome now.
A call to end austerity
In advance of the UK's winter budget 2017, academics including Halford Mackinder Professor Danny Dorling have called for the Chancellor to end austerity. The letter cites research published earlier this year, co-authored by Dorling, which quantified the number of early deaths linked to NHS spending cuts and the social care crisis.
The Autumn Budget: An opportunity for the energy sector to get ahead
The government should provide greater certainty for investors in cleaner electricity and vehicles in the Autumn Budget this week, according to experts at the UK Energy Research Centre. "In the short term the government needs to invest much more into public transport, walking and cycling. Ultimately, we will need to change the way we travel," UKERC Co-Director and TSU/ECI researcher Christian Brand commented.
Squatting makes the world a better place
Covering the eviction of one of Britain's "highest-profile and most politically significant squats" -Grow Heathrow - the Guardian cites Dr Alexander Vasudaven's work, documenting how the economic crisis has been followed by a crackdown on squatters' rights across Europe and north America.
How squats can shape the cities they're in
Vice interviews SoGE Associate Professor Alexander Vasudevan on his new popular history on squatting: 'The Autonomous City'. "Squats may disappear but they politicise people's lives," Vasudevan comments. "It is often an instrumental and formative moment for them. These are moments that point to different ways in which we might think about how we house ourselves in cities."
Legal Implications from Climate-Related Risk for Global Institutional Investors in Civil Law Jurisdictions
Smith School academics Dr Kim Schumacher and Dr Ben Caldecott were awarded a RCUK Innovation Fellowship for their project: Legal Implications from Climate-Related Risk for Global Institutional Investors in Civil Law Jurisdictions. This will enable Kim to spend one day a week at ClientEarth for the purposes of knowledge exchange from 15th October through to 31st March 2018.
Navigating the Data Revolution: TReNDS Annual Learning Session
To mark the launch of Counting on the World, the new report from Sustainable Development Solutions Network's Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (SDSN TReNDS), students and experts came together for a three-part Learning Session on Data for Development at the Columbia School of Journalism. Smith School's Alex Fischer contributed a case study to the report and presented his research in the first panel session on the interoperability of data relating to water quality in Bangladesh.
Is there an international case for Trump's "One-in-Two-Out" order?
Profs Bob Hahn and Andrea Renda (Center for European Studies) have undertaken an international comparative study which suggests that deregulatory policy is stronger as a political symbol than an economic stimulus. Their research followed President Trump's issuance of an executive order that directed agencies to eliminate two existing federal regulations for every new regulation issued.
Meeting Kenyan girls' thirst for groundwater knowledge through 'Water Clubs'
The SSEE Water Programme's Gro for GooD project (funded by NERC, ESRC and UKAid) supports Kenyan students to better understand groundwater research that directly impacts their own communities. In partnership with Base Titanium Ltd, water clubs at three secondary schools are providing activities including: hands-on sessions about groundwater recharge, storage and pollution; practical experiments to test safe water; installing and gathering data from rain gauges; and field trips to see industrial water use and borehole drilling.
UK funds rank worst for climate change impact
Financial Times - British funds rank worst in Europe for climate change impact, in a sign that UK asset managers are lagging behind their peers when assessing the investment risks of global warming. Article features comment from Dr Ben Caldecott.
Taking stock of climate pollutants - The launch of a new Oxford Martin Programme on Climate Pollutants
While global leaders meet at COP23 to tackle global warming, Oxford launches a new programme into the effects of major pollutants on climate. The programme will investigate how we can best link emissions with warming.
'Help us learn more about endangered forest elephants'
In a guest post for the Oxford University Science Blog, ECI DPhil student Anabelle Cardoso calls on the public for help in a citizen science project to help us better understand the endagered African forest elephant.
Pathways to 1.5C: following Oxford University at COP23
Follow Oxford University at the 23rd annual Climate Negotiations in Bonn, where the world's nations meet under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the aim of halting dangerous global warming.
Atmospheric rivers could increase flood risk by 80 per cent
The global effect and impact of atmospheric rivers on rainfall, flooding and droughts has been estimated for the first time - revealing that in some regions the risks can be enhanced by up to 80 percent.
'Ancient Mexican blue corn energy bar' Jubami seeks funding
Recent DPhil graduate, Alexandra Littaye, has launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to raise money to make an energy bar out of 'ancient Mexican blue corn'.
The Claudia Charter for Safer Cycling in Oxford
The Claudia Charter for Safer Cycling in Oxford will be launched on the 9 November at 17:30 at the Tap Social in Oxford. The charter has been collaboratively created by Broken Spoke, Cyclox, two of Oxford's City Councillors, members of the ECI, and friends of Claudia. They aim to "spark conversations, support dialogue and create positive change - things that Claudia was always working towards".
UCL and Oxford team up with Indian government to research energy demand
Oxford University are partnering with University College London on a new four-year research project with the Indian government to research how best to reduce energy demand in urban areas.
News from a scientific frontier: the complexity of field-to-river connectivity in the Rother catchment
John Boardman and Dave Favis-Mortlock explore the dynamics of soil erosion and river sedimentation in a catchment in South East England. Their research suggests that high sediment loads are threatening the ecological status of the riverine ecosystem.
New Car Club study launched
Car-sharers in London and Oxford are invited to take part in TEMPEST, an international research project exploring how people can be encouraged to use car clubs. The TSU's Dr Brendan Doody, who is running the UK-element of the study, hopes to discover personal and household travel patterns, as well as people's motivations for and experiences of car-sharing.
Water Wars
The 2011 drought in Russia, which led to wheat trade embargos, is said to have been a contributing factor to the Arab Spring. SoGE Visiting Professor David Grey shares his thoughts on the rising demand for water and its geopolitical consequences: "The problems of the complex parts of the world are problems for all of us and, if we don't contribute to a solution, then we will all suffer," he says.
SoGE solar power farm switched on
As of the 23 October the School of Geography and the Environment began using the electricity generated from solar panels on the roof of the Oxford University Centre for the Environment. This move towards renewable energy infrastructure is a further example of the department's commitment to reducing its environmental impact, and fulfills one element of its sustainability plan, which was rewarded with a 'Gold' Green Impact Award earlier this year.
The deadly germ warfare island abandoned by the Soviets
Since Vozrozhdeniya Island was used as a Cold War bioweapons testing facility, and later as an anthrax dumping ground in 1980s, there have been few visitors to the remote site located on the Kazakh-Uzbek border. In a BBC Future feature, SoGE's Dr Nick Middleton recounts his dangerous expedition to Vozrozhdeniya in 2005.
Blended finance for water infrastructure: hope or hype?
Dr Alex Money explores the possibility of blended finance as a mechanism for funding water infrastructure in this blog post for the IRC. He concludes that more catalytic innovation is needed in order for blended finance to have a transformative impact on the sector.
Adding up the benefits of walking and cycling
The TSU's Dr Christian Brand attended the 2017 International Cycling Conference, where the new WHO HEAT 4.0 tool that he has helped to develop was previewed. Scientific robustness, as well as usability and transparency are at the heart of the HEAT design, which may be used by local authorities across more than 50 countries in the future, to help them quantify the benefits of walking and cycling in their local communities.
ECI Alumni Day and Dinner
On 2 September, ECI alumni, students and staff gathered for their annual Alumni Day of talks featuring an 'Environmentalist Soft Skills' seminar and a pre-dinner talk from Dr Vanessa Timmer (1996-97) co-founder and CEO of One Earth. The day was topped of with dinner at The Queen's College, Oxford.
1967 geographers' reunion
On 29 September, a group of Oxford geographers came together to celebrate 50 years since they joined the School of Geography. The day began with tea and coffee in the former School of Geography premises on Mansfield Road and was followed by talks and tours at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, from the department's Professor Patricia Daley, Dr Martin Coombes and Development Officer Ian Curtis.
Developing robust adaptation plans for Ghana's agricultural climate change regime.
Researchers pilot a new five step framework to plan for the growing and increasingly uncertain challenge of climate change in Ghana's agriculture systems.
Coping with Disruptive Change - this year's tenth annual AllianzGI-Oxford Conference
Coping with Disruptive Change - the theme of this year's tenth annual AllianzGI-Oxford Conference at Worcester College attracted more than eighty invited representatives from Allianz, clients, academics and other institutions interested in the impact of technological and political disruptions on the global outlook for pension funds. Lively discussions and informative presentations were held with a host of highly renowned international speakers from Germany, Canada, Australia and the USA. Adam Boulton, Editor-in-Large of Sky News entertained the delegates with current political and historical insights from his perspective as the current presenter of All Out Politics and Week in Review. As pension provision has undergone and is undergoing significant transformations, this forum continues to provide an excellent opportunity to access current information and discuss implications.
Can we prevent financial hardship as populations age, working lives change?
A new study by Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) in collaboration with the Smith School (Sarah McGill, Noel Whiteside and Gordon L Clark) describes how governments, employers, insurers, intermediaries and individuals can work together to close income protection gaps. The study is based on extensive research and outlines practical recommendations to address critical issues - public and private partnerships can play a crucial role and financial education is key to securing personal financial security.
4.9million to further increase resilience and sustainability of the UK food system
The UK's Global Food Security programme, co-ordinated by ECI, has announced a further 5 interdisciplinary research projects to ensure greater resilience of the UK's food supply.
Why is the internet so white and western?
SOGE Research Affiliate Professor Mark Graham writes with Anasuya Sengupta on the skewed geography of the internet. Whilst sub-Saharan Africa has 10 percent of the world's internet users, less than 1 percent of domain names are registered there. "Google and other key mediators of information should have a responsibility to ensure that communities around the world are not flooded with foreign content, and that the internet begins to resemble the network for billions that it is meant to be," they write.
New Mentoring Scheme launched
SoGE is pleased to announce the launch of a new department-wide mentoring scheme. The Geography and the Environment Mentoring Scheme - known as 'GEMS' - is open to any member of staff or DPhil student at the School of Geography and the Environment. It aims to help staff and students achieve personal and professional growth, with the support and guidance of a more experienced mentor. With mentors and mentees drawn from across the department, the School hopes to build an even more collegial and cohesive community of staff and students.
Scientists complete conservation 'atlas of life'
An international team of scientists have completed the 'atlas of life' - the first global review and map of every vertebrate on Earth. Lead author, SoGE Honorary Research Associate Dr Uri Roll said: 'Lizards especially tend to have weird distributions and often like hot and dry places, so many of the newly identified conservation priority areas are in drylands and deserts.'
Top Oxford art prize for doctoral student Sam Hampton
Sam Hampton was awarded Oxford Art Society's young artist of the year for his painting of the Iraq war.
Up to 8,000 deaths a year may be caused by rising bed-blocking
A new paper co-authored by Danny Dorling asks if the rise in UK mortality rates since 2015 can be explained by the increase in delayed discharges of NHS patients. Whilst the exact number of deaths due to bed-blocking is unclear, the statistical link is significant. "When you block beds you see overall mortality of the population go up," says Dorling. "This is evidence that says when you push the system too far it does have an effect."
Finding the sweet-spot for the planet and humans: Kate Raworth to present her 'Big Idea' of doughnut economics for the 21st Century at the ECI
The ECI is proud to announce that Visiting Research Fellow, Tutor and Advisory Board member Kate Raworth will present her new vision of economics for the 21st century, as part of the its Big Ideas Seminar Series.
SoGE undergraduate awarded food geographies dissertation prize
The Food Geographies Working Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) awarded Louis Rawlings' (2014, Christ Church) 2nd place in its undergraduate dissertation prize. You can read Louis' winning dissertation, 'An exploration of knowledge production through GIS in the context of the UK food desert debate: Constructing the Food Access Radar', online.
Is grass-fed beef good or bad for the climate? Our new report investigates.
An international research collaboration has shed light on the impact that grass-fed animals have on climate change. Its new study adds clarity to the debate around livestock farming and meat and dairy consumption.
Climate change made Lucifer heatwave far more likely
Research by the World Weather Attribution project, involving ECI scientists, has found that Europe's Mediterranean heatwave this summer was made 10 times more likely by climate change.
ECI awards first Claudia Comberti Scholarship
Antje Lang is the first recipient of the Claudia Comberti Scholarship for the ECI's MSc in Environmental Change and Management
London's power play proves cities can fight Uber
WIRED talks to TSU Director Tim Schwanen about the "great experiment" in London, where TfL have pulled Uber's operating licence due to security concerns. "TfL have thrown into question now this whole idea that these services are inevitable" says Schwanen.
At the heart of London's housing crisis is the decline of 'middle-income' households
Richard Florida writes in The Sunday Times about the 'new urban crisis' in which London's poorly paid service workers are being priced out of the city. He cites research from Danny Dorling and Benjamin Hennig identifying the decline of "middle-income" households over the last three decades.
Dr Ben Caldecott joins the Government's Green Finance Taskforce
HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will co-host a Taskforce to accelerate the growth of green finance, and help deliver the investment required to meet the UK's carbon reduction targets. Dr Ben Caldecott joins other industry experts, including Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange and Michael Sheren, Senior Adviser, Bank of England.
What do people really mean when they talk about "Loss and Damage" from climate change?
In new research published today in the journal Nature Climate Change scientists analyse discussions about how to address "Loss and Damage" from climate change, by exploring what people really understand by the term.
We must accelerate transitions for sustainability and climate change, experts say
We must move faster towards a low-carbon world if we are to limit global warming to 2C this century, experts have warned. Changes in electricity, heat, buildings, industry and transport are needed rapidly and must happen all together, according to researchers at the universities of Sussex, Manchester and Oxford in a new study published in the journal Science.
When media sceptics misrepresent our climate research we must speak out
Our climate paper underlined that strong action towards the 1.5C Paris goal is perhaps more valid than ever, but reading some of the media coverage you might think the opposite was true
Internet activism, pipeline politics and climate change in North America
Recent graduate from our ECM programme, Jodie McNeill, examines how internet activism is impacting public conversations around pipeline politics and climate change in North America in a recent paper published in the Annals of American Association of Geographers.
Tracking driftwood gives researchers insight into past Arctic Ocean changes
Wood from trees that fell into Arctic-draining rivers thousands of years ago is providing insights into how Arctic Ocean circulation has changed over the past 12,000 years. A new study by Georgia Hole (DPhil candidate) and Dr Marc Macias-Fauria used nearly 1,000 pieces of driftwood collected from Arctic shorelines since the 1950s to infer ocean currents and sea ice dynamics in the Arctic during the Holocene.
New hopes for limiting warming to 1.5C
A new paper in Nature Geoscience suggests that limiting warming to 1.5C, the target set by the Paris Agreement, is possible if strong action is taken.
The English have a miraculous power of turning wine into water (...energy, and food)
Blog post by ECI researcher George Garrett on recent workshop exploring the future of UK Wine and the role of Smart Technology in the industry.
Derek McCormack becomes Professor of Cultural Geography
We are delighted to announce that Derek McCormack, member of the School of Geography and the Environment, and Fellow of Mansfield College, has had the title of Professor of Cultural Geography conferred on him by the University, in recognition of his academic distinction.
Walls and Wordsworth
"What if the romantics were on to something?" asks Professor Heather Viles, "what if plants are good for ruins?". A new video profiles the work of Professor Viles and Oxford Rock Breakdown Laboratory researchers, who have discovered that 'soft capping' of plants atop stone walls actually helps protect the structures below.
One day in the UK
Honorary Research Associate Benjamin Hennig takes to the skies above the United Kingdom to discuss the North-South divide in a documentary for Franco-German channel ARTE. Hennig explains how industrialisation and deindustrialisation has changed the country, especially in the north. [21m]
Dr David Thomas heads first review of physical geography
The International Benchmarking Review of UK Physical Geography has been published by the Royal Geography Society. The project, led and lead-authored by Professor David Thomas, provides the first report on the health and influence of UK physical geography.
A pioneering portrait
When Professor Judith Pallot first joined the University of Oxford in 1979 she was the first female Official Student of Geography at Christ Church College. Now, marking the end of her 38-year academic career at Oxford, Emeritus Professor Judith Pallot achieves another first; becoming the first female Fellow to feature on the walls of Christ Church's Hall.
Only local Amazonians can bring true sustainable development to their forests
The ongoing battle over mining rights in the Amazon has intensified following federal input and public outrage in Brazil. Read more about recent development in a new article by Erika Berenguer in The Conversation.
Emissions from top Fossil Fuel producers found to be responsible for up to half of global temperature rises
A new study in Climatic Change is the first to directly link global climate change to the product-related emissions of specific fossil fuel producers, including BP and Shell.
Photography is transforming British birdwatching
Dr Paul Jepson reflects on the history and future of birdwatching, in the journal British Birds. "Bird photography represents more than a new investment case and income stream for our cash-strapped reserves," he writes, "it offers the opportunity for birdwatching to forge a new identity and shape new visions for bird conservation, public engagement and nature-based economies."
Improving Climate Models for Africa Requires African Perspectives
Africa's huge regional variation of "climate features" means that the continent lags behind the rest of the world in climate model development, says a new SoGE research paper. The paper, lead-authored by Dr Rachel James, suggests that an African climate model "hub", drawing on the wealth of local weather and climate expertise across the continent, would fast-track understanding and improvement of African climate models.
Unlocking Britain's First Fuel
In a new policy brief for the UKERC, Professor Nick Eyre suggests that energy efficiency measures could reduce energy bills by 270 for average households.
An evolving outlook: new insights on island biogeography
Islands are not static slabs of rock in the ocean - they are highly geologically dynamic, changing widely over their life cycle of millions of years. In 'Island biogeography: Taking the long view of nature's laboratories' we see how this geological life of islands shape the ecology and evolution of the highly diverse plant and animal life that inhabit them.
Leading a discussion on 'data and drought' at Stockholm Water Week
On Sunday 27 August 2017, Albert Cho, Xylem's vice president of strategy and business development; Alex Fischer of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment; and Martin Doyle of Duke University and the Aspen Institute led a discussion entitled "Data Drought: An Assessment of Global Hydrological Monitoring Systems" during World Water Week in Stockholm. This year's World Water Week is focused on the theme of "Water and Waste: Reduce and Reuse" and will be attended by more than 3000 professionals from 300 businesses, agencies and non-governmental organizations. World Water Week also features the Stockholm Water Prize Award Ceremony and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Ceremony. Xylem is a founding sponsor of the Stockholm Water Prize and founding global sponsor of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). Key members of the SSEE Water Team - Rob Hope, Dustin Garrick and Alex Money will also be engaged in a wide variety of sessions during World Water Week.
2017 'Best Dissertation Award' presented to Dr Abrar Chaudhury
Abrar's research on the implementation and design of climate change adaptation policy in developing countries has won him the prestigious award from the Organisation and Natural Environment Division (ONE) at the Academy of Management.
The likelihood of floods is changing with the climate
The Economist examines the changing risk of extreme weather events, with comments from Professor Myles Allen.
Hurricane Harvey is the type of extreme rainfall event we would expect to see more of in a warming climate
A recent article for BBC news online reviews some of the complex arguments involved in attributing extreme weather events to climate change, with comment from Friederike Otto.
Earliest known rainforest occupation by modern humans discovered
SoGE Associate Professor Richard Bailey was part of the team of scientists who have proven that anatomically modern humans (AMH) lived on the southeast Asian island Sumatra, between 73,000 and 63,000 years ago. Dating fossilised human teeth found in the ice-age Lida Ajer cave, the research team say this discovery "underscores the importance of reassessing the timing and environmental context of the dispersal of modern humans out of Africa."
Now we know most international students go home after their courses - the vilification must end
Dr Johanna Waters discusses the news that previous assumptions about international students overstaying their visas were incorrect and calls for a fresh evaluation of assumptions that are taken for granted about international students in the UK.
Understanding Regulatory Innovation
Smith School's Professor Robert Hahn and Andrea Renda, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels have just published a Working Paper on 'Understanding Regulatory Innovation: The Policy Economy of Removing Old Regulations before Adding New Ones'. They provide a comprehensive review of the innovation in regulatory policy that a regulation must be removed before a new one can be added. They argue that the requirement to remove one or more new regulations is best understood in terms of symbolic politics.
United Hates of America
Honorary Research Associate Benjamin Hennig draws a map of the 917 USA hate groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Centre in 2016. "Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016 has brought hate groups further into the spotlight," writes Hennig, "[with] a significant number of hate incidents immediately after the election, and 37 per cent of the 1,094 investigated bias incidents referring directly to the then president-elect or using his campaign slogans."
Back to the wild: How nature is reclaiming farmland
Farmland is shrinking for the first time on record thanks in part to consumer choices, writes SoGE DPhil student Joseph Poore, in the New Scientist. "Can we use this opportunity to build a world where farming has a smaller footprint, and nature gets a chance to rebound from the huge toll we have inflicted upon it?" he asks.
International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
"Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment." The School of Geography and the Environment is home to indigenous scholars, as well as non-indigenous researchers who work with indigenous communities. Read about how the department aims to better understand local and traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous resource management, through the research that it supports.
In Memoriam: Dame Helen Alexander (1957-2017)
We are sad to learn of the death of our distinguished alumna Dame Helen Alexander, who passed away on 5 August, aged 60. Helen read Geography at Hertford College from 1975-1978 and went on to become one of Britain's most influential and successful women in business.
Rafael Pereira selected to receive the 2017 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship
The Lee Schipper family and WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities are pleased to announce that Rafael Pereira has been selected to receive the 2017 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship alongside Joanna Moody. Rafael Pereira's research will investigate the impact of transport investments on existing inequalities in public access to economic opportunities. Pereira will focus his research on Rio de Janeiro and develop a model to evaluate access to educational, health and employment opportunities that can be applied to other cities in developing countries.
TSU take part in the CIED's inaugural summer school
TSU director, Tim Schwanen and Departmental Research Lecturer, Debbie Hopkins, both took part in the Centre of Innovation and Energy Demand's summer school, on the topic of 'accelerating innovation to reduce energy demand'.
IFSTAL Summer School: building a food systems community
The Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL) programme, recently held its second summer school, a week-long fully-funded residential event for postgraduate students who have engaged with the programme in the preceding year.
Food systems and climate change in the Canadian Maritimes
Bernard Soubry identifies key areas of intervention needed to safeguard the Canadian Maritime food system in the face of climate change in this new policy briefing published by the ECI.
6.3m funding to develop Africa's agriculture without losing biodiversity and harming human societies
Researchers from the Environmental Change Institute have been awarded funding from the Research Councils UK's Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) as part of a 5 million project to look into social and environmental trade-offs in African agriculture.
Inspiring UNIQ students to apply to study geography at Oxford
From 16-21 July the School of Geography and the Environment welcomed 20 prospective undergraduates from across the UK, as part of the University of Oxford's free summer school, UNIQ. "Hopefully we have inspired, as well as informed, twenty budding students to apply to Oxford," commented UNIQ Ambassador and SoGE student Liam Saddington.
Present and future flood vulnerability, risk and disadvantage
New Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, led by ECI's Paul Sayers, outlines the link between flooding and social vulnerability in the UK.
Innovators of Oxford
Dr Russell Layberry talks to Oxford University's Blueprint magazine about innovation within Oxford University and his work using mobile phone technology for environmental monitoring.
Is that tree about to snap?
SoGE DPhil student Toby Jackson writes about his research into the strength of trees in natural forests. Using strain gauges and wind speed anemometers, he hopes to predict the critical wind speed of trees in the UK and Borneo, increasing our understanding of the world's carbon-absorbing forests that help combat climate change.
Why renewables are winning the 'carbon war'
Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury and SolarAid expresses his views on the rise of renewables at a talk given at the Environmental Change Institute. He described major trends in what he said was an epic drama: society mobilising for climate action, the exponential growth of renewables, and the steady decline of the fossil fuel industry.
Aviva Investors demands greater climate change disclosure
Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Sustainable Finance programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, comments in an article by the Financial Times on the UK fund house's plans to vote against companies that do not reveal their global warming risks.
Peak car? Driverless technology may actually accelerate car ownership
Without careful planning, autonomous vehicles (AVs) could create more problems for our transport system than they solve, writes Dr Tim Schwanen in the Guardian. "As long as AV developments revolve around vehicles and technology rather than people and everyday mobility, large-scale public resistance is a genuine risk."
Bike-sharing companies battle for market share in the UK
TSU Director Dr Tim Schwanen talks to ChinaPlus about the recent launch of bike-sharing schemes in the UK by rival Chinese companies Mobike and Ofo. He says these new companies are copying business models they've had success with in China, scaling up rapidly in the hope that multi million investments now will create a lucrative market in the future.
An artistic interpretation of data: partnering ECI with Modern Art Oxford
The Environmental Change Institute partnered with the arts community in a workshop to visualise datasets relating to environmental change.
Visualising extreme weather events around the world: are they linked to climate change?
A new map showing how climate change is affecting extreme weather is making the rounds on social media after the Carbon Brief published it on 6th July.
Towards a Fairer Gig Economy
"People around the world are waking up to a new world of work," writes SoGE Research Affiliate Mark Graham and co-editor Joe Shaw, in their new pamphlet examining the social and economic problems associated with the 'gig economy' and possible solutions. The collection's contributors include cycle couriers, union organisers, academics and researchers.
Looking for the sweet spot: balancing social and ecological wellbeing in sustainable chocolate
On World Chocolate Day, researcher Dr Mark Hirons writes about his work with small-holder farmers in Ghana to support sustainable chocolate production and poverty through the ECOLIMITS project.
Dr Maan Barua participates in BBC Radio 4's Natural Histories programme
Dr Maan Barua participated in BBC Radio 4's Natural Histories programme on Cows on the 4th of July. He joins Brett Westwood in investigating the peaceful, hefty, cud-chewing beasts which have been by our side for thousands of years.
Professor Nick Eyre announced as 'End Use Energy Demand Centre Champion'
Professor Nick Eyre's appointment was revealed to colleagues from the six End Use Energy Demand (EUED) Centres, attending a EUED Gala event, 3-4 July 2017 at Lancaster University. His new position is the first milestone as part of a two-stage call that will coordinate the development of a proposal for a National End Use Energy Demand (EUED) Centre.
TSU paper on EV update is top 5 most downloaded
'Modeling the uptake of plug-in vehicles in a heterogeneous car market using a consumer segmentation approach', a paper authored by the TSU's Christian Brand, with co-authors Celine Cluzel and Jillian Anable, was the fifth most downloaded article from the journal 'Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice' in the last 90 days.
Research with the 'cloud shepherds'
The mist that feeds the 'cloud forests' of northern-Kenya has reduced 70% over the last 3 decades. A new film looks at ECI researcher Dr Aida Cuni-Sanchez's project, working with local communities to understand how the cloud forest functions and the changes that are happening. "We think it's important to share our findings with local communities and to involve them," Dr Cuni-Sanchez says, so that "they can make better management decisions, so that their children and grandchildren can still live here [in the future]."
Professor David Banister gives keynote address at 25th Anniversary Meeting of NECTAR
Photos from the 2017 conference of NECTAR (Network on European Communications and Transport Activities Research) are now available online. Over the last 25 years NECTAR has played a central role in the European debate on the actual performance, the future and the European orientation of transportation systems and networks.
Strong climate change links confirmed in Western Europe's June record heat
Climate change made the intensity and frequency of such extreme June heat at least four times as likely in central England and at least 10 times as likely in Portugal and Spain, according to a new analysis by Dr Friederike Otto and colleagues working at World Weather Attribution (WWA).
How animals shape habitats, ecosystems and the global biosphere
Professor Yadvinder Malhi delivered the Zoological Society of London's annual Stamford Raffles Lecture 2017. His talk, which you can now watch online, drew on evidence from the Pleistocene to modern times and looked at examples of how animals both small (termites) and large (mammoths) can influence ecosystem structure, biomass, fire regimes and even climate.
How networks help farmers in Ghana
Having fewer network connections increases farms' vulnerability to environmental change, write Abrar Chaudhury and Chase Sova (current and former SoGE DPhil research students respectively). In their 'Insights from rural Ghana' blog, they tell the story of how one farmer's crops survived a pest infestation, where other community members (who had a single strong connection with a local NGO) created a monoculture which allowed the pests to spread quickly.
Spring and Summer alumni reunions around the world
2017 has seen SoGE alumni gather in Singapore, California, Germany and London. Browse our album of photos sent in from around the world and find out when and where the next alumni reunions will be.
In Memoriam: Peter Brown (1931-2017)
We were sad to learn that geography alumnus Peter Brown (St Edmund's Hall 1952) died on 27 May after several months of illness.
Strategic drought risk management - 8 golden rules
New research led by the Environmental Change Institute's Paul Sayers provides guidance for water managers in a changing climate. His new paper, entitled 'Strategic drought risk management: eight "golden rules" to guide a sound approach', encourages a focus on long-term outcomes for people, ecosystems and economies.
60 years on... Reunion of Oxford Geographers 1954-1957 and friends
On 14 June, a group of Oxford geographers celebrated the diamond anniversary of their graduation here at the School. 24 alumni and their guests, having travelled from as far as Australia, came together for this special reunion and enjoyed a day of reconnecting with each other and their subject.
"Once a geographer, always a geographer" - SoGE says farewell to leaving students
Trinity term is the time of Summer Eights and Varsity cricket, of Shakespeare in the park, of final exams and time to say good-bye. See photos from this year's Undergraduate and MSc leavers and find out how to make sure that you keep in touch with the department, via the alumni office.
SoGE paper wins award at XVI World Water Congress
The paper 'Cooperative filling approaches for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam', lead-authored by geography DPhil student Kevin Wheeler, was named 'Best Paper' published in the International Water Resources Association's journal Water International in 2016. The award was announced at the World Water Congress, 29 May - 3 June.
Scrambling to choose the right research site
Dr Ben Blonder records a team of ECI researchers' journey on foot through the Rocky Mountains, in search for the perfect new forest dynamics plot. This new one-hectare plot, containing several aspen tree clones, will ultimately join the Global Ecosystems Monitoring network and contribute unique data from a low-diversity temperate forest in the coming years.
IFSTAL's got OxTALENT
The Innovative Food Systems Teaching And Learning (IFSTAL) programme, led by the ECI, has been recognised for its 'Innovative Teaching and Learning with Technology' at the University of Oxford's annual OxTALENT awards, on 14 June 2017.
Trump turns his back on Paris climate deal
ECI climate scientists were among those reacting to the news at the beginning of June, that Trump will withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord. Read our storify round-up of sound-bites, climate videos and comment on the news.
Bank of England to probe banks' exposure to climate change
The Financial Times reports on the BoE's 'ground-breaking' move over financial threats posed by global warming. The Bank of England will probe banks' exposure to climate change as it steps up efforts to tackle what it says are "significant" financial threats posed by global warming. Includes comment by Dr Ben Caldecott of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Wild meat: rewilding and hunting
Dr Paul Jepson explores the relationship between society and rural futures in the latest edition of Geographical Magazine - does rewilding wild boar mean we need to hunt them?
SoGE receives awards at the University's Sustainability Showcase
The University of Oxford celebrated its sustainability stars at a prestigious awards event on the 12 June at the Sheldonian Theatre and Bodleian Library's Divinity School. The School of Geography and the Environment was presented with a Gold Green Impact Award.
What now for Brexit?
Prof Danny Dorling, Dimitris Ballas and Benjamin Hennig - authors of 'The Human Atlas of Europe' - look at the reasons behind Labour's success in the General Election and ask... what now for Brexit?
Many Projects Identified at DePICT's First Stakeholders' Workshop in So Paulo
The Oxford Transport Studies Unit's third DePICT stakeholder meeting, and inaugural meeting in Brazil, took place on 7 June 2017 at the Faculty of Public Health, University of So Paulo (USP).
Africa's digital knowledge economy worrying
Africa's position in the global digital knowledge economy is a concern, research from Sanna Ojanper and SoGE research affiliate, Mark Graham, suggests. Their recent research identifies Africa as having the smallest share of digital knowledge and warn that increasing internet connectivity alone is not enough to address the imbalance.
'Governing the smart mobility transition' at the International Transport Forum
Debbie Hopkins attended the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig, Germany, 31 May - 2 June 2017. Hopkins presented research that she is conducting with TSU Director, Dr Tim Schwanen, as part of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand.
Lifestyle, limits and Ptanque
Christian Brand presented a paper on "Lifestyle, efficiency and limits: modelling transport energy and emissions using a socio-technical approach" at the eceee 2017 Summer Study on energy efficiency, 29 May - 3 June 2017 in Giens, nr. Hyeres, France.
Dr Ersilia Verlinghieri's paper wins Webb Prize
The paper 'Transport poverty and its adverse social consequences' that Dr Ersilia Verlinghieri co-authored with Prof. Karen Lucas, Dr. Giulio Mattioli and Alvaro Guzman has been awarded with the Webb Prize (best paper on non- road transport engineering) by the ICE Publishing.
Impressions of 'high-end' climate change in Europe
In a newly published policy booklet, Dr Pam Berry and her co-editors have combined research from three major EU-funded research projects - IMPRESSIONS, HELIX AND RISES-AM - to put together a hundred-page summary of knowledge on the possible impacts and adaptation options for global warming of over 2c. The volume covers agriculture, forestry and nature conservation, freshwater and coastal protection, as well as human health and urban sectors.
SoGE's student photography competition launches
Do you have great photos from this year's field trips? All current School of Geography and the Environment students are invited to participate in our annual field trip photo competition. The winning pictures will be published in the 2018 SoGE Calendar 'From the Field'.
Dr Fiona Ferbrache and the British Ambassador to France present on British-French futures in Prigueux
Further to the 'Britons beyond Brexit' meeting which took place in Spain in April, Dr Fiona Ferbrache organised, introduced and presented on the future of EU citizenship at the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Prigueux, France, Friday 2nd June.
Royal Society research for a sustainable global food system
The global food system may be built on an unsustainable model says Professor Eric Wolff, summarising a recent paper from the Royal Society's Global Environmental Research Committee (GERC), which includes the ECI's John Ingram and Yadvinder Mahli. The paper recognises research into the poor management of renewable natural resources and depletion of non-renewables as a key priority.
Institutional Investors in Global Markets
Oxford University Press has now published 'Institutional Investors in Global Markets' by authors Gordon L Clark (SSEE) and Ashby B Monk (Stanford University). This book provides a comprehensive overview about what institutional investors do, how they do it, and when and where they do it: it is about the production of investment returns in the global economy. Its focus is on the global financial services industry, where the building blocks underpinning the study of industrial corporations are less relevant.
Working with Customers to Improve Regulation
On the 1 June a new working paper was released which traces a new development in regulation that encourages utilities to engage directly with their customers. The aim of customer engagement is to better incorporate customers preferences in utility regulation. This research conducted by Professor Bob Hahn (SSEE), Dr Rob Metcalfe (University of Chicago) and Florian Rundhammer (Georgia State University) proposes a framework for improving the customer engagement process that applies modern tools of programme evaluation to learn about customer preferences and meet them effectively.
Almost all internet searches in Africa bring up only results from the US and France
Only eight countries in Africa have a majority of content that is locally produced. Most content comes from the United States and to a lesser extent, France, according to a new study published in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers by a research team including SoGE research affiliate, Dr Mark Graham.
Professor Jim Hall delivers Dugald Clerk Lecture 2017
Climate change and population growth are putting pressure on water supplies. Speaking to the Institute of Civil Engineers, Professor Hall explored the challenges, risks, interdependencies and possible solutions for water security in the UK. The video of his talk, entitled 'The resilience of Britain's water supplies in an uncertain future' is now online.
The Internet of everything water
The UN's African Renewal Magazine profiles the Smart Handpump, developed by researchers at the School of Geography and the Environment and the Department of Engineering Science. Lead Researcher, Patrick Thomson explains: "A device in the pump handle uses an accelerometer, just like the one in your smartphone that works out which way you are holding it, to sense the movement of the handle. From this movement we can tell if the pump is working and how much water is being produced by it."
UK's biggest solar company takes shine to global projects with deals worth 3bn
Solarcentury, run by former head of ECI energy research Jeremy Leggett, becomes an international firm as it turns to Europe and Latin America to maintain growth hit by green cuts in the UK market.
The ECI pops-up across the city as partner of Oxford Green Week
For one week in June (17-25) Oxford will become alive with culture, creativity and community activities, to inspire local people to take action against climate change. The Environmental Change Institute is proud to be a partner of Oxford Green Week 2017, and has organised pop-up events featuring its academics, across the city.
Where nature isn't natural
Returning from the a field trip from the Lake District, Ian McGregor, an MSc student in Environmental Change and Management, reflects on nature and what it means for a place to be truly natural. "The Lake District isn't natural, and it's most certainly not wild," concludes McGregor, because the region has been inhabited and shaped by its human inhabitants for the last seven centuries.
Prof Heather Viles featured on the Sky technology programme 'Swipe'
Professor Viles was demonstrating the use of non-destructive testing methods to diagnose moisture ingress and deterioration on the historic rooftop of The Vyne, a National Trust property near Basingstoke.
Three MSc students have won Tropical Agriculture Association Award funding for their dissertation research
Three MSc students, Angele Cauchois, Michaela Korodimou and Eleanor Spencer, have won funding for their dissertation research from the Tropical Agriculture Association Award Fund
Making Light Work
Dr Alex Money writes for the British Academy about his Global Challenges Research Fund project, called Making Light Work
Remembering Claudia Comberti
Staff and students of the School were shocked and saddened to learn of the death of their colleague and friend Claudia Comberti in a road accident on 9 May. Claudia was forever smiling, forever generous with her friendship and an incredibly talented environmental social scientist at the beginning of a promising career. As a testament to Claudia's life-force and passion, and at the request of her family, the School has set up a special fund in Claudia's name and memory. The Environmental Change Institute will also name their 2017-18 MSc Scholarship in her honour. She will be greatly missed.
School retains top subject ranking in 2018 Guardian University Guide
The School of Geography and the Environment has retained its top ranking in the 'Geography and Environmental Studies' subject league table in the 2018 Guardian University Guide.
Have mortality improvements stalled in England?
After decades of steady improvement, death rates in England appear to have been stagnant since 2011. Writing in a British Medical Journal editorial, Mark Fransham and Danny Dorling note that whilst this change has been recognised by the pensions industry, it has yet to be recognised by public health officials and politicians.
Professor Emeritus Judith Pallot on waiting at the prison gate in Russia
Talking to BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed programme, Prof Pallot talks about some of the features and contradictions of the Russian penal system and wider society, uncovered in her recent book 'Waiting at the Prison Gate'. "[Russian] society has very high expectations of the prioner's wife," explains Pallot, "[but] it also holds the wife or mother partially responsible for the offending behavior of her loved one."
Go on an Elephant Expedition (from the comfort of your home) and help their conservation
The School of Geography and the Environment's DPhil candidate Anabelle W. Cardoso has launched a new citizen science elephant-counting project, in collaboration with Zooniverse.org this week. The new project entitled 'Elephant Expedition' is signing up members of the public to help identify and count the animals in the Central African rainforest of Gabon from the comfort of their own home, via the project website.
Taking the Global Warming Index project to the UN
Article 14 of the Paris Agreement stated that the "global stocktake", assessing progress towards the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, should be informed "by the best available science". As part of this effort, ECI Honorary Research Associate Richard Millar was invited to present to the United Nations' Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at Bonn Climate Change Conference this month.
Sustainable growth in a low carbon economy: New survey launched for small and medium enterprises in Oxfordshire
The Growing Green project, run by Oxford University, the Open University and Oxfordshire Business Support, will investigate small-medium enterprise (SME) perspectives on sustainable growth. As part of the project, a new survey and workshops for SMEs in Oxfordshire have been launched.
The effect of 'driving characteristics' on electric vehicle (EV) energy consumption
Kezhen Hu, a visiting DPhil student at the TSU, made a presentation at the 5th European Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Congress (EEVC). His talk was entitled "'Driving characteristics' effects on EV energy consumption - a case study in Beijing".
The Human Atlas of Europe: A continent united in diversity
Prof Danny Dorling, Dr Benjamin Hennig and Dr Dimitris Ballas (University of the Aegean) have published a new human atlas of Europe. What does Brexit actually mean for the UK and what are the wider implications for Europe? Was the UK 'leave' vote actually symptomatic of broader issues within Europe such as population mobility and the rise of non-traditional parties? This timely atlas explores Europe's society, culture, economy, politics and environment using state of the art mapping techniques.
Loss and damage: Understanding climate change's consequences
Carbon Brief looks at the role of climate scientists, such as the ECI's Dr Friederike Otto and Dr Rachel James, in improving our understanding of loss and damage due to human-caused climate change. "We need to understand how climate change is influencing the probability of extreme weather events" James comments, with Otto adding that such instances, where climate change is shown to be altering the risk of damages, can create an evidence base to underpin further discussions.
Are micro electric vehicles (EVs) the future of city transport?
TSU Director Dr Tim Schwanen talks to the Guardian about the possibility of an EV revolution in the car industry. He suggests that new micro EV startups like Uniti and Eli will struggle to compete against the big players, saying instead that "popularisation of these micro EVs will depend to a substantial degree on the role of policy".
Earth's forests just grew 9% in a new satellite survey
Using satellite imagery, a new study has found hidden forests all over the world and the world's drylands host 40% more forests than previously thought. Danae Maniatis, ECI research associate and former Masters and Doctoral student, was part of a research team whose findings have been published in Science.
Dr Fiona Ferbrache presents at 'Britons beyond Brexit' seminar event in Alicante, Spain
On Wednesday 26 April, Dr Fiona Ferbrache (Lecturer in Human Geography) opened the presentations at a seminar event 'Britons beyond Brexit' in Alicante, Spain, with a talk on EU citizenship and the rights of British citizens living there.
The World Service discusses the potential of solar power around the world
Jeremy Leggett, former head of energy research at the ECI and now chief executive of Solar Century, discusses the success of solar power generation in California, where solar providers were recently asked to temporarily suspend activity.
Oxford pollution levels break health rules
Dr Christian Brand, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the TSU and ECI, responded to a recent air pollution investigation by The Times, saying: "Exceedance occurs only in a few hot spots with high traffic flows... While annual hourly means of NO2 concentrations are 20 percent above legal limits at 48 micrograms per cubic metre, it is worth remembering that the two roadside monitoring stations measuring these levels are near bus stops-with buses queuing and diesel engines idling."
Cleaning up three continents' worth of tropical forest data
Geographical Magazine shadows the ECI's Dr Ccile Girardin as she sets to work on cleaning up and analysing data from the Global Ecosystem Monitoring Network. 'We are drowning in measurements,' she says happily. 'While that means there is so much to analyse, it's thrilling because it will be the biggest study of El Nio of this magnitude.'
Alex Henry to be awarded Royal Geographical Society's 2017 Alfred Steers Prize
Alex Henry (Keble College) is to be awarded the Royal Geographical Society's prestigious Alfred Steers prize for the 'undergraduate dissertation judged to be the best in 2016'.
SoGE achieves Bronze Athena SWAN Award
We are delighted to announce that the School of Geography and the Environment's application for a Bronze Athena SWAN Award has been successful.
Professor Yadvinder Malhi elected Fellow of the Royal Society
We are delighted to announce that Professor Yadvinder Malhi has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Getting rich is largely about luck - shame the wealthy don't want to hear it
A new report confirms how the rich become deluded about their talents, but also hints at a growing acknowledgement of inequality - Prof Danny Dorling writes for The Conversation.
SoGE academics at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2017
Opening on 23 April, the EGU General Assembly 2017 brought geoscientists from 107 countries around the world to Vienna, including many academics and researchers from the School of Geography and the Environment and Environmental Change Institute.
Identifying water quality risks and modelling intervention strategies
Water pollution in large rapidly developing cities is a major problem responsible for many premature deaths and serious illnesses. In a new policy brief from the REACH project, Professor Paul Whitehead introduces a new model which can provide decision-makers with a stronger evidence base, to help them target the most beneficial investments for people, ecosystems and industry.
A new tool to understand dryland environmental change
Drylands make up more than 40% of earth and are home to more than 2bn people. Earth and Space Science News profiles a new geomorphological tool designed by SoGE researchers, which combines vegetation distribution models and sediment transport models to offer a better understanding of how dryland environments change in response to different factors.
Fighting malnutrition, we need to look beyond production
Malnutrition is the new normal, writes the ECI's Dr John Ingram in the latest Nature Outlook on Food Security, and 2-3bn people worldwide are estimated as not getting the nutrients they need. Addressing this issue will require governments and policy-makers to look beyond food production he says, explaining malnutrition's link to food consumption patterns such as preference, cultural norms, cooking skill, convenience and affordability.
Insulation for the Nation
BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth programme spoke to ECI Researcher Dr Gavin Killip about his own home's energy-saving retrofit and asks if carbon-emission cutting can save the climate. Our homes are responsible for 25% of our carbon emissions in the UK and we spend around 25bn a year on our home renovations. This, Dr Killip says, "is ideal opportunity for integrating [energy saving] work." However, there is currently not the skilled workforce to carry out the necessary retrofit renovations, nor the demand, to turn this opportunity into a reality.
Britain heads for first day of power without old king coal
Ben Caldecott, director of the sustainable finance programme at Oxford University, comments on the news that Britain has gone a whole day without burning coal for the first time since the Victorian era.
UK generates a day's electricity without coal
Share of power from the fossil fuel fell to zero on Friday for first time since 1882. Article features comment from Ben Caldecott, director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Smith School.
Oxford hosts inaugural Foresight4Food workshop and lays plans for collaboration
On March 22-23 leading international players gathered in Oxford to explore how foresight and scenario analysis for the global food system could be improved. Foresight is a key tool that governments, business and civil society can use to better understand future risks and the opportunities and to adapt - before crises hit.
Professor Yadvinder Malhi presents new avenues of research for tropical plants and ecosystem functions
As feature coordinator for a special issue of The New Phytologist, Professor Malhi shines a light on some of the latest advances in the scientific study of tropical forests, curating a selection of papers which explore traits-based ecosystem perspectives and new technological advances which, he writes, "offer new possibilities of assessing tropical forest ecophysiology at scale."
House prices can keep rising only if the Government backs mass buy-to-let
Mark Fransham, a graduate researcher in Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment, and Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford, write about the rise in the number of people renting privately in the UK commenting that "the housing ladder is becoming a fiction".
Professor Myles Allen to set out science surrounding Paris Agreement's 1.5C goal
Professor Allen will author the first chapter of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, examining the science behind the new climate goal-post of 1.5C. The report will be launched in September 2018, in time for talks scheduled later in the year to facilitate the uptake of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The man who took a Tube train back in time
SoGE Alumnus, Bill Parker (1966, Jesus) talks to Oxford Today about how his passion for steam locamotives, which began when he worked as a Oxford Station porter in the summer break from university, to his work preserving rail heritage today.
Alumni news round-up: Winter 2016-17
The final days of the Obama Presidency brought about a coincidental consensus between SoGE alumni and former staff, on both sides of the Atlantic - that the global clean energy revolution is now unstoppable. Read more about alumni activities and achievements around the globe, from the last few months.
RWE and CEZ worst prepared for move to low-carbon economy
Ben Caldecott, director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford, comments on utility companies' greater exposure as investors increasingly develop abilities to differentiate between utilities more or less vulnerable to environmental risks.
Drones, automated vehicles and robotics: Investigating the future of freight
As part of their work with the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED), and in response to the HM Government's Industrial Strategy Green Paper, TSU Director Dr Tim Schwanen, and Research Fellow Dr Debbie Hopkins hosted an industry workshop in London in March 2017, bringing together a wide-range of stakeholders to explore the role that automation and robotics might play in the freight industry in the UK.
Working locally to protect nature in Oxfordshire
ECI has joined with over 40 other organisations to help produce a new report on the state of local wildlife. State of Nature in Oxfordshire brings together an immense amount of data on hundreds of species , sadly much of it showing declines in abundance and variety.
SoGE Sustainable Food Guide launched
In a move to reduce its environmental impact, the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) launched its new 'Sustainable Food Guide' at a special 'bring and share' lunch, on Friday 24 March. The event was formally opened by Professor Heather Viles, Head of School, and was attended by special guests including local food producers and the Head of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oxford, Harriet Waters.
Great data from tiny seeds grow
The ECI's Dr Benjamin Blonder takes us on a virtual field trip, showing the journey of a cola leaf, from canopy to data sheet. Led by Dr Sam Moore, this ECI research project is working, in collaboration with Gabon's National Parks Agency, to profile different tree species' functions - measuring things like photosynthetic capacity that help predict forest function or carbon fluxes.
Professor Patricia Daley is honoured with a new Oxford portrait
More than 20 new portraits have been commissioned to reflect Oxford University's diversity, with sitters selected from over a hundred nominations of living Oxonians. The newly commissioned works, including portraits of SoGE's Professor Patricia Daley and water scholar, Kelsey Leonard, will feature in the University's central public spaces and will add to Oxford's rich collection of portraits.
The Reversing River
Dr Nick Middleton explores some rare and unusual geographical gems, as part of his 'Notebook' series for the Financial Times. This week, he dives into the Tonl Sap in Cambodia, a "swamp" that is magically transformed during monsoon season into a lake four times as large in surface area. It is fed by the only naturally 'reversing river' in the world - the Tonl Sap river.
What does a panda cub have to do with international diplomacy?
As three-year old panda Bao Bao is 'repatriated' from the National Zoo (Washington, U.S.A.) to China, Vox explains the concept of 'panda diplomacy' and profiles research from Dr Paul Jepson, which highlighted the correlation between China's panda loans and trade deals.
New paper finds natural flood prevention valuable but not 'a silver bullet'
A lack of monitoring means the true potential of natural flood prevention techniques remains unclear, says a new paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, co-authored by Professor Jim Hall. "There are some interventions for which there is very strong evidence but these tend to be in small-scale river catchments," lead author Dr Simon Dadson explains, "[however] we don't yet know whether the effects in small catchments can be extrapolated to larger ones."
Hottest year on record sparks global warming discussion
After the hottest year on record in 2016, BBC Radio Oxford asks "are we concerned enough about climate change?" Professor Myles Allen joined them to discuss climate change denial and the science behind global warming. "It is not a matter of believing... global warming is not a religion, it is a scientific fact," Allen comments, adding that "the only adequate explanation of what is going on, is that human influence is playing the dominant role."
'Fairwork Foundation' needed to protect online workers
WIRED talks to Professor of Internet Geography and SoGE Research Associate, Mark Graham, about his report on the risks of the global gig economy and its recommendations for a 'Fairwork' standard. "Fairtrade showed that enough people can be made to care about working conditions upstream in the production networks of the coffee they drink," he comments. "There is no reason why we shouldn't move that model across."
Economic tectonics
The BBC World Service asks what does financial technology, or 'fintech', mean to the sector? Professor of Economic Geography, Dariusz Wjcik explores the possibility of 'disintermediation' in the financial world; the reduction of intermediaries between the ultimate-investor and -user. "I believe a lot of profits will go away, with genuine disintermediation," Prof Wjcik commented.
DePICT engages with stakeholders as it prepares for phase two of its research in Brazil
The second stakeholders' workshop of Oxford's DePICT project, investigating community-led infrastructure initiatives that encourage walking and cycling, took place on Monday 13 March 2017 in London. Dr Denver Nixon commented: "The feedback that we received from the attendees was invaluable for guiding future project directions and enhancing our impact."
A new geography of poverty in East London
DPhil candidate Mark Fransham explores the changing patterns of deprivation, in a seminar at the Centre for East London Studies. He commented that, over the last two decades, in-work poverty has overtaken out-of-work poverty, the share of people living in poverty in private-rented accommodation has risen, and a decentralisation and suburbanisation of poverty is happening.
Weighing up the costs and benefits of cycling and eating fruit and veg
Being more physically active and having a healthier diet can reduce our chance of becoming ill and dying prematurely. New research undertaken undertaken by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research in collaboration with the TSU's Dr Christian Brand has been published in BMJ Open and helps us to quantify these benefits following small changes in behaviour.
How Not to Regulate the New Economy
In an article published today in Real Clear Markets Professor Bob Hahn and Dr Robert Metcalfe address two key economic questions: 'What are the additional economic benefits that Uber drivers provide their passengers? And what costs, say in terms of safety, might Uber drivers impose on the system that may not be accounted for in the price of a ride?'. This investigation was part of research study that investigated the benefits that Uber passengers received in the year 2015 in New York, LA, Chicago and San Francisco.
Dr Paul Jepson on Panda Diplomacy
The co-author of 'Diplomats and refugees: panda diplomacy, soft "cuddly" power and the new trajectory in panda conservation' talks to BBC Radio 5 Live about the 'living national treasure', panda Bao Bao, due to be returned to China after 3 years at the National Zoo in Washington DC.
Was last year's El Nio a practice run for future climate change?
Professor Yadvinder Malhi talks to Laura Cole about the Global Ecosystem Monitoring Network and its work to understand climate change's impact on tropical forests. "Computer models suggest the land biosphere is particularly vulnerable to climate change," Malhi comments, warning that "its carbon sink may actually 'switch off' and that forests might absorb less carbon dioxide than they emit."
Professor Myles Allen wins MPLS Division 'Lifetime Award'
Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science and Leader of the ECI's Climate Research Programme, was presented with a 'Lifetime award for successfully engaging externally and promoting impact' by the Mathematical Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) division on 14 February 2017.
Working towards preventing famine in the future
The UK's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) says at least 16 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan need food, water and medical treatment. It blames drought and conflict for the crisis - so what can be done? Patrick Thomson, Lead Researcher for the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment's Water Programme at Oxford University has a plan to help. The innovation is a UK aid funded water pump.
Around 20million don't know where their next meal will come from
Aid agencies in the South get urgent aid to famine-hit areas of Africa. The report also showcases Oxford University research, in which wireless technology attached to pumps could measure water levels in the future. Patrick Thomson, from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment's Water Programme, is interviewed outside the School of Geography and the Environment. He says this system will provide early warning systems in the case of drought, and potentially let people know in advance which pumps are working and which are not.
The world's biggest holes
Dr Nick Middleton explores the world's deepest man-made excavations, as part of his 'Geographer's Notebook' series. He describes the race to the centre of the the earth - a 'sideshow to the space race' that resulted in the USSR's 12.26km Superdeep Borehole in Kola - and the world's biggest mine (pictured above) in Salt Lake City, Utah.
New paper finds that natural measures to prevent floods valuable but not 'a silver bullet'
Lead author Dr Simon Dadson says that a lack of monitoring means the true potential of natural flood prevention techniques remains unclear. "There are some interventions for which there is very strong evidence but these tend to be in small-scale river catchments," he comments, "we don't yet know whether the effects in small catchments can be extrapolated to larger ones."
Philanthropy and Climate Change
Since its founding by Sir Martin and Lady Smith in 2008, the SSEE has gone from strength to strength in its goal to address global challenges at the nexus between enterprise and the environment. On 7th February, a celebration of the Smith benefaction featured a keynote lecture 'Philanthropy and Climate Change', by Professor Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Investment key for West African food systems to adapt successfully to climate change
A new CGIAR study involving ECI researchers has developed a package of future food scenarios for West Africa. Whilst climate change will likely have negative impacts, the scenarios illustrate how strategic planning and investment could ease the effects felt by changes in population, economic growth, deforestation, land use, food production, and trade.
School retains its place at the top of the QS World University Rankings by Subject
The University of Oxford came first in the QS World University Rankings for geography in 2017. The School of Geography and the Environment has now held the top spot, in the league table that compares the world's top 900 universities, for seven consecutive years.
Prof Clark speaks at International Employee Benefits Association conference
On 1st March 2017, Professor Gordon Clark disseminated results from the Income Protection Gap research programme to the two hundred delegates at the International Employee Benefits Association conference in Brussels. Participating in his presentation entitled 'Income Protection Gaps, Are They Here to Stay?' were Dirk Stienaerts, Adecco, and Agith-Jan Juddu, Zurich Global Employee Benefits Solutions.
Events and Engagement Co-ordinator (maternity cover) position available
The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (SSEE) in the School of Geography and the Environment seeks to appoint an Events and Engagement Co-ordinator.
Timelapse video showing stranded assets and cumulative emissions from China's current and planned coal plants
A new timelapse video showing stranded assets and cumulative emissions from China's current and planned coal plants from the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
An innovative cure for broken water pumps in Africa
At any time around a third of the water infrastructure in rural sub-Saharan Africa, from simple hand pumps to pricey solar-powered systems, is broken. Even after spending billions of dollars most international donors still cannot ensure the pumps they pay for are maintained (just 5% of rural sub-Saharan Africa has access to piped water). Many of the village committees responsible for collecting the fees that should cover repairs are dogged by nepotism and corruption. More often, though, villagers simply struggle to gather money, find a mechanic and source spare parts, says Johanna Koehler of Oxford University.
TSU take part in launch of Global Challenges Research Fund Network
Tim Schwanen and Denver Nixon of the Transport Studies Unit attended the Global Challenges Research Fund Network launch in Leeds on 22-23 February. The inaugural conference focused on the theme of 'Transport and Mobilities: Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable Populations in Developing Cities'.
Prof Linda McDowell features in British Academy 'From Our Fellows' podcast
Prof Linda McDowell talks about her own collection of 'Migrant Women's Voices' as part of the British Academy 'From Our Fellows' podcast
'Good vibration' hand pumps boost Africa's water security
The simple up-and-down motion of hand pumps could help scientists secure a key water source for 200 million people in Africa. Researchers in the School are exploring how low-cost mobile sensors can help accurately estimate the future supply.
Supporting large-scale transition to electric cars
An evidence briefing, written by Dr Christian Brand and Prof Jillian Anable, has been published by the ESRC. Moving to a low-carbon economy is an important part of the Government's Industrial Strategy. A large-scale uptake of electric cars will enable significant cuts in carbon emissions, but needs policy support.
Excess deaths in 2015 may be linked to failures in health and social care
Researchers exploring why there has been a substantial increase in mortality in England and Wales in 2015 have concluded that failures in the health and social care system linked to disinvestment are likely to be the main cause.
Hakanai (儚い): The Transformation of Transport Organisations in Japan from Archaic Times - Searching for Conceptual Frameworks
Visiting Professor John Black, University South Wales, Sydney gave his lunchtime seminar on the 14th February entitled Hakanai (儚い): The Transformation of Transport Organisations in Japan from Archaic Times - Searching for Conceptual Frameworks
The mobilities of young adults in the 21st Century
On Tuesday, the 7th of February, the second external seminar brought stimulating talks delivered by Professor Ann Berrington, Professor of Demography and Social Statistics at the University of Southampton, and Jean Taylor, Senior Policy and Partnerships Manager with Lambeth Council. Download the podcast and slides, and read a summary of the event on the TSU website.
TSU hold DePICT Meeting
On the 6th and 7th of Feburary, 2017, the three teams involved in the international DePICT project (Designing and Policy Implementation for encouraging Cycling and walking Trips) met in Oxford to discuss each team's progress to date, upcoming plans, promising areas of theoretical and empirical overlap, and potential for mutual fieldwork assistance. The DePICT teams from the University of Oxford, the University of So Paulo, and Utrecht University are funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Fundao de Amparo Pesquisa Do Estado de So Paulo (FAPESP), and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NOW), respectively.
Researchers pinpoint watery past on Mars
Prof Heather Viles and Colleagues from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a patch of land in an ancient valley on Mars that appears to have been flooded by water in the not-too-distant past. In doing so, they have pinpointed a prime target to begin searching for past life forms on the Red Planet.
IFSTAL Symposium: Technology - a silver bullet for the food system?
On Saturday 28th January the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) hosted the inaugural public symposium of the IFSTAL programme, on the theme of Technology - A silver bullet for the food system? Over 100 postgraduate students, academics, and professionals came together from a range of sectors working within agriculture, food and health, in order to discuss the use of technology in food systems.
How the world can finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
A paper co-authored by DPhil candidate Aniket Shah, 'Ideas for Action for a Long Term and Sustainable Financial System', proposes recommendations in five areas to re-orient the global financial system to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It was written for the Business and Sustainable Development Commission with Hendrik du Toit, CEO of Investec Asset Management, Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva and Aniket Shah.
A life course perspective: new mobilities and demography
The first of the Tranport Studies Unit's annual external seminar series was held on Tuesday 24th January, with invited presentations from Associate Professor Joachim Scheiner from the Faculty of Spatial Planning at Technische Universitat, Dortmund, and Clare Sheffield, Policy Analysis Manager at Transport for London. Download the podcast and slides, and read a summary of the event on the TSU website.
Green and Smart Transport
On Monday 30 January Professor Jianping Wu, Director of Future Transport Research Centre of Tsinghua-Cambridge-MIT at Tsinghua University in Beijing, visited the TSU for meetings and to give a lunchtime seminar.
The world's oldest tree
In this week's installment of 'A Geographer's Notebook' for the Financial Times, Dr Nick Middleton explores why some trees can live for thousands of years. Experts believe the oldest living tree is a Great Basin bristlecone pine, dated at 5,064 years.
Enabling world-class research into global environmental change
For a quarter of a century, Oxford's Environmental Change Institute (ECI) has been at the forefront of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, exploring sustainable solutions to the problems caused by our ever-changing environment, and promoting change for the better through partnerships and education.
What can climate models tell us about impacts at 1.5C and 2C?
ECI Research Fellow, Dr Rachel James, explains the challenges for climate scientists, as they try to simulate possible impacts of global warming, in her guest post for Carbon Brief. "The challenge is great," she writes, "but our paper suggests a number of promising directions which might provide information in time for the IPCC Special Report."
Blue-sea thinking: coral reef conservation and beyond
ECI Environmental Change and Management MSc alumnus, Alasdair Harris, talks to Oxford Today about his journey from a "transformative" gap year, witnessing the 1998-9 El Niňo's impact on Pacific coral reefs, to 'Blue Ventures', the global marine conservation organisation that he now runs today.
Don't fall into the trap of restarting last decade's 'climate wars'
"There may be more consensus than meets the eye" Professor Myles Allen speculates on the incoming Trump administration's position on climate change."Much of what they are saying is indeed demonstrably at odds with scientific evidence," he writes, "but what they are not prepared to say tells a different story - one that shows how far the debate has moved on even among the most ardent disbelievers."
A Geographer's Notebook: the greatest light show on earth
In the first of a new series for the Financial Times, SoGE's Nick Middleton looks at why Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo is the world's most lightning-prone place, "where thunderstorms occur on average 297 days a year" he writes.
Playing the long game on regulation
On 13th January Professor Robert Hahn, Director of Economics at Oxford University's Smith School, a member of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, and a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings contributed his insights about the short and long game perspective on regulations by President-elect Trump and his transition team. This was published in the Bloomberg Government column which regularly publishes insights, opinion and best practices from our community of senior leaders and decision-makers.
Church of England launches climate change ranking
Article on the a new project by investment arms and asset managers to identify companies that pose the biggest risk to climate change includes comment from Ben Caldecott, director of the sustainable finance programme at Oxford University.
The Smiths visit the smart handpump
Delivering reliable drinking water to millions of rural people in Africa and Asia is an elusive and enduring global challenge. A systematic information deficit on the performance of infrastructure and communities' demand for it limits effective policy design and development outcomes.
A letter to the British Prime Minister from the climate change research community
The ECI's Professor Jim Hall and Professor Myles Allen were among 100 signatories of a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, warning that Donald Trump's election could "severely weaken climate change research" and calling upon the UK to "respond decisively to these developments".
ECI Lecturer is awarded Wladimir Peter Kppen Prize
Dr Linus Mattauch was awarded Wladimir Peter Kppen Prize in recognition of his outstanding dissertation submitted to the Technische Universitt Berlin. This marks the first time the jury has selected a purely economic work, which the members praised as an excellent bridge-builder between the natural sciences and political action.
Measuring the 'true social cost' of carbon dioxide emissions
Professor Myles Allen has contributed to a new framework, published by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which intends to help US agencies estimate the 'social cost of carbon dioxide' (SC-CO2) emissions. SC-CO2 is an estimate, in dollars, of the net damages incurred by society from the emission of a single additional tonne of carbon dioxide in a given year.
Modelling toxic chemicals in Dhaka's Turag-Balu River
Pollution in large rapidly developing cities is responsible for many premature deaths and serious illnesses, writes Professor Paul Whitehead for the REACH project's blog. Professor Whitehead and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology colleagues have begun a new study in to water quality, which intends to evaluate pollution reduction measures.
Are the rich really getter poorer and the poor getting richer?
Professor of Human Geography, Danny Dorling, investigates the headlines statistics on 'Household disposable income and inequality', released by the Office for National Statistics on 10 January, and asks "does the median UK household now really have more disposal income than a year earlier?".
Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?
Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. The ECI's Tara Garnett, Leader of the Food Climate Research Network, is the second 'expert witness' in the BBC World Service's programme, 'The Inquiry', which looks into climate-friendly diets and what it would take to move the world towards them.
Danny Dorling discusses new Garden City in West Oxfordshire
Halford Mackinder Professor of Human Geography, Danny Dorling, discusses the government's response to the housing crisis in the UK, including plans for a private development of 2000 new homes near Eynsham. "There are no plans for cycle super-highways out to it, or a tram, or [transport infrastructure] that you would see in a normal European city," he comments, "you will get the A40 clogging to an absolute standstill."
ITRC researcher wins Lloyd's Science of Risk Prize 2016
Dr Raghav Pant, Senior Postdoctoral Researcher for the ITRC, won the prestigious Lloyd's Science of Risk Prize 2016 in Systems Modelling. His research paper explored how infrastructure systems modelling can help businesses improve their infrastructure risk management.
Attribution Science, explained
The ECI's Deputy Director, Dr Friederike Otto, talks to Scientific American about how improved computing and statistics can tie extreme events to global warming. "The science really only came into existence within the last five years," she comments, "you need to be able to simulate weather over and over again, and that was technically impossible even in the 1990s."
David Smith, FHS 2016, awarded 2016 RGS/IBG Transport Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize
David's dissertation, '"Working Mobilities": Labours, Movements and Moorings at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways', has received the RGS/IBG Transport Geography Research Group's Dissertation Prize.
Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle ECI Scientists
The New York Times reports on a new wwa.climatecentral.org study co-authored by ECI scientists, which links the abnormally high Arctic temperatures this winter to human-caused climate change. In the article Dr Friederike Otto warns that extreme Arctic warmth may become common, if climate change continues at its current pace.
Dr Norma Salinas Revilla wins Peruvian award "For women in science"
Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in Tropical Carbon Dynamics, Dr Norma Salinas Revilla, has won the national Peruvian L'Oreal award for her ecosystems research, improving our knowledge of the carbon cycle in Amazonian forests and the impacts that climate change will have on it. The national award "For women in science" was created by the L'Oral Foundation, Unesco and Concytec.
BBC Radio 4 Food Programme presenter Sheila Dillon discusses food journalism for the IFSTAL programme
Renowned investigative journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme, Sheila Dillon, spoke at SOAS University of London this week, delivering the inaugural public lecture for IFSTAL (Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning).
Louise Williams, FHS 2016, awarded runner up in 2016 RGS/IBG Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize
Louise's dissertation, 'Childhood in Crisis? Young people performing liminal P/politics at Forest School', has received the RGS/IBG Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group's runner-up Dissertation Prize.
From waterpumps to rowing gold: a round-up of alumni news from the second half of 2016
Catch up on a round-up from SoGE's Alumni Office, with event highlights, alumni achievements, news, and photos from the second half of 2016.
FCRN's Dr Tara Garnett opens Nobel Week Dialogue on Future of Food
Dr Tara Garnett, of the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN), based at the ECI, participated in the Nobel prize celebrations, giving the opening speech the Nobel Week Dialogue event in Stockholm on 9 December on 'The future of food: Your plate - Our planet'.
Global Transport Resilience Forum
On 8 November 2016, the Transport Studies Unit at Oxford University hosted a forum of researchers from the United States and the UK to discuss the future of transport resilience research and collaboration across the globe.
What's next for Climate Change? The ECI engages the public on impacts and adaptation options
UKCIP and ECI, in collaboration with Mediaplanet, have launched the campaign 'Climate Change: What's next?', with the aim to encourage more public debate about the impacts of climate change on their families, communities and businesses, and understand the opportunities for adaptation.
Video: Transforming Transportation with Autonomous Vehicles and the Sharing Economy: Are we Ready?
At the Brookings Institute on 5th December, Professor Robert Hahn, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, presented and participated in a panel discussion on 'Transforming Transportation with Autonomous Vehicles and the Sharing Economy: Are we Ready?' based on research he has engaged in with co-authors Peter Cohen, Jonathan Hall, Steven Levitt (of "Freakonomics" fame) and Robert Metcalfe.
David Jackman receives BSI International Standards Maker award at the recent BSI Standards Awards
David Jackman, an alumni of the School, has been named as 'International Standards Setter of the Year' by the UK's national standards body - the British Standards Institution (BSI).
Sustainable Finance Team Participates in Wargame
On 29 November, the Smith School, in partnership with Chatham House and environmental think tank E3G, hosted over 20 students at the Royal Society of Arts in London. The students were participating in a trial of the new Two Degree Pathways decision support tool and wargame, designed to help investors and company executives protect shareholder value of oil and gas companies through the transition to a two-degree-limited warming pathway. Trials will continue in the new year with a launch of the tool expected for mid-2017.
Moving to Impact: Responsible Investing in Canada - Prof Clark's keynote presentation now available online
On 19 October, Prof Gordon Clark gave a keynote presentation on 'ESG and Long Termism and the Firm' at a conference on 'Responsible Investing in Canada' in Ottawa. This was an important policy conference held during the Canadian Responsible Investment Week.
Prof Richard Washington's paper on Bodl dust chosen as one of ten milestone articles by Environmental Research Letters
Prof Richard Washington's paper, entitled "The Bodl depression: a single spot in the Sahara that provides most of the mineral dust to the Amazon forest", was chosen as one of ten milestone articles to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Environmental Research Letters. The 10 articles were specifically chosen by the editors of ERL for their quality, novelty, significance, and long-term impact.
The new SoGE Annual Review: a snapshot of success in 2015/16
The review of the last academic year aims to be a snapshot of the department and its achievements. Read about the growth of SoGE's research portfolio, achievements of our students, and see our field research visualised in a cartogram, by Benjamin Hennig.
Braving the cold to keep an eye on winter weather
The Oxford mail talks to SoGE's Dr Neil Hart and DPhil student, Callum Munday, who have been keeping up the long-standing tradition of weather records, at the department's Radcliffe Meteorological Station. Dr Hart comments, "we were taking sunshine measurements from the Campbell-Stokes recorder, a glass orb which focuses sunshine onto a specially-designed card, and this dates back to 1853."
SuperHomes fight the cold and save carbon emissions
As the School of Geography and the Environment's Radcliffe Meteorological Station experienced its coldest November night in six years, measuring -4.7C in the early hours of 30 November, we talk to Senior Energy Researcher, Dr Tina Fawcett, about her energy efficient 'SuperHome'. SuperHomes is a rapidly expanding network of 200 energy aware households who refurbished their old homes to the highest standards of energy efficiency.
Elizabeth Harnett receives 2016 Finance and Sustainability European Research Award for Best Master's Thesis
Elizabeth Harnett, currently a Research Assistant and DPhil student at the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Oxford Smith School has been awarded the 2016 Finance and Sustainability European Research Award for Best Master's Thesis
Donald Trump Wants to Revive the Coal Industry While Canada Plans to Phase it Out
How shall we plan the cities of the future?
We are in a world that is moving towards mega-cities, with the numbers of people living in urban settings expected to nearly double by 2050. The ECI's Dr Scott Thacker sits on the Guardian's expert panel for a live question and answers session on 'how to plan the cities of the future', at 2pm on 24 November.
Housing renovation matters
The ECI's Tina Fawcett, Gavin Killip and Marina Topouzi respond to a recent report which claimed that that UK-wide deep energy efficiency retrofits could cost more than rebuilding the whole housing stock. In their blog post for UKERC, they point out that this research is based on 'deliberately expensive' cost data from Innovate UK's Retrofit for the Future programme, and argue that 'both energy efficiency retrofit and low carbon heat supply are important and interlinked in delivering a lower carbon future'.
Dr Tim Schwanen interviewed on car use behavioural change on BBC Radio 4
A controversial levy on workplace car parking is being considered by councillors trying to cut road congestion in Oxford. Dr Tim Schwanen was interviewed on car use behavioural change on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (2hrs 50mins in)
Ariell Ahearn-Ligham awarded a prestigious ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship
Ariell Ahearn-Ligham has been awarded an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship entitled titled "Managing Development and Infrastructure: Understanding State Engagements with Rural Communities in Mongolia"
A new framework for drought economics
New research by the ECI-led MaRIUS project has developed an innovative framework for drought economics. The framework, which is outlined in a new paper in Ecological Economics, argues that failure to appreciate the differentiating characteristics of drought can lead to biased estimates of impacts, and poor short-term and long-term management practices.
'Consumers, is your supplier committed to climate action?'
As the UN climate conference in Marrakech draws to a close under the shadow of President-Elect Trump, Professor Myles Allen and Dr Thomas Hale reflect on consumer power and the possible need for a new 'climate agreement' label, to indicate suppliers commitment to climate action.
New quantitative scientific evidence for Loss and Damage launched at COP22
For the first time ever, Dr Friederike Otto (Senior Researcher, ECI) and Dr Jan Fuglestvedt (Research Director CICERO, Norway) demonstrated that, in addition to quantitatively linking historic greenhouse gas emissions to global climate change, it is also possible to link historic emissions to extreme weather events.
A call for an end to the marginalisation of Indigenous Peoples at international climate negotiations
A newly released working paper from the ECI's Claudia Comberti has identified three tiers of marginalisation that Indigenous Peoples face at International climate negotiations, based on her interviews with Indigenous Peoples and representatives, and observations at UNFCCC annual meetings.
ECI researchers call for urgent action on UK energy during this Parliament
UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has published a Review of UK Energy Policy ahead of the Autumn Statement and the Industrial Strategy and Emissions Reductions Plan. ECI researchers have contributed to the review, which calls for urgent action during this Parliament on a number of key areas.
Video: How to write a literature review paper by Prof Bert Van Wee
Watch Prof Bert Van Wee, TRAIL Research School and Delft University of Technology, explain how to write a literature review paper - video based on a joint paper with Prof David Banister published in Transport Reviews in 2015
Multi-sector partnerships are key in disaster risk reduction, the ENHANCE project concludes
The results of the EU's ENHANCE project, to which the ECI's Dr Katie Jenkins contributed research on the economic effect of surface water flood risk and climate change on Greater London, has been published 10 November 2016.
Patrick Pringle appointed Director of UKCIP
Patrick was previously UKCIP's Deputy Director, leading monitoring and evaluation projects on adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Recent work has included adaptation policy and practice across Europe, and adaptation-focused training and capacity building projects in the coffee sector and for civil society organisations in Brazil. Prior to working with UKCIP, Patrick worked as a development consultant in the UK and overseas.
What can Pokmon Go teach the world of conservation?
A new paper, co-authored by SoGE doctoral candidate, John C Mittermeier, explores whether Pokmon Go's success in getting people out of their homes and interacting with virtual 'animals' could be replicated to redress what is often perceived as a decline in interest in the natural world among the general public.
90 years in the Himalayas
16 November 2016 marks the launch of Facing the Mountain, a short documentary about faith, resilience and change in the Himalayas, produced by ECM MSc alumnus (2011), Vaibhav Kaul. 2016 also marks the 90th anniversary of first statutory professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, Kenneth Mason's exploration of the Himalayas.
UKERC call for urgent action on UK energy during this Parliament
UKERC have published a review of UK Energy Policy ahead of the Autumn Statement next week and the forthcoming Industrial Strategy and Emissions Reductions Plan. The review, co-authored by Dr Christian Brand, makes a number of evidence-based recommendations to policymakers, and calls for urgent action during this Parliament on a number of key areas.
Reindeer starving to death as global warming cuts off food supply
A new report links environmental change in the Arctic to reindeer deaths. Co-author, SoGE's Dr Marc Macias-Fauria, said: "We are losing sea ice at an accelerating rate in the Barents and Kara Seas and our analysis suggests this is why there is more rain over the land in this region. This has implications both for the reindeer populations, as well as the last nomadic tribe in the Arctic."
US Election: Cartogram Special
Dr Benjamin Hennig, recent staff member and current honorary research associate of the School, breaks down the recent US election results for Geographical
WHO invite Dr Christian Brand to help develop their Health Economic Assessment Tools (HEAT) for walking and cycling
Dr Christian Brand attended a 2 day meeting at the World Health Organisation (WHO) European HQ in Copenhagen as an invited expert to develop the WHO's Health Economic Assessment Tools (HEAT) for walking and cycling.
How prepared is Britain for extreme weather?
The Financial Times talks to victims and experts on severe flooding, featuring 'the climate scientist' Friederike Otto and 'the Watchdog' Lord Krebs, among others. "While we know that the temperature has changed," Dr Otto says "we don't know what the impact is today [but] we're providing the methodological tools to do that."
The different types of loss and damage
The ECI's Dr Rachel James discussed 'a spectrum of views on loss and damage' at a COP22 side-event on Monday, the IISD reported in its Monday highlights. Listen to the talk online at goo.gl/J1Fcrb Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis
British Library exhibition features the work of two members of the School
A new exhibition at the British Library called 'Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line' features exhibits by Dr Ben Hennig and Prof Danny Dorling.
From Rio to Marrakech: the journey to the Climate Deal
The ECI's Professor of Geosystem Science and Leader of the Climate Research, Myles Allen, explains how we got to the Paris Climate Agreement on the 'Wide Open Air Exchange' podcast. "The difference with Paris," he says, "is that countries were asked to come up with their own proposals as to how to address their emissions."
Mobilising the research community on 1.5 Degrees
In Nature Climate Change's October editorial, the ECI's 1.5 Degrees September conference was noted as an example of how "the research community is mobilizing to try to provide a solid scientific foundation for policy discussions around this ambitious aspiration."
From secret meetings to public exhibitions: A new era of environmental activism in Myanmar
SoGE DPhil student, Julian Kirchherr, talks about his research on Social Impact Assessments for large dams in southeast Asia, interviewing more than 40 civil society activists in Myanmar. "There is very little left [that] local NGOs in Myanmar can't, or won't, do these days", he comments.
The ECI at COP 22 in Marrakech
ECI scientists Dr Rachel James, Alison Smith and Dr Friederike Otto will be speaking at COP 22 side events, 7 - 18 November. Turn up in person or tune in from around the world, via the official COP 22 YouTube channel.
Professor Patricia Daley is BBC World Service 'Weekend' panellist
Patricia Daley, professor of the human geography of Africa, talks to the BBC's World Service about news this 'Weekend', including the recent announcement that South Africa, Burundi and Gambia intend to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, accusing it of unfairly targeting Africa.
Dr Friederike Otto appointed Deputy Director of the ECI
Senior ECI Researcher and Scientific Coordinator of climateprediction.net, Dr Friederike Otto will take up the post of Deputy Director of the ECI in the new year. One of the aims of the post will be to help the Institute join up across research programmes and develop new collaborative and interdisciplinary research opportunities.
Replay the ECI's 1.5 Degrees International Conference
Listen again to Laurence Tubiana (pictured above) as part of the 1.5 Degrees YouTube playlist, and revisit other talks from the conference, which brought together researchers, policy makers, businesses and members of civil society to understand the impacts of warming of 1.5C and assess the feasibility of meeting the challenges in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Brenda Boardman on the EU's energy efficiency policy review
On 25 October EU Commissioners met to review existing Ecodesign standards. This is good news, the ECI's Brenda Boardman tells the Economist, as it shows that the policy has led to efficiency improvements. Ecodesign standards have been overtaken by advances in efficiency, the Economist writes.
Research Associate Professor Mark Graham wins Leverhulme Prize in Geography
The Leverhulme Trust has announced this year's winners of its Leverhulme Prizes. Professor Mark Graham was one of five geographers recognised for their achievements. His research focuses on Internet and information geographies.
Nina Teng was a panelist on "Disruption and Change in Public Transport" at the Land Public Transport Symposium 2016
On 17 October, Nina Teng was a panelist on "Disruption and Change in Public Transport" at the Land Public Transport Symposium: Public Transport-Transforming the Nation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Bodleian display celebrates Oxford geographer Richard Hakluyt and his 'world in a book'
A selection of Elizabethan travel books and rare maps will be on display at the Bodleian Libraries to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Oxford geographer Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616)
The digital gig economy needs co-ops and unions
The School of Geography and the Environment's Research Affiliate, Mark Graham writes for Open Democracy on the need to re-frame the digital work-place and platforms which, by design, "treat labour as a commodity to be bought and sold".
Research visit to Manila as part of the 'Sustainable Cities and Resilient Transport' project
Prof David Banister, Dr Tim Schwanen and Dr Anna Plyushteva from TSU, and Dr Nihan Akyelken from the Department for Continuing Education, visited Manila in September as part of the 'Sustainable Cities and Resilient Transport' project funded by the British Council Newton Fund.
Philanthropy needed to sustain pioneering forest monitoring for decades
The ECI's Professor Malhi talks about his aim to leave a legacy of long-term ecological monitoring across the globe. 'I'd like [the Global Ecosystems Monitoring] forests to act as "canaries in a mine"; as early warning systems, so that we're able to spot any changes happening in the biosphere... Our challenge now is to find the funding that secures this.'
"Hottest" Headlines don't surprise ECI climate scientists
"We've had a streak of record-breaking global temperatures, way above the levels we've seen so far," Karsten Haustein, ECI researcher commented. "But it didn't come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the natural variability."
Professor John Boardman is elected as BSG Fellow
ECI Emeritus Professor John Boardman has been elected as a Fellow of the British Society of Geomorphology, in recognition of his services to the Geomorphology; the study of landforms, their processes, form and sediments at the surface of the Earth.
Dr Tim Schwanen speaks at a symposium on intelligent transport organised by the French Embassy
Tim Schwanen is speaking at a symposium on intelligent transport for industry, policy-makers and also academics, organised by the French Embassy in London on the 5th October, 2016.
Good Germs; Bad Germs - a film about SoGE-based engaged research published
Invisible to the naked eye, yet a constant presence, microbes live in, on and around us. Good germs; bad germs highlights an innovative Public Engagement with Research project that is taking place at the University of Oxford. SoGE researchers collaborate with members of the public to experiment on the microbial life in their kitchens and explore what we really mean by 'clean' and 'dirty'.
Obituary: Prof David N Collins, 1949-2016
Professor Dave Collins (1949-2016), who was a member of staff between 1994 and 1999, passed away on the 8 Sep 2016. His funeral will be held at Blackley Crematorium, Victoria Ave, Manchester, M9 8JP at 1.15pm on Thursday 6 October.
The maximum climate ambition needs a firm research backing
We need to know what the 1.5C warming target will involve - even if we don't reach it. A recent editorial in Nature mentions the ECI's recent international conference "1.5 degrees: Meeting the Challenges of the Paris Agreement"
New research project on the deterioration and conservation of earthen ruins on the Silk Road in NW China launched
Professor Heather Viles recently attended the First Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo in Dunhuang, China and signed a collaborative agreement with the Director of the Dunhuang Academy, Professor Wang Xudong.
Dr Maan Barua interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Natural Histories programme
Dr Maan Barua was interviewed on his human-elephant relationship research on BBC Radio 4's Natural Histories programme.
More than Cattle in the Kalahari: The Complex Mosaic of Shifting Solutions Needed for Sustainable Land Management
In an interview by The Solutions Journal, Professor David Thomas shares his experience in the remote Kalahari Desert, offering unique, ground-truth insights into the much-needed solutions for land degradation.
Final Honour School Prizes 2016
We are delighted to announce this year's winners of undergraduate prizes for outstanding achievements in Final Honour School (FHS) exams.
ECI Food Research team receive 'Food System Resilience' Programme Coordination Award
The ECI is pleased to announce that Dr John Ingram and the ECI's Food research team have been awarded the 'Food System Resilience' programme coordination award to support knowledge exchange and translate research outputs.
Introducing Oppla: a global platform for nature-based solutions aiming to revolutionise environmental knowledge
Oppla, a new open platform for nature-based solutions, was launched on Tuesday 20 September as part of the Ecosystem Services Conference taking place in Antwerp, Belgium.
The science behind the 1.5 C climate goal
What is the science behind the climate goals set at the historic Paris Agreement? Researchers are in Oxford to discuss the feasibility and options, with their findings contributing to an IPCC paper in 2018.
Dr Benjamin Hennig awarded the Society of Cartographer's Wallis Award
Dr Benjamin Hennig has been awarded the Society of Cartographer's Wallis Award for 'excellence in cartography'.
Professor Gillian Rose appointed to Professorship of Human Geography
The School is delighted to announce the appointment of Prof Gillian Rose to the Professorship of Human Geography, in association with St John's College, starting October 2017.
Is Britain on the verge of a Brexit-fuelled house price crash? Only the data will tell
The long-term effect of the referendum on the housing market is impossible to predict. But there's no doubt: sales have slowed and prices fallen since the vote - Prof Danny Dorling writes in the Guardian
Dr Friederike Otto explains 'The Attribution Question'
Whenever an extreme weather event impacts society, people ask whether human-induced climate change played a role. Scientists are now able to answer this question for many extreme weather events. however the answer that you get depends on how you ask the question. Dr Friederike Otto is the lead author of a new paper, "The Attribution Question", in Nature Climate Change that explores this idea.
English Village Becomes Climate Leader by Quietly Cleaning Up Its Own Patch
The ECI's Sarah Darby comments in The New York Times' feature on Ashton Hayes, the English village that cut its carbon emissions by 24% over 10 years. Ashton Hayes, she reminds us, a small village of well-off and well-educated people, was in good position to take on the project.
Saharan dust: Sustaining the Amazon?
Post-doctural Researcher, Dr Ian Ashpole's work finds a place on the Know it Wall, a website "for inquisitive minds". Here Vidish Athavale narrates Ian's explanation of why dust from the Sahara is crucial to the Amazon's survival.
1.5 Degrees public lecture tickets now on sale
Some of the big names behind last year's historic COP-21 climate agreement will come to Oxford to open the 1.5 Degrees International Conference with a Public Lecture on 'The Paris climate deal: origins, ambitions and implications'.
David Bonilla's latest publication "Building sustainable transport futures for the Mexico City Metropolitan Area" is now available.
Car drivers are 4kg heavier than cyclists - new study
The EU-funded PASTA project - led by an international group of experts, including Dr Christian Brand of the TSU, and the World Health Organization - is studying how different forms of transport relate to levels of physical activity and health, and has found that car drivers are 4kg heavier than cyclists.
SoGE Associate Professor Richard Powell comments on Greenland's plans to export uranium
The Geographical reports on the news that since over-turning Denmark's 25-year ban on nuclear materials in 2013, Greenland is set to export yellow cake uranium. 'The votes within Greenland about lifting the ban became intensely contested,' says Powell. 'This is because of events during the Cold War involving the US Air Force [when a B-52 bomber crashed detonating its four nuclear bombs on-board.]'
ARCC network ahead of the game in REF impact recommendations
UKCIP's ARCC Network, a dedicated knowledge exchange function for Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change is already hitting many of the points raised in the latest REF review, Roger Street says. "It is through coordinating mechanisms like a knowledge exchange network that the UK can enhance the social, economic and environmental benefit from its research investments" he commented.
ECM MSc alum Max Edkins co-leads Rio's '1.5 degrees - the record we must not break' campaign
Watch the new video from the '1.5 Degrees' campaign, which will run alongside the Rio Olympics. "Competitors from the Marshall Islands, Afghanistan and South Sudan - countries on the front line of climate impacts - are leading the charge." Climate Change News writes.
Food systems modelling for the future: facilitating new research partnerships and projects
From 18-21 July, the ECI's food research group brought together 56 participants from 11 countries around the world and a wide range of backgrounds to participate in its workshop, 'Modelling food systems for resilient and sustainable nutrition and health on a changing planet'.
Looking, Quickly, for the Fingerprints of Climate Change
The New York Times reports on the work of World Weather Attribution scientists and Weather@Home project. "It's worthwhile to give the best scientific evidence at the time, rather than not saying anything" Senior ECI Researcher Dr Friederike Otto comments.
TSU's Dr Geoff Dudley discusses the history of British transport policy with Christian Wolmar in a podcast for London Reconnections
Challenges And Opportunities In The New Funding Landscape: Creating Effective Research and Policy Partnerships
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and The School for Geography and the Environment have facilitated plenary and roundtable discussions around innovative approaches and creative thinking to research partnership in the new funding landscape.
REACH project grants catalyse 12 new water security projects
Over 550,000 has been awarded through REACH's Partnership Funding to 12 projects in the first call for Catalyst Grants. Funded projects includes Target Towns Research Action Programme (RAPTT), in Zambia, which SoGE academic Dr Katrina Charles will work on.
How to build a stronger and fairer community: sharing the benefits of climate change action
In a new report, supported by Low Carbon Oxford and the Oxfordshire Low Carbon Hub, the ECI's Ruth Mayne presents a framework for engaging stakeholders in local climate change action by designing carbon reduction programmes to share co-benefits, reduce social divides and build broad public support for action.
SoGE students win Green Impact and Carbon Innovation Awards
Members from across the University were recognised for making a positive impact on society and the environment at the University of Oxford's Sustainability Showcase, held on 15 June 2016.
Dr Christian Brand receives UKERC funding as part of 'Accelerating decreases in van carbon emissions' (adVANce) project
The adVANce project, led by the University of Leeds, aims to identify opportunities to accelerate emissions reductions from Light Goods Vehicles (LGV), the fastest growing source of road transport emissions and a sector of transport about which current knowledge is very limited. The project will address key knowledge gaps in technology adoption, demand growth and interactions with existing policy initiatives.
Integrating land use and transport practice through spatial metrics - new paper by Dr Julio Soria-Lara
Julio Soria-Lara's latest paper "Integrating land use and transport practice through spatial metrics" is now available. It takes a novel approach in exploring how spatial metrics can be used in transport practice. The paper also innovatively assesses the effectiveness of such spatial metrics according to the practitioners views. The context of Granada (Spain) was used as a spatial laboratory for experimentation.
Professor Sarah Whatmore is appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)
Former Head of School, Sarah Whatmore has been announced as the next PVC Education at the University of Oxford. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson commented: "Sarah has a truly impressive record of achievement in research, in teaching, and in contributions to the Social Sciences Division at Oxford." Professor Whatmore will formally take up her duties in January 2017.
Governance of Transition in Urban Mobility: The Case of Uber in London
TSU has been successful with their application to the Rees Jeffrey's Road Fund to support the study of the Governance of Transition in Urban Mobility: The Case of Uber in London
Mind the gap: the impacts of 'Dieselgate', and beyond
New research by Christian Brand applied a bespoke disaggregated model of the transport-energy-environment system (the UK Transport Carbon Model) to explore the impacts of retrospective and future policy scenarios on the UK car market, trade-offs between greenhouse gas and air quality emissions, and changes in future fuel use and associated tax revenues.
SoGE ranked 2nd in the Complete University Guide's Top 10 UK Universities for Geography and Environmental Science 2017
The Complete University Guide's 2017 subject league tables rank institutions by Entry Standards, Student Satisfaction, Research Quality and Intensity and Graduate Prospects.
Patricia Daley becomes Professor of the Human Geography of Africa
We are delighted to announce that Patricia Daley, member of the School of Geography and the Environment, and Helen Morag Fellow and Tutor at Jesus College, has had the title of Professor of the Human Geography of Africa conferred on her by the University, in recognition of her academic distinction.
Nick Eyre becomes Professor of Energy and Climate Policy
We are delighted to announce that Nick Eyre, Leader of the ECI's Energy Programme and Jackson Senior Research Fellow at Oriel College, has had the title of Professor of Energy and Climate Policy conferred on him by the University, in recognition of his academic distinction.
ITRC phase two: The MISTRAL launch on film
"This is hugely important work" comments Lord Adonis, Chairman of the UK National Infrastructure Commission, at the launch of the multi-scale infrastructure systems analytics (MISTRAL) research project earlier this year. Watch video highlights from the event, featuring the ECI's Professor Jim Hall and Scott Thacker, and Vice President of the Institute of Civil Engineers, Keith Clarke.
UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 launched
The ECI's Pam Berry has contributed to the Committee on Climate Change's new report, which outlines how the impacts of climate change are already felt in the UK; from large increases in flood risk and heatwaves, to substantial risks to UK wildlife and natural ecosystems.
Austerity, not immigration, to blame for inequality underlying Brexit vote
In a recent article in the Independent, Prof Dorling suggests that austerity, rather than immigration, may have contributed to the reported inequality underlying the Brexit vote.
Dr Krg Kama awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellowship
Dr Kama will be undertaking a programme of work on 'Geo-logics and Geo-politics: The Collective Governance of European Shale Gas Development'
Dr Thomas Jellis awarded a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship
Dr Jellis will be undertaking a programme of work on 'Burnout: a geo-history of contemporary exhaustion'
100s of deaths in two cities in 2003 heatwave due to man-made climate change
ECI scientists and their colleagues have specified how many deaths can be attributed to man-made climate change during an extreme heatwave in two European cities in 2003. They calculate that in Paris in 2003, 506 out of 735 summer deaths recorded were due to a heatwave made worse by man-made climate change.
Dr Brenda Boardman MBE launches new Fuel Poverty report at House of Lords
Brenda Boardman presented a new report Understanding Fuel Poverty at the House of Lords on behalf of the Chesshire Lehmann Fund on 6th July. Those present included Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Dept for Energy and Climate Change, and Lord Whitty, ex-Parliamentart Under-Secretary, DEFRA.
Dr Debbie Hopkins presents her research at the Energy Cultures 2016 conference in New Zealand
Dr Debbie Hopkins is acting as conference co-convenor and presented her research at the Energy Cultures Conference in Wellington, New Zealand
Food Systems Thinking: IFSTAL Summer School 2016 gets going
With term now ended, 30 students from across five collaborating HE institutions gathered at the University of Reading on Sunday 3 July to kick off the inaugural Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL) Summer School.
Opening doors to future geographers: SoGE's open day is a success
Over 300 visitors came to the School of Geography during this year's Open Days, Wednesday 29 - Thursday 30 June, which featured discussions and demonstrations.
Geography after Brexit
Professor Wjcik writes on the future for the academic discipline of geography after Brexit for the Geographical's Opinion Special. "The comparative and interdisciplinary nature of geography means that it thrives on international collaboration in an open world" he writes.
Three-year project to focus on building resilience to climate change
A major new partnership for The Nature Conservancy and the Oxford Martin School will address the need to improve our understanding of the effects of climate change on ecosystems and the impact of human response to those changes. ECI researchers Myles Allen and Yadvinder Malhi will lead the two of the three project's research themes.
TSU supports Young Rail Professionals' Rail Week initiative
The Transport Studies Unit has joined an initiative by the Young Rail Professionals network to celebrate the achievements of the UK Rail sector and help to inspire the next generation of rail professionals.
Dr Fiona McConnell awarded BA Mid Career Fellowship
We congratulate Dr Fiona McConnell on the award of a BA Mid Career Fellowship from January 2017 to work on "Representing the unrepresented: diplomacy in the margins".
When is river restoration rewilding?
SoGE's Paul Jepson, writes for the MARS Project's Freshwater Blog about a positive rewilding approach for freshwater management.
EU Referendum: A Divided Kingdom
From turnout to vote share: Benjamin Hennig maps a divided United Kingdom in the wake of the EU Referendum result, when 17,410,742 people of the United Kingdom's 65 million population voted 'leave'.
Why Brexit Freaks Out So Many Scientists
Will Brexit lead to a science 'brain drain', asks the National Geographic. Prof Myles Allen comments that "we're in trouble" if changes resulting from Brexit affect our ability to recruit the best and brightest of the world's academics.
Engaging institutional investors with Oxford's research
A new initiative has been launched to engage institutional investors with social sciences research that is taking place across the University of Oxford. The programme, called SSEE View, is designed and delivered by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Cutting-edge ECI research takes to the stage at Low Carbon Oxford Week
Oxford came alive with a jam-packed programme of events for Low Carbon Oxford Week, 11-19 June 2016. The ECI's agile-ox joined in the fun, running talks, events and stalls across the city to bring environmental science to the people of Oxford.
SoGE hosts 2nd International SEAHA Conference
On 20-21 June 2016 the School of Geography and the Environment hosted the 2nd International Conference on Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage, and Archaeology (SEAHA). The Conference is a student-led initiative of the EPSRC-funded SEAHA Centre for Doctoral Training, of which the University of Oxford is one of the primary academic partners.
Dr Joe Gerlach interviewed on From Our Own Correspondent, BBC Radio 4
Dr Joe Gerlach discusses his British Academy funded research in Ecuador on BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent.
What can conservation strategies learn from the ecosystem services approach?
In a new paper ECI researcher Pam Berry et al reveal the gulf in perceptions between ecosystem managers and users, asserting the need "to assess the connection between protected areas and human well-being... to reduce environmental conflicts in protected areas".
Test Drive the Future event
The TSU participated in the Test Drive the Future event, organised by Oxford City Council as part of Low Carbon Oxford Week to promote awareness and knowledge of electric vehicles on Sunday 19 June.
The times they are a-changing: Nick Eyre on the electricity transition
Nick Eyre writes for the UKERC blog on how the combination of demand side investment, a fall in peak electricity demand (with lighting efficiency a major contributor as the shift to LEDs gathers pace), and mass deployment of low-cost renewables and storage might just turn an electricity transition into a revolution.
Why we urgently need more research on the social impacts of dams
"More dams are built these days than ever before. Their potential negative impacts are broad-ranging and must be thoroughly understood in order to address them," writes SoGE candidate Julian Kirchherr in his piece for the Global Water Forum.
Bramble Cay melomys is the first animal to become extinct from climate change
The Independent cites Yadvinder Malhi as saying that climate change is not as important a factor in extinction as invasion from other species of plants and animals, and destruction of habitats.
DePICT London Stakeholders' Workshop on 20 April 2016 a success
Paris floods made almost twice as likely by climate change, say scientists
A preliminary analysis by a group of scientists, including the ECI's Myles Allen, has concluded the risk of the flooding event in Paris was almost doubled - multiplied by a factor of 1.8 - by humanity's influence on the climate.
Scholars weigh case for and against Brexit in Times Higher Education
Halford Mackinder professor of geography, Danny Dorling, is one of the featured academics probing the arguments for and against EU membership, in Times Higher Education on 9 June.
Going against the grain: food policy for the future
ECI researcher, Julian Cottee, writes on Prof Prabhu Pingali's Big Ideas for diversifying food production and describes the barriers experienced by smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone, explored as part of his research project with Said Business School MBA students.
Climate scientists call for urgent new experiments to distinguish between a 1.5C and 2C world
The climate community needs to refocus their research priorities in order to inform on the impacts of a 1.5C warmer world, so concludes a Nature Climate Change paper published on Monday 6 June by the ECI's Dann Mitchell et al.
Cost Effective High Performance Storage
On 24th June, David Ford (IT Manager, SoGE) will be showcasing the School's revamped data storage solution at the annual conference of the University's ICT Forum. By reducing storage costs by almost an order of magnitude, whilst increasing resilience, the school is providing almost 12x more storage to researchers than it did a year ago. David will be looking at some of the technologies that make this possible, the challenges we face it doing this, and encouraging other departments to follow suit in providing cost effective and resilient storage to their staff.
The Smart Handpump comes to SoGE
A 7m deep borehole for a forthcoming Smart Handpump has been drilled outside the School of Geography and the Environment. The handpump will enable SoGE researchers to refine the technology they use to pro-actively monitor the condition of handpumps in the field, thereby helping to ensure that millions of people have access to a reliable water source.
Maximising Home Delivery research project begins
Tim Schwanen and Christian Brand are attending the kick-off meeting in Cambridge of the new 18-month Maximising Home Delivery research project that aims to maximize the environmental benefits of home delivery, have a big impact on improving city logistics and maximize the commercial and CSR benefits to participating companies. The project is now investigating, developing and optimizing individual components of the home delivery system to achieve this goal.
We need the full picture to plan for climate change impacts
Climate change impact studies typically focus on a single sector such as agriculture, forestry or water. A new study from ECI researchers working on the IMPRESSIONS project, suggests that an integrated, cross-sectoral approach to climate change assessment is needed.
ITRC five years on: A new MISTRAL journey begins
Since 2011 the ITRC has developed the world's first national infrastructure system-of-systems model, NISMOD. Now, five years on, thanks to 5.3m of funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, the ITRC launched their exciting new MISTRAL programme on Monday 23 May.
Filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: seeking middle ground on the Nile
The construction of Ethiopia's first large dam on the Nile is a source of national pride for many Ethiopians and a source of concern for many Egyptians. New research, led by a partnership of the University of Oxford and the University of Khartoum, explores practical reservoir filling strategies, to minimize potential negative downstream impacts via transboundary coordination.
Local engagement brings much-loved ruin to life
Passers-by can now learn about Godstow Abbey's long and colourful history, thanks to a new interpretation panel that was launched on Saturday 21 May (jointly designed by SoGE academics, the Ashmolean Museum and Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum).
New science to help Asian, African societies prepare for extreme weather
Friederike Otto of the ECI is Science Lead for the new initiative, which will use state-of-the-art science to help Asian and African societies to understand the role of climate change in extreme weather events and prepare for future ones.
How to improve clarity in greenhouse gas emissions targets
"Exactly what 'total emissions' means in practice depends on how much weight is given to CO2 versus other gases" Prof Myles Allen writes in his post for Carbon Brief, in which he proposes a new way of accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, to better align emission targets with temperature goals.
Win-win for health and environment: study makes case for sustainability in food guidelines
Only a handful of pioneering governments have issued food guidelines that tackle two of the most urgent challenges of our time: securing good nutrition for all and addressing climate change, says a report published today from the FCRN.
Meet the place-hacker
"Spaces are built to circumscribe discovery, creating limitations about what can be experienced... [and] what can be imagined." Visiting Research Associate, Dr Bradley Garrett, talks about his new book 'London Rising' in which he re-imagines the capital.
Brazil's Active Transportation and Inclusive Spaces: a DePICT fieldwork pre-visit to So Paulo and workshop in Belo Horizonte
The TSU's Dr Denver Nixon spent two weeks in Brazil building relationships with his South American peers, exploring So Paulo's walking and cycling infrastructure and participating in the 'Urban Dialogues' workshop.
Helping stop the lights going out with the new METER study
ECI researchers have launched a five-year programme to investigate ways of relieving peak demands on the UK's electricity grid and possibly make energy prices cheaper too. Watch our video, sign up to take part in our UK-wide study and enter our prize draw to win electricity.
Review: 'Racing Extinction'
Dr Paul Jepson, who spoke at the UK Green Film Festival's Oxford screening of 'Racing Extinction', asks the question "Is it possible to frame a different story of conservation to a mass audience?"
Free foodsource: new food systems online resource launched
The ECI's Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) has launched foodsource.org.uk, a collection of 10 accessible, balanced and scientifically robust chapters on everything you need to know about food systems and sustainability.
Organising in the "digital wild west"
Research Affiliate Mark Graham asks "can strategic bottlenecks help prevent a race to the bottom for online workers?" in his article on research into the newly emerging global digital work marketplace.
Google Code and the City uncovered
"Google, through its data and algorithms, now controls how we interact with many facets of the cities we live in," SoGE Research Affiliate Mark Graham says. His research into 'Coded Geopolitics and the Rise of the Semantic Web' is cited in the Washington Post.
It's simple: We need to try to understand complex systems
Complex systems are increasingly relevant to our world, the Smith School Associate Fellow, Roland Kupers argues. "If the systems that we are interested in are complex" he says "then we need a tool-set and a science that fits the problem."
People and productivity around the world in 2016
Dr Benjamin Hennig uses data by International Monetary Fund, World Bank and UNDP to map people and GDP wealth in 2016. Their unequal distribution across the world "remains one of the challenges of our time", he writes.
What can social science bring to energy research?
The ECI's Dr Kathryn Janda's makes her case for an interdisciplinary approach in her talk on 'Integrating Social Science in Energy Research', whilst visiting fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi.
Personal Carbon Trading: a radical policy response to climate change
Meeting the Paris Climate Agreement would require radical solutions. Personal Carbon Trading, researched by Dr Tina Fawcett (ECI) and Dr Yael Parag, offers one solution to reduce household carbon emissions and is explained in this short animation.
The more terrifying the reptile the more popular it is
DPhil student John C Mittermeier uses internet data to discover the most popular reptiles and explore the question of cultural versus ecological value in conservation.
Migrant women in Britain - Prof McDowell interviewed on Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4
Prof Linda McDowell joined the programme to discuss her research into the experiences of migrant women in Britain.
Five reasons why Tenerife's protected area system is world class
Dr Paul Jepson discusses why Tenerife is a top field trip destination for the BCM MSc group; a place where professionals work hard to conserve the unique biodiversity and landscapes of this protected area.
Wytham Woods forest and canopy structure revealed in glorious new detail
Professor Yadvinder Malhi captures Wytham Woods canopy by drone and writes about the "new prospects" that Terrestrial Laser Scanning offers, for forest mapping as well as understanding forest ecology, dynamics and animal habitats.
Is it time to pay more attention to power and politics in climate change adaptation?
Chase Sova, ECI DPhil student, writes on the recent findings from joint ECI and CCAFS research, mapping power and influence in Ghana's agricultural adaptation policy space.
Registration now open for the inaugural ECI Big Ideas Seminar - 5 May 2016
Join Peter Smith (Aberdeen University) on Wednesday 5 May, 5pm, when he will discuss the questions 'Can we deliver nutrition security and climate change mitigation without wrecking the planet?'
"We should all dance more"
That's the conclusion of ECI alum Bronwyn Tarr, whose research on why dancing leads to bonding has been published in the Scientific American.
Tea lights, flatpacks and solar panels
Ikea are optimistic that sales of solar panels will be high after announcing that they will start selling them in stores over the summer in a partnership with Solarcentury, a company founded by former ECI Research Fellow Jeremy Leggett.
DePICT project website now live
As part of the DePICT project, the TSU will investigate community-led infrastructure initiatives, aimed at increasing the attractiveness of walking and cycling in London.
Why Britain's class system will have to change
Britain is still a society deeply divided by class. The same schools, established church and universities dominate public life, but under the faade of immobility, changes are afoot. Prof Danny Dorling writes for the Conversation.
Apple's 'Apps for Earth' week: Simple messages, messy reality
To mark Earth Day on 22 April, Apple has launched 'Apps for Earth', a one week fundraiser for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). But this is not enough, Dr Jepson writes, it "carries the risk of ever more shallow public engagement and digital activism."
How to mitigate climate change from the middle out
An animated Dr Kathryn Janda of the ECI and Dr Yael Parag feature in this short video which explains their 'middle out' approach for transition to a low carbon society, where middle actors serve as effective agent of change.
Training the next generation of environmental leaders
From 20 to 22 April 2016, 60 bright young undergraduates, masters and DPhil students from across the University of Oxford will come together to participate in the Environmental Change Institute's (ECI) innovative 'TBL: Training Better Leaders' workshop.
Out of Africa
Benjamin Hennig maps humanity's migration across the globe
ECI Green Deal Scheme predictions proved correct by National Audit Office
The National Audit Office (NAO) has now published its report on the failed Green Deal scheme. The scheme, which was launched in January 2013, claimed to deliver energy and carbon savings by offering loans to improve domestic energy efficiency.
Securing water through intelligent cloud computing
SoGE researchers are using cloud computing and mobile sensors to monitor water wells and help ensure that thousands of villages in rural Africa and Asia have a safe, secure supply of water.
TSU holds the first workshop of the DePICT Community-Led Infrastructures research project
Dr Tim Schwanen and Dr Denver Nixon of the Transport Studies Unit will hold the first stakeholders' workshop of the DePICT Community-Led Infrastructures research project in London on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016. The workshop will take place in The Loft room of St. Luke's Community Centre on 90 Central Street near the Old Street station.
ECI's 1.5 degrees conference to contribute to IPCC Special Report announced today
The ECI's international conference '1.5 degrees: Meeting the challenges of the Paris Agreement' will work towards resolving the scientific uncertainties around the COP 21 Paris climate target.
Pickering leaky dams flood prevention scheme 'a success'
Environment Agency (EA) report says a natural flood management scheme, first proposed in collaborative research project led by Prof Sarah Whatmore, saved Pickering from floods at Christmas.
Where will climate change impact China most?
ECI DPhil student, Xi Hu, writes for the World Economic Forum on China's infrastructure hotspots, where you are "more likely to experience the breakdown of [infrastructure] services because of natural disasters exacerbated by climate change."
"The job of a professor is to profess", Prof Danny Dorling featured in Times Higher Education
Professor Danny Dorling is featured in an article on Times Higher Education, where he talks about how to learn from your audience and help build a better politics too
IFSTAL tackles food topics in BSA Magazine
Hot off the press: IFSTAL's Raquel Ajates Gonzalez and Rebecca Wells tell about IFSTAL's innovative food programme, in the British Sociological Association's magazine, Network.
ECI engages with the leaders of tomorrow
To mark its 25 year anniversary, the ECI has supported the creation of an innovative 'Leadership in Global Change' Summer School for 16-18 year olds. The course will be run on a non-profit basis and offer scholarships to students at local state schools with significant financial need.
Climate change will wipe $2.5tn off global financial assets
Ben Caldecott and Cameron Hepburn of the Smith School of Economics and the Environment comment on a new study showing that climate change could cut the value of the world's financial assets by $2.5tn.
Dariusz Wjcik discusses the impacts of growing financial concentration and centralisation on equity and stability in a keynote at the International Seminar on Finance and Geography at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Renewables and nuclear no substitute for carbon dioxide disposal
In a new paper published in Nature Climate Change, Leader of the ECI's Climate Research Programme Professor Myles Allen argues that investment in technologies to capture and dispose of carbon dioxide is vital to stabilise climate.
A pioneering partnership: The ITRC and UNOPS work together to support infrastructure planning
The Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC), led by the ECI, and UNOPS has formed a partnership to create the necessary modelling tools and guidance for governments, to enable long-term planning on national infrastructure which is robust in the face of an uncertain future.
New study warns on probability that 2C capital stock will be reached in 2017
A new study from the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School and the Smith School for Enterprise and Environment, shows that we are uncomfortably close to the point where the world's energy system commits the planet to exceeding 2C.
Investments Pave the Way to Social and Environmental Solutions
An "eye-opening meta-study" from Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment Director, Professor Gordon Clark is cited. Robert Johnson writes that "From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder: How Sustainability Can Drive Financial Outperformance," presents robust evidence that sustainability practices demonstrate better operational performance.
School ranked 1st in 2016 QS World University Rankings by Subject - for the sixth year running
The School of Geography and the Environment retains its academic reputation for excellence and research impact in the QS World University Rankings for 2016.
Geography's place in the world
Five academics, including Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography Professor Danny Dorling, consider geography's value in today's world.
Universities spending millions helping academics buy homes
Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, Danny Dorling, comments on university 'help to buy' joint equity schemes and loan programmes, which have sprung up in response to spiralling house prices in the UK.
How do you solve a problem like a broken water pump?
Patrick Thomson of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment is using his research to identify broken water pumps in Kenya. Various trials have reduced the response times to fix a broken pump from a month to two days.
Dr Tina Fawcett presents evidence to the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
The evidence relates to Tina's work on Article 7 of the Energy Efficience Directive - which is expected to deliver more than half of the 20% reduction target required across EU Member States.
Mapping meat-eaters
Dr Benjamin Hennig weighs up the global rise in obesity and meat-eating, with cartograms revealing huge regional variation around the world.
Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography Danny Dorling creates a human atlas of the UK's population
Drawing on the 2011 census and other data, Professor Dorling's latest book 'People and Places: A 21st Century Atlas of the UK' uses maps, graphs and commentary to offer a comprehensive view of a nation undergoing rapid change.
Creating Future Masters in Heritage Science
DPhil student, Scott Orr, benefits from the SEAHA (Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology) Centre, a joint initiative by the University of Oxford, the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage and the University of Brighton. Scott comments; "It's already clear that the Centre is creating a unique environment where science, engineering and heritage can blend together in all kinds of imaginative ways".
Mapping ecosystems in Ghana with drones
Professor Yadvinder Malhi visits one of the GEM-TRAIT rainforest-savanna transects in Ghana to take drone footage the forest canopy. Read his blog post and watch the footage online.
In Memoriam: Professor Martyn J Webb (1925-2016)
There will not be many alumni from the School who will have mention of David Bowie in the opening paragraphs of their public obituary. Perhaps Martyn Webb, among his many attributes, was very good at timing.
TSU Director Dr Tim Schwanen is guest editor of flagship journal
The eighth special issue of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers has been guest edited by Transport Studies Unit Director Dr Tim Schwanen, in collaboration with Mei-Po Kwan. Published in March 2016, this edition brings together 26 articles on the Geographies of Mobility.
Home counties blamed for car pollution in the southeast
A study by Caralampo Focas says while transport policies inside greater London are helping reduce carbon emissions, the real environmental problem is just beyond the M25 motorway because people living around London depend so much on their cars.
Major new EPSRC grant to aid design of future global infrastructure systems
A major grant, to be led by Professor Jim Hall, has been announced by EPSRC, which aims to push the frontiers of systems research to understand how best to plan, design and invest in modern, sustainable and resilient infrastructure services.
What are the steps required for a flood resilient society?
Paul Sayers explores the steps required to create a flood resilient society in the article 'We should not be surprised' as featured in the February edition of Public Sector Executive magazine.
The future of national infrastructure
A new book, The future of national infrastructure: A system-of-systems approach, is published today, aiming to equip decision makers with the tools necessary to provide robust national-scale infrastructure systems.
Longer-distance migratory birds may be smarter
Birds that migrate the greatest distances have more new neurons in the regions of the brain responsible for navigation and spatial orientation, suggests Dr Uri Roll, in a new paper published in Scientific Reports.
York natural flood defence measures receive boost from Prince Charles
Measures that kept Pickering dry over Christmas, first proposed in collaborative research project led by Prof Sarah Whatmore, likely to be echoed to help protect one of Britain's most flood-prone cities.
Study identifies global ecosystems most sensitive to changes in climate
Researchers from the University of Oxford, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the University of Bergen have published a new study taking the first step towards addressing why some regions are more sensitive than others to the impact of changes in climate.
Introducing the Oxford Climate Research Network
Find out more about the Oxford Climate Research Network - a cross-divisional community, harnessing Oxford's diverse strengths to address the challenge of managing climate change in a complex and uncertain world.
Managing the risk of surface water flooding
Research by ECI's Dr Katie Jenkins, in conjunction with the London School of Economics, is playing a key role in combating one of Britain's most persistent natural hazards.
Solar, Sustainability, and Strategies in Sarawak
Blog post on the arrival of solar power in Sarawak, by DPhil June Rubis whilst on ethnographic field research.
MSc students challenged to meet their energy needs with renewables
Our MSc students talk about their experiences at the Welsh Centre of Alternative Technology in this great little video. Get an insight into the course and find out if they manage to successfully live off grid for the duration of their stay.
How to visit a 'country' that doesn't exist
Dr. Nick Middleton discusses his latest book, An Atlas of Countries That Don't Exist: A Compendium of Fifty Unrecognized and Largely Unnoticed States.
Living off grid: a field trip to the Centre of Alternative Technology
Our masters students give a first hand account of living off grid during their field trip to the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales.
Smart Water Pumps project featured in ESRC Impact Report
A team led by Dr. Rob Hope has developed a smart hand pump that can automatically report faults through SMS text messages, ensuring that faulty water pumps in remote areas can be fixed rapidly. This research funded by the ESRC and DFID, has been recognised and cited by Kenya's Water Services Regulatory Board as a ground breaking approach that could be applied across Kenya and is a featured case study in the 2014/15 ESRC Impact Report.
Surface water flooding set to increase sharply, putting the success of Flood Re into question
New research led by Dr Katie Jenkins and LSE suggests the Flood Re insurance scheme will fail to reduce flood risk and the number of London households eligible for the scheme could increase by up to 75% during its lifespan.
Conference Announcement: "1.5 degrees: Meeting the challenges of the Paris Agreement" 21-22 Sep, Keble College, Oxford
Register your interest for the 1.5 degrees conference - to understand the impacts of warming of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and assess the feasibility of meeting the challenges in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Debating Ecomodernism with Mark Lynas
ECI and AgileOx hosted a stimulating debate on Ecomodermism with signatory of the recent 'Ecomodernism Manafesto' - Mark Lynas - and SoGE faculty discussing the controversial idea that humans can protect nature with the use of technology to decouple our impacts on the natural world. Watch the debate online.
'Megafauna mega-issues' with the publication of two special features in PNAS and Ecography
This week sees the publication of two special features, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Ecography with 24 papers examining how megafauna - large animals - affect ecosystem and Earth System function. This topic is based on a conference we held on Oxford in March 2014.
Lobbying and advocacy strategies - Second workshop training diplomats from unrepresented nations held in Oxford
On 14-15 January 2016, the 'Training of Diplomats from Unrepresented Nations: Capacity building for effective UN lobbying' research project hosted a workshop on "Lobbying and Advocacy Strategies" with participants from 13 different unrepresented nations.
Prof Dariusz Wjcik awarded prestigious European Research Council Consolidator Grant for 'Cities in Global Financial Networks: Finance and Development in the 21st Century' project
The five-year study will focus on how financial and business services, including law, accounting, and business consulting, have been affected by the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis, and how they are changing in response to new financial regulation, the rise of the Global South, and the digital revolution. The project will develop the theory of Global Financial Networks, create the first Atlas of Finance, and investigate the impacts of finance on urban, regional, and global development.
The Social Atlas of Europe awarded awarded 2015 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice
'The Social Atlas of Europe' by Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling and Ben Hennig has been awarded Outstanding Academic Title for 2015 by Choice, the US Library Journal
Are we ready for the floods?
Watch tonight's documentary 'Are we ready for the floods?' and hear Jim Hall and Myles Allen talking about their research - what caused the extreme rainfall this December? Did climate change have a role? And can we better prepare for these extreme events? Tonight, ITV, 7.30pm.
Paul Sayers provides evidence to Infrastructure Review
In his summary to the Institution of Civil Engineers he calls for an urgent need for research to better understand the interactions between climate change and flood defences in the long-term.
Climate change means the flood defence rule book needs a rewrite
An opinion piece by Professor Jim Hall, in this week's New Scientist magazine, explores why we have such trouble building flood defences to cope with nature's extremes.
Dr Philipp Grunewald appears before Energy and Climate Change Select Committee in their Low carbon network infrastructure inquiry
The session was held to to investigate what changes are required from today's electricity infrastructure to build a low carbon, flexible and fair network.
Good Germs, Bad Germs
Ever wondered about the microscopic life that lives, unseen, in your kitchen? A new 18-month project called 'Good Germs, Bad Germs' intends to help people visualise these microscopic creatures.
Oxford's warmest December in 200 years
The School's Observers at the Radcliffe Meteorological Station have recorded the warmest December in 200 years. The average temperature last month was 10.8C, an extraordinary six degrees higher than the long-term average of 4.6 degrees. This December's average surpassed the previous warmest, set in 1852, by over 2.5C.
Understanding climate change's role in the UK's recent floods
Friederike Otto has been studying the relationship between extreme weather and climate change and has found that heavy rain like that from Desmond is about 40 per cent more likely now than it was in the past.
Global warming: normal weather is a 'thing of the past', claims scientist
Professor Myles Allen tells the Telegraph newspaper that we have 'changed the odds' on weather conditions, with wetter and warmer winters now more likely.
Experts say housing bill signals end of the road for affordable housing
Professor Danny Dorling shares his view on the policies in the housing and planning bill, which was debated at the House of Commons on Tuesday amid protests and concern from social housing professionals.
A woeful response to flooding as the climate crisis hits home
Dr Ken Addison, fellow and tutor in physical geography at St Peter's College, Oxford, writes to The Guardian about the recent flooding in the north of England.
Radcliffe Meteorological Station records exceptionally mild December
December was exceptionally mild in Oxford, with temperatures over 6C above the 200-year mean. At RMS, the record-high mean temperature of 10.8C surpassed the previous record, set in 1852, by 2.6C. Observer, Callum Munday discusses the weather on BBC Radio Oxford.
UK flooding: How a Yorkshire town worked with nature to stay dry
Upstream storage measures, first proposed in collaborative research project led by Prof Sarah Whatmore, aid in reducing flooding in Pickering
Professor Linda McDowell appointed CBE in 2016 New Year Honours
Professor Linda McDowell has been appointed CBE in the New Year's Honours lists 2016 for services to Geography and Higher Education
Partnership funding call from the REACH programme
The REACH programme has put out a call for expressions of interest for catalyst grants of 10K-50K to explore novel approaches to water security.
Can we hold global temperatures to 1.5C?
Myles Allen explains whether it is realistically possible to stabilise global warming at 'well below' two degrees. Read full article in the Carbon Brief.
Working principles for climate-conscious investment decisions launched at Paris summit
A group of researchers, including - Professor Myles Allen - have launched a set of working principles for positive engagement between investors and companies that are carbon-intensive or engaged in fossil fuel extraction.
ECI wins NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation funding
ECI has won funding from NERC to help plan new networks of green infrastructure (GI) in and around Bicester. Green infrastructure, such as parks, street trees and water features,
Why stranded assets matter and should not be dismissed
Whatever the outcome of the climate talks in Paris, one thing is certain: climate change will result in assets becoming "stranded". And, despite the claims of various naysayers, investors should be prepared. Ben Caldecott explores why stranded assets matter in The Conversation.
Why Germany's decision to join the fight against Islamic State is so significant - and misguided
Dr Ian Klinke examines Germany's decision to join the fight against Islamic State in The Conversation
Sandscapes: A new sandy seminar series within SoGE
This term, the Landscape Dynamics cluster hosted an exciting new seminar series exploring the sediments, processes and landscapes that characterise the world's great deserts.
Clearing up dust's effect on climate
Prof David Thomas and researchers from the School are puzzling over what is described as a "missing jigsaw piece" in climate research - the role of dust in global warming.
Sydney hitting the big finance leagues
Prof Dariusz Wjcik's research featured in Australian media
Funds awarded to create a new programme on integrating renewable energy
Dr Nick Eyre will co-direct a new Oxford Martin Programme which will look at the technical, market and policy requirements of integrating renewables across a wide range of scales, resource types and contexts.
Storm Desmond flooding caught ministers by surprise
Professor Jim Hall says that we will have to re-evaluate standards of flood defences after Storm Desmond in a recent article by the Telegraph newspaper.
Governing innovation in household energy retrofit industry
ECI are to get a slice of the 1.3million UK Energy Research Centre funds announced today. Our project will look at the governance around low carbon innovation for domestic energy retrofits.
Tallest trees in rainforests could die of thirst, NERC-funded study finds
Droughts could kill off the tallest trees in tropical rainforests, raising the Earth's carbon dioxide levels in the coming decades.
Is Burundi on the brink of civil war? Dr Patricia Daley participates in Al Jazeera discussion panel
Dr Patricia Daley was part of a guest panel on Al Jazeera's Inside Story discussing whether Burundi is on the brink of civil war
Oxford has 2nd warmest November in 200 years
Oxford University researchers have recorded the second warmest November in 200 years at the Radcliffe Meteorological Station.
Climate change is not the most urgent issue facing the world today: which is why the Paris conference matters
Professor Myles Allen presents his thoughts on the COP climate negotiations and outlines the challenges facing negotiators as the conference draws to an end.
'From the Field' - SoGE Calendar 2016
We proudly present our second SoGE Calendar, featuring the winning pictures from a photographic competition we ran over the summer.
Connecting the Theory to the Reality of 'Good Food'
New blog post on the AgileOx website by ECI intern Rachel Friedman, who is part way through her internship with Good Food Oxford.
Alum Dr Alasdair Harris receives WWF's 2015 Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award
This award - WWF's most prestigious - highlights the extraordinary effort that Alasdair is taking to work with local people to restore marine habitats and coral reefs and at the same time promote sustainable livelihoods through community-based conservation.
Can climate information improve water security for the poor?
Climate change threatens to undermine efforts to improve water security and end poverty. So how can planners ensure that water and sanitation programmes are resilient to climate variability and change? Read full article on our REACH project blog.
Rewilding Week: Time to walk the talk
When the histories of 21st century conservation are written 2015 might, just might, be identified as a pivotal year: the year when the focus of conservation shifted from a defence of past natures to the active creation of a wilder anthropocene, Dr Paul Jepson writes for Geographical.
Conference report published by the Oxford International Infrastructure Consortium
The report follows the conference this July which brought together 17 leading experts from international organisations, academia and financial institutions to discuss challenges and solutions to mobilising infrastructure investment in developing economies.
ECI signs the Oxford Good Food Charter
The Environmental Change Institute has become the first part of Oxford University to sign the Good Food Oxford Charter - the city's statement of vision for a vibrant, healthy and sustainable food system.
Measuring the Fate of the Amazon Rainforest - A photographic exhibition
This Autumn, photographer Jake Bryant exhibited a collection of his photos of scientists undertaking research into the fate of the Amazon rainforest.
It's World Toilet Day! Dr Katrina Charles joins an expert panel to discuss how to provide adequate sanitation for 2.3 billion people
Join the Guardian newspaper's live Q and A today at 3pm GMT to discuss: Ending open defecation by 2030 - are toilets enough?
African cities aren't keeping up with the demand for basic toilets
Dr Katrina Charles outlines the scale of the sanitation problem in Africa where growing numbers of people are without access to improved sanitation in 42 of 51 countries. Read the full article in The Conversation
Out and About: student perspectives on a field trip to Dale Fort
ECM student Maheen Iqbal writes an account of the latest field-trip to Southwest Wales to explore the local ecosystems and examine the impact of the Pembrokeshire Power Plant on the landscape.
Global temperature rise set to hit 1C of warming this year, Met Office says
And of the around 1C we're seeing, our researchers have calculated that about 0.9C is attributable to humans, as reported in the Carbon Brief.
Unlocking the potential of electricity storage
The UK's Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has published a report which looks at the potential of electricity storage. Dr Philipp Grunewald, was one of the report's authors, and commented on the work, saying: "markets and regulation need to adapt if Britain is to take full advantage of the technologies on offer."
The countries that don't exist
There really is a secret world of hidden independent nations, with their own populations, governments - and football leagues. In fact, you've almost certainly visited one without realising. For his new book, Dr Nick Middleton has mapped a secret world of hidden independent nations.
Exploring whether water shortages are due to climate change or local factors
Human-induced climate change plays a clear and significant role in some extreme weather events but understanding the other risks at a local level is also important, say research studies just published. Oxford researchers examined serious droughts in Brazil, East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.
Professor Dariusz Wjcik has been awarded a grant by the Regional Studies Association to create a Research Network on Financial Geographies
With 90% of the UK's ash trees about to be wiped out, could GM be the answer?
Genetically modified ash trees could replace the 80 million expected to die in the next 20 years from a deadly fungus, Dr Paul Jepson and research colleagues have proposed.
Professor Dariusz Wjcik has been awarded a grant by the Australian Research Council to study the development of financial centres in the Asia-Pacific region
Using specialist industry databases and intensive case study methods, the project plans to examine the processes underpinning the growth of this network, map scenarios for the next two decades, and advise on policy implications arising from the 2013-14 Financial System Inquiry.
School part of 20m research programme to deepen understanding of Africa's changing climate
The School has recently benefited from NERC/DFID funding aimed at leading-edge research to better understand Africa's changing climate and the use of climate change information in decision-making across the continent under the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) programme.
The Growth and Decline of Cities in Germany: Novel Visualisations of Urban Change
Innovative maps that illustrate the most recent socio-demographic urban changes in the major city urban agglomerations in Germany have very recently been produced in a joint project between Dr Ben Hennig of the School of Geography and the Environment and the Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development Dortmund (Germany).
Declines in whales, fish, seabirds and animals disrupt Earth's nutrient cycle
A new study led by Dr Chris Doughty reveals that in the past large land animals, whales, seabirds and fish played a vital role in recycling nutrients from the ocean depths, spreading them far and wide across the globe and taking them deep inland.
Megafauna and Ecosystem Functions: Learning from the Giants
A new collection of papers have been published in the journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Ecography, an outcome of the 2014 international conference on Megafauna and Ecosystem Functions.
Are nature apps interesting enough?
The full potential of nature apps for getting the public more interested in ecology and conservation is not being exploited enough, says a new study by Dr Paul Jepson.
Lord Stern: 'Why are we waiting to tackle climate change?'
As part of our 'Welcome to the Anthropocene' lecture series, Lord Nicholas Stern set out the "exciting and attractive" prospect of a global transition to a low carbon economy in his lecture at the Sheldonian Theatre on 19 October.
New postgraduate programme to meet the challenges of feeding the planet
Graduate students thinking about working to tackle one of the big issues of our time - how to feed our growing global population sustainably - are being offered the opportunity to take part in a new education programme - IFSTAL.
Cherwell students help doctoral researcher with African rainforest analysis
Four pupils from The Cherwell School have been helping a SoGE doctoral student as part of an international research programme on tropical forests and their response to climate change.
Policy Makers presented with new report cards into impacts of climate change on biodiversity.
A series of report cards into the latest evidence on how climate change is affecting different aspects of our environment, economy and society have been published by the Living with Environmental Change Network. Drs Pam Berry and Robert Dunford were involved in research selected for the report card.
SoGE at Meeting Minds 2015
Weather observation, climate prediction, food security as well as networking and socialising over lunch - this year, SoGE alumni were invited to enjoy a whole day's worth of programme at Meeting Minds, the Alumni Weekend in Oxford. On Saturday 19 September the School opened its doors for the third time as part of the University's flagship event for alumni and attracted full lecture theatres of interested alumni from many subject backgrounds.
Final Honour School Prizes 2015
We are delighted to announce this year's winners of undergraduate prizes for outstanding achievements in Final Honour School (FHS) exams.
Professor Sarah Whatmore to serve as University's Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research
Dr Richard Grenyer to be interviewed on Radio 4 Natural History Heroes programme
Dr Richard Grenyer will be interviewed on Radio 4 on Thursday at 1.45pm as part of the Natural History Heroes programme on Alfred Russell Wallace
Registration open for international conference on Water Security 2015
This three-day conference convenes leading global thinkers and practitioners from government, enterprise, civil society and academia to advance and debate risk-based analysis of water security.
Project funding available for winning carbon reduction ideas
The Carbon Innovation Programme is a new initiative aimed at encouraging staff and students to generate innovate ideas for reducing the University's carbon footprint. Find out how to get involved.
How VW test fixing is just the start of the car industry's problems
The revelation that Volkswagen deliberately circumvented emissions tests on many of its diesel vehicles has provoked a huge storm of controversy. This diesel deception has understandably angered car owners. And some have suggested that VW's management either must have known about the scandal, or effectively lost control of the company. Dr James Palmer writes for The Conversation.
Dr Richard Bailey to direct new 5 year programme on sustainable oceans
Dr Richard Bailey has been awarded 1.5M by the Oxford Martin School, to direct a new 5 year programme on 'Sustainable Oceans'. This builds on an ongoing 18 month (0.2M) project funded by Ocean Conservancy, and a 0.8M support package from the London technology company Improbable.
Advance Global Australian award for Professor Cameron Hepburn
Professor Cameron Hepburn of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has been recognised for his work on clean technology at an awards ceremony honouring Australian leaders and innovators around the world.
Ecosystem Services: A paradigm-shifting new perspective
Oxford researchers have developed a novel re-definition of Ecosystem Services, arguing that the one-way flow of benefits from ecosystems to humans, is over-simplistic and largely inaccurate.
Prestigious award given to Tara Garnett for her research on sustainable food systems.
Dr Tara Garnett has been presented the 2015 Premio Daniel Carasso award at a ceremony in Madrid today for her commitment to reducing the food system's impact on the climate through research and dialogue.
Carbon capture: Miracle machine or white elephant?
Myles Allen comments on this FT article which explores the billions of pounds spent on schemes to deal with CO2 emissions.
Climate experts brief UK House of Lords on forthcoming Energy Bill
Myles Allen and other leading experts have briefed Peers in the House of Lords on responsibilities of the Oil and Gas Authority over Carbon Capture and Storage licensing.
Dr Fiona McConnell has been appointed associate editor of Political Geography from January 2016.
WICKED research director Dr Kathryn Janda goes on global tour to exchange knowledge and foster new research network.
The tour involved 10 cities across 6 countries with Kathryn speaking at universities and energy organisations on topics which include storytelling in energy policy, energy strategies in the retail sector, and market transformation of commercial real estate practices.
Scenarios help guide discussions on what Ghana's future could look like
A series of CCAFS scenarios workshops - led by ECI - help raise climate awareness and promote interaction between key stakeholders in Ghana.
Oxford University at World Water Week 2015
We joined other leading experts, decision-makers, enterprises and water professionals at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden on 23-28 August 2015, to share knowledge and develop solutions to the world's water challenges.
Former Head of School Professor Sarah Whatmore chairs Royal Geographical Society's Annual Conference
The largest event in the RGS/IBG calendar, the Annual International Conference is also the largest annual European geography conference.
Rock breakdown research and heritage conservation: from underground to Mars
The School's Oxford Rock Breakdown Laboratory have released a second video in collaboration with the Oxford Preservation Trust highlighting their research.
Newborn giant pandas boost U.S.-Chinese relations
A recent article in Newsweek quotes a 2013 paper on panda diplomacy co-authored by SoGE researchers Dr Paul Jepson and Dr Kathleen Buckingham.
New video on Oxford Open Doors produced by Oxford Rock Breakdown Lab
SoGE's Oxford Rock Breakdown Lab together with the Oxford Preservation Trust have produced a new video for the Oxford Open Doors event on 12-13 Sep 2015
Mapping the world's economies
The fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography 2015, the world's biggest economic geography conference, is hosted by the School of Geography and the Environment and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, with nearly 700 delegates attending from over 50 countries.
Why New York takes biggest slice of asset pie
The current Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography is mentioned in a Financial Times article based on a paper by Prof Dariusz Wjcik and Dr Duncan MacDonald-Korth.
SoGE and SSEE host the Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography
The conference fosters interdisciplinary worldwide dialogue on the state of the art and the future agenda of economic geography. Its title 'Mapping Economies in Transformation' is based on the premise that while the world economy has been recently experiencing major shocks and shifts, it needs transformative change to address the challenges of unstable, unequal, and unsustainable development.
Weathering the storm: the impacts of climate change on London's Economy
The London Assembly has published results from its investigation into the resilience of the London economy in the face of the impacts of climate change. Included in the report is a written submission from ECI.
Dr Martin Coombes discusses proposals to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from some central Oxford streets by 2020
Dr Martin Coombes from the School's Oxford Rock Breakdown Lab was interviewed on the Oxford Transport Strategy proposals on BBC Radio Oxford on 12 August. As well as the more obvious health benefits this would likely bring for Oxford residents and visitors, Dr Coombes highlighted the potential benefits this could also have for the city's heritage buildings.
SoGE researchers undertake a drone survey of a section of the River Glyme
In early August Dr Russell Layberry (ECI) and Jerome Mayaud (DPhil student) carried out a drone survey of a section of the River Glyme near Stratford Bridge, Oxfordshire.
Forget the Silicon Valley revolution: the future of transport looks remarkably familiar
From autonomous vehicles and the rapid rise of Uber to the global diffusion of bike-sharing schemes, transport is changing. Developments in information technology, transport policy and behaviour by urban populations may well be causing a wholesale shift away from conventional cars to collective, automated and low-carbon transport. Dr Tim Schwanen writes for The Conversation
Food sovereignty and sharing the future of the herring in the North Pacific
A new project with Dr Thomas Thornton and the IUCN examines the trans-Pacific herring trade-puzzle, which leads to overfishing and low prices, and seek wisdom from Tinglit communities who sustainably harvest herring food.
What's the point of the Met Office? Easy to miss when you ignore the facts
News article in The Conversation examines whether the BBC and others should give airtime to minority views on climate change, and includes comment from Dr Friederike Otto.
Remembering Andrew John Herbertson (1865-1915)
On the centenary of Oxford's first Professor of Geography we remember his influential life and career.
Burkina Faso gets support to develop national rural development plan
Dr Joost Vervoort has been working with policy makers in Burkina Faso to integrate future scenarios into the policy planning process for a new rural development plan.
A collaborative research project led by Prof Whatmore wins a Civic Voice National Design Award
Slowing the Flow in Pickering - A collaborative research project led by Prof Sarah Whatmore has won a Judges Special Prize at the Civic Voice National Design Awards
Rewilding isn't about nostalgia - exciting new worlds are possible
'The restoration of natural ecosystems - "rewilding" - ought to be a chance to create inspiring new habitats', Dr Paul Jepson writes in the Conversation.
Pilio named one of the most exciting energy management companies to watch
A new report by Verdantix has announced ECI's first spin-out company - Pilio - as one of the most exciting energy management companies to watch in 2015.
Innovative food systems teaching and learning programme to improve food security and environmental outcomes.
Hefce have awarded funding to a consortium of 5 universities to offer post-graduate training on food systems in order to address the urgent need for a workforce skilled in food systems thinking.
Scientists should tell investors about climate, carbon and divestment
Professor Myles Allen writes for the Guardian newspaper, suggesting that if investors want to know whether their portfolios are contributing to dangerous climate change, they should be able to find out.
Speedy study claims climate change doubled chances of European heatwave
Our near real-time analysis of extreme weather in relation to climate change is reported in Nature news.
Pupil records Oxford's 3rd hottest July day in 135 years
A pupil from Shipston High School was on hand last week to help the School's meteorologists record Oxford's third hottest July day since 1880.
Getting to net zero: what role for investors in the energy industry? New research initiative announced
A new research programme, the Oxford Martin Safe Carbon Investment Initiative will work with investors and industry to create a set of criteria for safe fossil fuel investment as the world works to avoid a temperature rise of more than of 2C above pre-industrialised levels.
Flood risk: making better infrastructure investments
Researchers at the Environmental Change Institute are helping evaluate and communicate best practice in national-scale flood risk analysis and long-term investment planning for flood management.
RCUK highlights Oxford's 'innovative' smart handpumps project
The Research Councils UK is showcasing 'Smart Handpumps' project, led by Dr Rob Hope, which uses mobile phone technology to transmit data on handpump use in rural Kenya
UK Government warned to take urgent action to prepare for the impact of climate change
A new set of reports by the Committee on Climate Change calls for urgent action by the UK Government to avoid the increasing costs and impacts of climate change.
Has climate change made the drought in the Western US more likely?
A new Weather@home experiment has been launched to find out if the Californian drought has been caused by climate change. Help us by running climate models on your computer.
At an awards ceremony in London last evening, Dr Jane Dyson was awarded an ESRC Prize for Outstanding International Impact for her research and its dissemination via her film 'Lifelines'.
The ESRC Impact prizes reward researchers whose work has had a substantial impact on society. Dr Jane Dyson's documentary on the challenges facing young people in the Indian Himalayas has reached school children, students and policymakers worldwide. Many congratulations from all in SoGE for this terrific achievement!
Heritage public engagement proves great success
On the 18th of June a team of researchers from the Oxford Rock Breakdown Laboratory (OxRBL) were invited to Wolvercote Village Hall in north Oxford to discuss research relevant to the historically significant Scheduled Monument of Godstow Abbey/Nunnery.
In Memoriam: Margaret E Marker 1932 - 2015
A great way to give back: Alumni meet students
Trinity Term was busy with alumni visiting the School to share their career stories with our current students.
Maps Galore: TOSCA visits the Weston Library
On 7 May Map Librarian Nick Millea invited a group of 25 map enthusiasts to visit the Weston Library on a 'field trip' organised by The Oxford Seminars in Cartography (TOSCA)
Desertification: the environment gone pear-shaped?
On the World Day to Combat Desertification, Dr Troy Sternberg considers some important questions: What is desertification? Is it caused by climate or humans? Are deserts taking over? Can the process be stopped?
In Memoriam: Derek Diamond 1933 - 2015
The climate context for India's deadly heatwave
Scientific American examines whether there will be more extreme heat waves in the future after India's hot spell has left more than 2,000 dead. Dr Friederike Otto explains how our extreme event attribution research is helping to provide answers.
Sustainable transport: electric dreams vs carbon reality
On 21 May Prof David Banister gave a joint seminar with Dr McCulloch, head of the Electrical Power Group and Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Science at the Oxford Martin School. Their joint seminar focused on low carbon technologies in transport and the issues surrounding their implementation
UN climate talks increasingly favour people alive today over future generations.
This article by Professor Myles Allen in the Conversation suggests that cutting short-lived climate pollutants will have little effect on peak-warming compared to focussing on accumulating pollutants such as CO2.
Negotiating Hunger: Agriculture and the UN Climate Talks.
DPhil student Chase Sova highlights the main challenges around agriculture and global food security in the upcoming round of climate negotiations.
Base greenhouse gas targets on science not expediency, says leading climate scientist.
New Oxford Martin policy paper by Myles Allen argues that until CO2 emissions are falling, cutting short-lived climate pollutants such as methane won't help limit peak warming.
Dr Patricia Daley receives Outstanding Supervisor Award from Oxford University Student Union
'Inequality and Austerity' at the Hay Festival
Mary O'Hara and Danny Dorling's talk on 'Inequality and Austerity' at the Hay Festival on 23 May is available online.
Virtual worlds so good they'll change our grasp on real life
Dr Richard Bailey's research on fisheries off the West Coast of the US features in New Scientist
Dr Nihan Akyelken has been named the 2015 International Transport Forum Young Researcher of the Year
An international jury of experts have chosen Dr Nihan Akyelken as the recipient of the International Transport Forum's 2015 Young Researcher of the Year Award
Where does animal farming fit in tomorrow's world?
A new think piece examines possible scenarios for the future of livestock production.
Tougher laws to reduce wildlife trade 'can backfire'
Western conservation groups are seeking stricter law enforcement to tackle a trade in endangered wildlife, but Dr Paul Jepson warns that this is not a 'silver bullet' solution. He highlights the case of the Bali Starling in an article published in the journal Oryx.
Sunny Tenerife? So much more than scenery
Lara Pysden (second year undergraduate) writes about the recent fieldtrip to Tenerife on the SoGE field trip blog.
Victoria Alice Ferris named joint winner of the University's Graduate Photography Competition
Victoria Alice Ferris (current MPhil) was recently named the joint winner of the University's Graduate Photography Competition 2015
Dr Patricia Daley was interviewed about the current political situation in Burundi
Dr Patricia Daley was interviewed about the current political situation in Burundi on the BBC World Service Weekend programme and on Al Jazeera Television News.
Met Office award for 200 years of continuous weather observations at Oxford
Oxford University's Radcliffe Meteorological Station is the longest running continuous weather station in the UK. On 15 May, the Met Office will present an award to the University 'in recognition of 200 years of continuous climate observations at the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford'.
Journal explores evidence of aboriginal cultivation of key marine resources
The series of papers published in Human Ecology present studies of the region's largely overlooked indigenous mariculture practices and examines the contributions that the local knowledge and traditions have on fish productivity and their habitats.
Cocoa farming is used to protect forests and reduce poverty in Ghana
A new film set around our ECOLIMITS project in Ghana explores the links between cocoa farming, forest protection and ecosystems services around Kakum National Park. Featuring interviews with researcher Dr Alex Morel
Cartogram by Ben Hennig in the THES shows a "stark divide" in quality-related funding between Universities in southern England compared to the north
Ten research-intensive universities in the South of England will get more than 2,000 each year in quality-related research funding for every student at the institution, an analysis has shown
Is it global warming or just the weather?
A recent article in the Economist traces the history of extreme weather event attribution and finds its roots in concepts developed by Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at the ECI.
TSU well represented at 2015 AAG annual conference
The Transport Studies Unit was well represented at the 2015 Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, which was held between 21st and 25th April in Chicago, Illinois.
Animated mapping is bringing elections to life
The use of animated mapping is now being widely used by television and animators to visualize election results in eye-catching and informative ways. Pioneering work on the use of cartograms in general elections has been an area of work examined by Professor Danny Dorling for more than 20 years.
School of Geography and the Environment remains ranked top in the world in the 2015 QS World University Rankings by Subject
The annual QS World University Rankings is a comprehensive guide to the world's top universities in a range of popular subject areas. The School has been ranked top in Geography for the fifth year running.
MSc students get 'hands on' with freshwater biodiversity at Otmoor
The MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management class recently journeyed to Otmoor, a historic wetland landscape to the northeast of Oxford, to learn about freshwater biodiversity and wetland restoration. Melissa von Mayrhauser reports back.
In Memoriam: Professor W. Mike Edmunds
"It's all about the rocks!" So, Mike would gently direct students and reticent researchers to the unerring importance of groundwater for society's sustainable development in the past, present and future.
International conference to hail Glasgow as leading city-region on climate change adaptation
Oxford University water research at the 2015 European Geosciences Union General Assembly
There was a great turnout for the School of Geography and the Environment at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, where eight students and staff presented their latest water and climate related research findings.
Water Lives to screen alongside H2Omx at the 2015 UK Green Film Festival
Water Lives a science advocacy short produced by MSc in BCM alumni Rob St John and course director Dr Paul Jepson has been selected for screening alongside H2Omx at the 2015 UK Green Film Festival
Dr Tim Schwanen is the new Director of the Transport Studies Unit
Dr Tim Schwanen has accepted the offer of appointment to the Associate Professorship in Transport Studies, in association with a Tutorial Fellowship at St Anne's College, Oxford, and incorporating the Directorship of the TSU
Al Harris receives Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship
The award to ECI's Alumnus was presented to Al Harris and his NGO Blue Ventures in recognition of their work towards solving some of the world's most pressing problems.
Professor Heather Viles is the new Head of the School of Geography and the Environment
Developing a new tool to manage groundwater risks in Africa
Oxford University is embarking on a four-year research project to improve the management of groundwater in rural Africa for economic growth and human development.
Water insecurity is 'a drag on the global economy'
A new report shows floods, droughts and a lack of investment in providing good quality, reliable water supplies is dragging down the global economy. The report, 'Securing Water, Sustaining Growth', was written by an international Task Force co-chaired by Professor Jim Hall.
How can the retail sector drive down energy costs and build more profitable and sustainable businesses?
A roundtable discussion hosted by The Telegraph and including Dr Kathryn Janda explores how the retail sector needs to be energy-savvy in order to prosper.
Dry winter is a huge relief for businesses at risk of flooding
Figures from the School's Radcliffe Meteorological Station show this winter's rainfall to be three per cent below average bringing relief to businesses that were previously victims of severe flooding.
Take the PASTA survey to help create a healthier, more active urban population through healthy transport planning
The PASTA (Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches) project, is running a two-year survey which looks at the travel patterns of up to 14,000 people in seven cities across Europe.
Learning our Lessons : A Review of Alternative Livelihood Projects in Central Africa
A new report by the ECI and IUCN evaluates the effectiveness of alternative livelihoods projects in Central Africa
The world's most polluting coal plants are identified
New research from the Stranded Assets Programme of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment within the School of Geography and the Environment has identified the least efficient coal-fired power stations in the world.
Scientists urge East Africa get ready for global warming
Current DPhil student Sarah O'Keefe is featured in an article by the Voice of America on the impact of climate change in East Africa.
Oxford University and UK Government to lead research to improve global water supply
A global research project led by the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford and backed by the British Government will help millions of people in Africa and South Asia to have reliable access to water.
Dr Patricia Daley admitted to the Proctor's Office as Assessor for 2015-16
Dr Patricia Daley has been admitted to the Proctor's Office as Assessor for the year 2015-16. The Assessor is the third senior officer of the University, working alongside the Proctors, and has a particular responsibility for student welfare and finance.
Europe's ban on 'wasteful' gadgets - does it cost or save?
Staff alumni Dr Kevin Lane comments on the latest EU Policies to withdraw inefficient electrical goods - building on research carried out by the ECI in the 1990s.
Climate change aggravating cyclone damage, scientists say
Professor Myles Allen comments in a Guardian article about the suggestion that climate change is causing more storms.
Risk of extreme storms in west of Ireland increases by 25%.
Professor Myles Allen talks to RTE News about the latest research into extreme weather events and their possible link with climate change.
New research shows: England is now more divided than 1980s
New analysis of Census data by Prof Danny Dorling and Dr Ben Hennig, funded by independent charity Trust for London, shows England has experienced significant changes in the composition of its households during the three decades running from 1980-2010.
Oxford shortlisted to become international beacons of ultra-low emission vehicle use
Dr Tim Schwanen is part of a bid which sees Oxford one of twelve British cities shortlisted to become centres of excellence for low emission vehicles
Reflections on TSU seminar series
This year's annual TSU seminar series on the Scalar Politics of Transport has come to an end, and the final two weeks of seminars have been as successful as the first two
Smartphones become Smart Stones
Research in the School is demonstrating how ordinary smartphones can be turned into cheap, simple devices to monitor climate and environment.
A better understanding of the impact of soil moisture on summer rainfall
New research published in Nature Communications explains the apparent contradiction found in earlier studies between the likelihood of summer rainfall and soil moisture.
Prof Danny Dorling participates in BBC Radio 4 discussion on green belts around cities
Prof Dorling discusses the green belt around Oxford and the city's housing crisis on BBC Radio 4's 'Costing the Earth' programme
Dr Derek McCormack awarded a British Academy mid-career fellowship
Dr McCormack will be undertaking a programme of work on 'The experimental politics of atmospheric assemblages' for 12 months from September 2015.
Prof Yadvinder Malhi delivers 2nd SoGE Annual Lecture at Royal Geographical Society
On 12 February, alumni, current students staff and friends of the School of Geography and Environment met at the Royal Geographical Society to hear the School's second Annual Lecture delivered by Professor Yadvinder Malhi.
Videos and photos from our recent SEED event are now online
On Thursday 15 January 2015, over 120 members of SoGE gathered in the Halford Mackinder Lecture Theatre to listen to a series of exciting speedy talks.
Direct evidence that drought-weakened Amazonian forests 'inhale less carbon'
New research published today in Nature provides direct evidence of the rate at which individual trees in the Amazon Basin 'inhale' carbon from the atmosphere during a severe drought.
New NERC and DFID funding to model the African climate system
The School has received funding from NERC and DFID as part of the Future Climate for Africa programme, for a new research project entitled IMPALA (Improving Model Processes for African cLimAte), which aims to deliver a step change in predictive capability for Africa on the 5-40 year timescales.
Fracking: Too risky by far
Former staff member and author of The Energy of Nations, Dr Jeremy Leggett, makes the case against fracking in the online debate featured in Oxford Today.
Average house prices in Oxford 'become least affordable in Britain'
Average house prices in the South East, and especially London, rose even faster during 2014 (January to December) than in the same period of 2013, according to new research by Prof Danny Dorling.
'Generation rent?' we've been here before
Prof Danny Dorling writes for The Guardian on home ownership trends in Britain and the need for better rental market regulation.
TSU DPhil student, Eric Chan, has been awarded a Hong Kong Research Grant from the Royal Geographical Society to assist with fieldwork expected to be carried out later this year
Transport, Climate Change and the City
A new book by Dr Robin Hickman and Prof David Banister seeks to develop achievable low CO2 emission futures for transport in a range of international case studies.
Why does transport policy change?
Phil Goodwin, Professor of Transport Policy at the Centre for Transport and Society, UWE Bristol, refers to recent TSU research in an article for Local Transport Today.
TSU convenes experts to discuss the Scalar Politics of Transport
We're now halfway through this year's annual TSU seminar series and the first two seminars have been a success. This year's theme - the Scalar Politics of Transport - has been focused on some important discussion areas emerging or evolving in the transport realm across scales.
Climate change and food security - follow John Ingram's recent talk at the IIED
Dr John Ingram was the special guest for an IIED Critical Theme on 12 February 2015. The seminar focused on environmental change, food security and food system activities, and highlights can be followed on storify.
Working with the environment to help Rotterdam live with climate change.
Somewhere that's 80% below sea level has to be innovative in its struggle against the tides. But will the Dutch city succeed in being climate proof by 2025?
Academics tackle key issues at stake in 2015 climate negotiations
The impact of humanity's 'extended metabolism' on our planet and questions around predicting climate change with certainty were explored by Professor Yadvinder Malhi in the first two seminars in the new Oxford Martin School series, 'Creating a climate for change: what's at stake in global climate negotiations'.
Obituary: Miss Sheila O'Clarey, 1928-2015
Miss Sheila O'Clarey (12/11/1928-29/01/2015), who held the position of Secretary to the Heads of Geography for a number of years, died peacefully in her sleep on 29 January 2015. Her Humanist funeral will be held at the Oxford Crematorium on Wednesday 18th February at 2.30pm.
The secret lives of child labourers of the Himalayas
Dr Jane Dyson's research is featured by Times Higher Education
Unravelling the complexities of climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation: Results from the CLIMSAVE project
How anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are changing the odds of individual extreme weather events - a communication opportunity
Launch of the brand new SEED series: Buzz over speedy talks
On Thursday 15 January 2015, over 120 members of SoGE descended upon the Halford Mackinder Lecture Theatre to listen to a series of exciting speedy talks on research highlights by the School's five research clusters and three research centres.
The high cost of keeping our politicians on the road
TSU Visiting Research Associate, Geoff Dudley, is interviewed in the Guardian on the costs of government cars
The world's largest conference on economic geography opens for registration
The School of Geography and the Environment and the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford, host the Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography on 19-23 August 2015.
Can the UK be the richest country in the world?
Professor Danny Dorling and the UK Business Minister Matt Hancock - debate economic growth on BBC's Newsnight programme after George Osborne suggests the UK could become richer than the US in 15 years
HM Treasury acknowledge ITRC's contribution to the National Infrastructure Plan
Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016
Danny discussing with Ben Southwood of the Adam Smith Institute about Oxfam's report that states that Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016. Broadcast on BBC World News with Tim Willcox, 19th January 2015.
Dr Tom Thornton disucsses the use of Terra Preta - black earth - as a soil fertilizer for Deutsche Welle
A new video to promote research on society's resilience to catastrophic natural hazards is launched by the ENHANCE project
Dr Brenda Boardman presents at All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group event on the 'Road to Paris and How to Get there'
The joint event with the All Party Parliamentary Lighting Group discussed whether we are on track to meet our domestic carbon reduction targets and explored what policies and are needed to achieve those targets.
Sunniest December in Oxford marks the end of the world's warmest year say Oxford weather experts
December 2014 in Oxford was the sunniest since records began in 1881. Observers from Oxford University's Radcliffe Meteorological Station recorded nearly 97 hours of sunshine for the month.
Measuring the fate of the Amazon forests - a photographic exhibition
A photo exhibition from science expeditions to the Amazon is being previewed online and will open in Arizona later this year. The photos by Jake Bryant include a number of ECI researchers during fieldwork campaigns to the amazon.
'Ivy on Walls' research featured on BBC's 'Great British Garden Revival'
Dr Martin Coombes discusses some of the work undertaken in collaboration with English Heritage to test the effects of ivy on historic walls, watched by 1.6 million viewers.
Andean countries join forces to strengthen policies in the face of future scenarios
A team from ECI meet with policy-makers from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia to further strengthen national agricultural and climate policies with CCAFS
Professor Jim Hall appears as an expert witness before the UK Environmental Audit Committee on climate change adaptation
Current DPhil student John C Mittermeier included in Forbes' 30 Under 30: Young Scientists list
Prof Sarah Whatmore appointed to Defra Science Advisory Council 2015-2017
Prof Sarah Whatmore has been appointed a member of the Defra (Department of environment, food and rural affairs) Science Advisory Council for three years from January 2015
Ignore the frosts, 2014 was city's warmest in 200 years
Dr Ian Ashpole, the School's Radcliffe Met Station Observer, has confirmed that 2014 was warmest year in Oxford in 200 years.
School retains and reinforces its position as one of the UK's top departments of Geography and Environmental Studies
The School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) has retained and reinforced its position as one of the UK's top departments of Geography and Environmental Studies in the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) released on 18 December.
UK using less energy despite growing economy, report finds
Dr Nick Eyre comments on the trend that energy use is lower than in 1970 even though the economy is twice as big, and puts this down to policy - reported by the BBC.
Helping Honduras build a more robust climate adaptation strategy for the agriculture sector
CCAFS latest blog post reports on future scenario development and modelling approaches which helps further strengthen Honduras' risk management and climate adaptation strategy. With contributions from Joost Vervoort.
Listen to Danny Dorling discuss the gap between the rich and poor on the BBC World Service
Danny Dorling is interviewed about the latest OECD report on inequality and wealth.
In Focus: Wealth on the British Isles
Blog post by Dr Benjamin Hennig on the relevance and impact of the super-rich on society.
Frank Hajek presents ecosystem and carbon monitoring results of the Andes and Biodiversity Research Group (ABERG) at COP20, Lima, in conjunction with a Biodiversity Monitoring initiative proposal by the Pacific Alliance.
Oxford flood experts contribute to government report on innovation and risk
Professor Edmund Penning-Rowsell and Paul Sayers co-authored a flooding case study in the Annual Report of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser 2014 'Innovation: Managing Risk, Not Avoiding It'.
Extreme weather driving countries to adapt to climate change
Adapting to climate change has reached the political agenda in most European countries, according to the most comprehensive analysis of adaptation in Europe published to date by the European Environment Agency, with contributions from UKCIP. Extreme weather events and EU policies were the most common reasons for beginning to address adaptation.
Will stamp duty cuts leave you locked out of housing market?
Professor Danny Dorling comments for Channel 4 News online
Dr John Ingram is appointed as member to the UNEP International Resource Panel
REDD+ on the ground: New book offers insights, lessons from across the tropics
Research from Dr Rich Grenyer and colleagues shows that minimising the loss of rainforest in Indonesia could reduce global carbon emissions and prevent species extinctions at the same time - but only if we have more detailed knowledge both of carbon stocks and the distribution of biodiversity.
'Good news' for Oxfordshire's economy
Oxfordshire's economy is set to benefit from the expected demand for low carbon goods and services over coming decades, says a new report. The research was carried out by the ECI with Low Carbon Oxford, a network of organisations working towards a low carbon economy.
612 Ways to Change the World: ECI Alumni Dinner and ECM 20th Anniversary on 6 September 2014
Every year in early September the newly graduated class of our MSc in Environmental Change and Management comes together with alumni of the course and ECI staff at the annual ECI Alumni Dinner. Read a student's account of the event by Sophie Hesar.
A Diamond Reunion: Group of Oxford Geographers who matriculated in 1954
Oxford Alumni Weekend - Lectures and Herbertson Lunch
On Saturday 20 September, we held our second Herbertson Lunch for SoGE Alumni, this time in our own freshly refurbished building on South Parks Road. 40 alumni came to our lunch reception, and even more to the preceding lectures by Dr Jamie Lorimer and Professor Sarah Whatmore.
Insights into Teaching: SoGE Careers event
To give students a well-informed start into teaching and help with decision-making, we organised a dedicated teaching careers event for our current students on the 29th of October 2014.
The future of mobility: no emissions, no accidents, no drivers?
The Transport Studies Unit were involved in a high profile lecture given by Dr Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
Current graduate research explores the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles for environmental research
DPhil student, Jerome Mayaud, explores the application of unmanned aerial vehicles during fieldwork in Namibia to investigate the effects of dryland vegetation on wind erosion.
Climate change: the necessary, the possible and the desirable
In time with this year's UNFCCC meeting in Lima, a group of leading scientists, including Earth League members - a global alliance of prominent climate scientists - laid out in a joint paper the key elements of the 'the necessary, the possible and the desirable' in relation to climate change, stressing the profound opportunities for transformation we have before us.
"Transformation is Possible. Roadmaps for the Future of Transport in Europe" - European Stakeholders express their views
On 8 December 2014, TRANSFORuM will release four stakeholder-driven roadmaps towards the European Commission's White Paper on Transport.
Oxford researchers bridge the gap between flood risk science and management
ECI awarded EU funds to strengthen food and nutrition security within Europe.
Dr Brenda Boardman was interviewed for a documentary about "the future of housing"
The Premiere will be on Thursday 4th December from 7 pm at a Passivhaus retrofit in Islington (Mildmay Community Centre, Woodville Road, London N16 8NA)
Sebastian Koa, St Catherine's College, has been awarded first prize for his undergraduate dissertation by the History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group of the RGS-IBG
Sebastian's dissertation was titled "Propositions for a radically empirical geomorphology".
Prof. Danny Dorling joins the BBC World at One discussing 'The Green Belt - more harm than good?'
Stopping floods on the cheap: A success story from Yorkshire
Prof. Sarah Whatmore and a team of researchers - funded by the BBSRC, ESRC and the NERC - ran a pilot project in Pickering, North Yorkshire to study the effectiveness of a new methodology for flood management decision-making.
Benno Simmons, Jesus College, was runner-up in the 2014 RGS Quantitative Methods Research Group national undergraduate competition
Benno's dissertation was titled "Geodiversity and biodiversity: evaluating the predictive power and surrogacy performance of abiotic heterogeneity in the United Kingdom"
The students who feel they have the right to cheat
Students are often keen to exercise their rights but recently there has been an interesting twist - some in India are talking about their right to cheat in university exams. Professor Craig Jeffrey gives his perspectives on corruption in the Indian education system and some of the measures being taken to cope with the large youth population seeking higher education.
Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC.
Yadvinder Malhi presents an inspiring 3 min 'haylevel' video for A-Level students on humanity's impact on the biosphere.
ECI researchers call for more science-policy dialogue on "loss and damage" from climate change.
How effective are we in tackling water security?
A new paper, led by Prof. Jim Hall, published in Science has examined how regions around the world are coping with variable and unpredictable freshwater resources caused through drought or floods, and how this affects economic output.
Dr Matthew Niblett gives evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee
TSU Visiting Research Associate Dr Matthew Niblett gave evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on the economic benefits of HS2 last week whilst Prof David Banister, along with two other TSU VRAs, Dr Geoff Dudley and Dr Moshe Givoni, submitted evidence to the same enquiry. "Academics are divided over the benefits likely to flow from HS2, particularly the extent to which the high speed railway scheme will kick-start regional economies..." says Paul Dale in the Chamberlain Files. Dr Niblett supported the Government's view that HS2 would release much-needed capacity on existing rail routes and anticipated continuing growth in rail travel at the expense of journeys by car.
Dr Jane Dyson's film Lifelines, based on her work in the Indian Himalayas, is an Official Selection at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival 2014
Science could inform UN's loss and damage mechanism
Event 'attribution' studies could start to open a dialogue between scientists and parties to the UNFCCC about what the science can offer, and how it might contribute to the policy process. Read this article on a paper written by ECI for the UNFCCC negotiations.
Professor Heather Viles awarded the Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal of the European Geosciences Union
The medal was awarded to Professor Viles in recognition of her outstanding scientific contribution to the study of geomorphology.
Addressing corporate water risk means more than just reducing consumption
Dr Alex Money says that companies need to do more than just reduce consumption to address water risk, in a CurrentCast interview, broadcast to 20+ radio stations throughout the United States.
Professor Craig Jeffrey has been elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
The Academy of Social Sciences is the National Academy of Academics, Learned Societies and Practitioners in the Social Sciences. Distinguished scholars and practitioners from academia and the public and private sectors are awarded Fellowship status after peer group review of the standing and impact of their work and evaluation of their contribution to wider social science.
University of Oxford and University of Khartoum explore collaboration
In September, members from the Oxford Water Network hosted Professor Gamal Abdo, Director of the Water Research Centre of the University of Khartoum, Sudan.
Global experts discuss drought risk
A symposium was held in Oxford on 22 September, bringing together global experts on the causes and impacts of droughts. The speakers shared experience and expertise from Australia, America, Europe and the UK, providing interdisciplinary insights into the climatic and socio-economic factors that contribute to drought.
Dr Brenda Boardman has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to energy efficiency and fuel poverty by the Carbon Action Network
Dr Paul Jepson interviewed on Al Jazeera's 'The Stream' programme
Dr Paul Jepson's recent article 'Five ways to save the world's wildlife vanishing' published in The Conversation resulted in an panel appearance on Al Jazeera's 'The Stream' programme
Attributing extreme weather to climate change in real-time
Dr Friederike Otto examines the question of how extreme weather events might be linked to climate change in this blog entry for the Carbon Brief.
Transport Studies Unit mentioned in Vice-Chancellor's Oration 2014
The Vice-Chancellor acknowledged the local economic growth work the TSU is doing in conjunction with the Oxford City Council and the Department of Engineering, in reimagining the Westgate Centre development. When the car park is demolished, the city will lose 800 of its 2000 parking spaces and our study recommends smarter use of data in order to improve traffic management and flow throughout the area to keep the city functioning.
Oxford is rewriting ancient weather record books
New data from the School's Radcliffe Meteorological Station shows that September was the second driest on record.
Bite-size planning: can local adaptation planning motivate south-south learning exchanges?
A new working paper and blog by Abrar Chaudhury - SIA project members on Local Adaptation Planning initiatives in Nepal and Pakistan. See how the two countries are implementing LAPAs and what it means for smallholding farming communities
Dr Richard Powell appeared as an Expert Witness before the House of Lords Select Committee on the Arctic this morning.
The evidence sessions aim to examine key issues for the Arctic including shipping, opportunities for energy resource extraction and the role of Russia in the Arctic. Richard Powell is a specialist in historical and polar geography and last June, he received the RGS-IBG Gill Memorial Award for his research.
Scientists to 'fast-track' evidence linking global warming to wild weather
Dr Friederike Otto promotes new tool to link climate change to weather in this Independent article.
Developing practical strategies for cooperation in the Nile basin
Kevin Wheeler, DPhil candidate at the Environmental Change Institute, recently presented his work on alternative management strategies of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the effects on the distribution of benefits among the Nile Basin countries of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
Retailers paying over the odds given helping hand on utility bills
Research from the WICKED project warns that retailers may be paying larger energy bills than they need to as a result of not managing their energy use, even those with smart meters.
A systematic review of integrated adaptation and mitigation policies gets highlighted in this month's Nature Climate Change
Dr Pam Berry and team have been involved in a review of cross-sectoral interactions of adaptation and mitigation measures, published in Climatic Change this month. Read more about this research in Nature's monthly research highlight.
Explaining Extreme Weather Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective
The annual Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) special issue on the attribution of last year's extreme weather events is published today. This year's issue "explaining extreme events of 2013 - from a climate perspective" includes two papers led by researchers from our climateprediction.net team.
Five ways to stop the world's wildlife vanishing
Dr Paul Jepson has written a timely piece on The Conversation, given the recent Living Planet Report 2014, which carried the headline of a 52% drop in wildlife populations over the past forty years.
Danny Dorling on education and inequality in the Times Higher Education Supplement
Education systems in England are reinforcing divergence in wealth - we must guard against it
The 'hit list' of plants to preserve diversity for future generations
A recent study by scientists from the University of Oxford, including Dr Richard Grenyer and Kate Griffiths, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which manages the Millennium Seed Bank, have used advanced mathematics to construct a 'hit list' of the plant species most needed to boost the overall diversity of the seed bank.
New teaching resources now available to accompany Lifelines film on life in the Himalayas
Tram system as part of winning entry in this year's Wolfson Economics Prize
Dr Fiona Ferbrache was part of a team of transport advisors who contributed to the winning proposal for the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize
Incentives for forest conservation: the experience of certification in Brazil
Dr Nick Eyre gives evidence to the The House of Commons Energy Select Committee report on Green Deal
Helen Spooner, Hertford College, has been awarded the runner-up prize for her undergraduate dissertation by the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group of the RGS-IBG
Helen's dissertation was titled "A Kinaesthetic Spirituality: An Autophenomenographic Account of Running 250km of the Camino Portugus".
Managing coasts under threat from climate change and sea-level rise
Coastal regions under threat from climate change and sea-level rise need to tackle the more immediate threats of human-led and other non-climatic changes, according to a team of international scientists.
Safe enough? Proportionate climate change adaptation in London's water supply system
London faces increased risk of water shortages in the future due to climate change and population growth if no actions are taken to increase supply or reduce demand, according to a new study led by Edoardo Borgomeo and Jim Hall at the Environmental Change Institute. The research presents a new methodology for water managers to incorporate climate change uncertainties into water resources planning.
Links between the transport profession and academic transport studies
The Transport Studies Unit's Oxford Leadership Programme: "Global Challenges in Transport" was launched in March 2013. Over the past 18 months the TSU have welcomed over 95 participants from 21 different countries and heard from over 50 speakers.
First ever observational analysis of low-level jets in the central Sahara
An international consortium led by Professor Richard Washington from the School of Geography and the Environment have provided the first ever observational analysis of low-level jets in the central Sahara in a paper led by Christopher Allen.
Prof Yadvinder Malhi discusses the value of 'second growth' forests for carbon drawdown on BBC Radio 4
Working with the Government of Bangladesh to tackle poverty and environmental challenges in the Delta
Researchers from the School were recently involved in a national-level stakeholder workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, aimed at engaging government and stakeholder groups in the development of tools, information and strategies for poverty alleviation and environmental management in coastal Bangladesh
Energy modelling team from ITRC awarded best presentation at 2014 Grand Renewable Energy International Conference in Tokyo
Oxford research brings to light businesses' energy use
Twenty enthusiastic and talented Year 12 Geographers attended the 2014 UNIQ Geography Summer School
The UNIQ Geography Summer School is part of the University's outreach programme for UK based state school students. As an innovation this year, there was also a UNIQ Taster Day attended by eight students.
Dr Johanna Waters awarded BERA Brian Simon Fellowship 2014
The fellowship which commences in September 2014 includes funding for an 18-month qualitative study into internationalisation within secondary schools in England.
Prof. David Banister and Dr Jennie Middleton awarded funding for research into the everyday mobilities of visually impaired young people
Prof. David Banister and Dr Jennie Middleton of the Transport Studies Unit, together with Prof. Harry Daniels (Department of Education, Oxford) have been awarded a John Fell Fund grant on 'everyday mobilities of visually impaired young people'
ECI's July newsletter is now available online
Major new research to advance our capacity to value and manage ecosystem services
Doctoral student Scott Thacker presented 'Young Scientist Award' at the ICVRAM
The award was in recognition of his conference paper 'Characterizing the Vulnerability of Future Configurations of Great Britain's Electricity Network Infrastructure to Climate-related Hazards'.
Dr Tina Fawcett speaks in the House of Commons during seminar on Tradable Energy Quotas
Do new walking and cycling routes increase active travel, improve public health and mitigate carbon emissions?
First, the good news: new study finds high-quality traffic-free routes encourage more walking and cycling for better health. Now the not-so-good news: despite these increases in active travel and physical activity further study finds no change in carbon emissions from motorised transport
Toru Kubo speaks on Grid Integrated Vehicles at the 2014 Asia Clean Energy Forum
TSU's Toru Kubo attended the 2014 Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) in Manila, Philippines from 18 to 20 June where he spoke on Grid Integrated Vehicles
Long-term investment in flood and coastal risk management - scoping future approaches
Working in association with CH2M HILL, Paul Sayers, Senior Visiting Fellow at the School of Geography and the Environment, and Professor Jim Hall, Director of the Environmental Change Institute, have recently been appointed to explore the next generation of methods to support the Environment Agency's national long-term investment strategy.
Final Honour School Prizes 2014
We are delighted to announce this year's winners of undergraduate prizes for outstanding achievements in Final Honour School (FHS) exams.
Professor Sarah Whatmore elected Fellow of the British Academy
Prof. Whatmore was one of 42 highly distinguished UK academics recently elected Fellow of the British Academy in recognition of their outstanding research
Caralampo Focas holds roundtable in New York with regional experts to discuss and validate the results of TENSE study
The EU funded TENSE project (Trends in City Expansion and Transport: the Non-Sustainability of Exurbia) aims to measure the level of unsustainability of cities' outward expansion into exurbia. The project focuses on two world cities, London and New York
Working with the Government of Bangladesh to tackle poverty and environmental challenges in the Delta
Oxford University was recently involved in a national-level stakeholder workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, aimed at engaging government and stakeholder groups in the development of tools, information and strategies for poverty alleviation and environmental management in coastal Bangladesh.
School wins Special Award for Community Action at the University's first ever Green Impact Awards
The School of Geography and the Environment recently won a Special Award for Community Action at the University's first ever Green Impact Awards ceremony on the 19 June 2014.
Professor Craig Jeffrey writes a feature in the BBC Magazine "English Explodes in India - and its not just Hinglish"
Lost without translation: scientific research
Opinion piece in Times Higher Education from Dr Meredith Root-Bernstein and Dr Richard Ladle about the domination of English in scientific communication.
Dr Paul Jepson interviewed on panda diplomacy by Malaysian radio station BFM
New Social Atlas illustrates social and economic realities of Europe for the first time
Prof. Danny Dorling and Dr Ben Henning, co-authors of the The Social Atlas of Europe, use the latest cartographic techniques and state-of-the-art geographical information systems to explore essential issues of European economy, culture, history, and human and physical geography.
Dr Fiona Ferbrache presents report to All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group
On 18 June at the House of Commons, Dr Fiona Ferbrache and Professor Richard Knowles of Salford University, publicly launched the 'An Investigation into the Economic Impacts on Cities of Investment in Light Rail Systems' Report at the House of Commons.
Energy trilemma: Can power be cheap, clean and secure?
Dr Nick Eyre talks about the complexity of energy supply policies in New Scientist
Two SEAHA doctoral scholarships available in conjunction with UCL
The School is part of the new EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering for Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA) which has 12 four-year doctoral studentships on offer (to start in October 2014) - two of which will transfer to Oxford after the first MRes year at UCL.
Obituary: Dr Barbara A Kennedy, 1943-2014
Obituary for Dr Barbara Kennedy, Emeritus Fellow in Geography, who passed away on Tuesday 4 February 2014 after a long illness.
Obituary: Dr Stephen Stokes, 1964-2014
Obituary for Dr Stephen Stokes, luminescence chronologist and Quaternary scientist, who passed away on Monday 24 March 2014 after a long illness.
New project with Climate Central to examine whether climate change played a role in extreme weather
The World Weather Attribution project will seek to assess immediately after an extreme weather event occurs, whether climate change played a role.
New research on water security and sustainable growth presented to high level panel at Singapore International Water Week
On 2nd June, Professor Jim Hall stressed the importance of water security on economic growth at a high level panel discussion at Singapore International Water Week, chaired by Mr Angel Gurria, Secretary-General, OECD and Dr Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Chair, Global Water Partnership
Celebrating a decade of the MSc Water Science, Policy and Management
Alumni from across 10 years of the School of Geography and the Environment's MSc Water Science, Policy and Management gathered in Oxford on 30 May - 1 June 2014 for a weekend packed with celebrations and networking. The Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton gave a special address and commended the course's achievements.
Hay Festival discusses 'Is the Planet Full?'
Professor Yadvinder Malhi joined others from Oxford University to talk about the effects of humans on biodiversity at the Hay Festival.
Tina Fawcett comments on the "zero carbon standard" for new homes in the Queen's speech.
Read the full account of expert opinions on aspects of the Queen's speech in The Conversation.
Place-hacker Bradley Garrett: research at the edge of the law
Bradley Garrett, whose fieldwork was seized and used in court against the urban explorers he studied, says researchers need clear support in this article written for the Times Higher Education supplement.
Dr Jane Dyson has released a short documentary based on her research in the Indian Himalayas
Professor Myles Allen is taking part in live debate for the New York Times this week asking "Can the Market Stave Off Global Warming?"
Bringing cleaner water to Africa using mobile tech
Mobile Water for Development research project featured in BBC news article on mobile offering a brighter future for Africa's rural homes
Climate disputes have little effect on the public, says study
Researchers - including ECI's Greg Goldsmith - have tracked how media coverage can affect levels of public interest in climate science by comparing volumes of searches for climate change issues on Google's search engine.
"Homes are changing too slowly - but you can make your house a super home"
Research by Drs Tina Fawcett and Gavin Killip on the experiences and motivation of Superhome owner-occupiers is published in The Conversation.
Drs Maan Barua and Joe Gerlach awarded prestigious British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships
Dr Maan Barua and Dr Joe Gerlach, both Research and Teaching Fellows at the School of Geography and the Environment, have been awarded prestigious British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships for three years beginning in September 2014.
Global Warming paper 'was not supressed'
Professor Myles Allen speaks out in defense of the peer review process in response to the Times recent report that a climate change paper was rejected by the journal Environmental Research Letters due to "intolerance of dissenting views on climate science".
Royal Geographical Society celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Henrietta Hutton research grant
This year, the Royal Geographical Society celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Henrietta Hutton research grant which supports students undertaking field research overseas.
New Londonmapper site shows that the value of housing sales in England increased by over 30 billion last year
New research by Professor Danny Dorling and Dr Benjamin Hennig reveals images of just how distorted both the country and the capital appears when land is shaped by the value of its residential property.
Blue Ventures Conservation - founded by ECI Alumnus Al Harris - receives St Andrews Prize for the Environment
Dr Constance McDermott highlights some of the challenges of REDD finance in relation to a new digital forest mapping system for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Climatecare receives a Queen's Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development
Climatecare was established by ECI alumnus Mike Mason in 1997 and has recently received the Queen's Award for Enterprise for outstanding contributions to poverty alleviation and tackling climate change. The award is the UK's highest accolade for business success.
What is a sustainable healthy diet?
A new discussion paper by Dr Tara Garnett considers the increasingly topical question of what constitutes a nutritious yet sustainable diet.
Project to restore herring, starting with Sitka
A study on Pacific Herring by Dr Tom Thornton is discussed in this local Alaskan radio programme
Warming boosts UK flooding risk
A BBC report on the citizen science project which suggests climate change really has increased the risk of flooding in the UK.
Climate change 'making extreme rainfall in England more likely'
The recent weather@home 2014 UK Flooding experiment, that assessed the effects of global warming, has found a small but statistically significant increase in the probability of extremely wet winters in southern England.
Smart organisation and planning are prerequisites in smart city solutions for urban areas
This was the key theme that emerged from the 3rd Arab Future Cities Summit held in Doha in April 2014, a conference focusing on the rapidly growing cities of the Middle-East.
Dr Tim Schwanen attends the 2014 Association of American Geographers (AAG) conference
From 8th to 12th April the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers was held in Tampa Florida and attended on TSU's behalf by Dr Tim Schwanen.
"Modi is the man for India's 'generation nowhere' students" writes Prof Craig Jeffrey in The Conversation
Dr Jane Dyson's new book: "Working Childhoods: Youth, Agency and the Environment in India" has been published by Cambridge University Press
Mongolia: 'The Gobi desert is a horrible place to work'
A recent article in The Guardian includes comment from Ariell Ahearn-Ligham, a current DPhil student, who is researching the changing meaning of work, herding, and social relations in Mongolia
Vulnerable substations serving millions still at risk from flooding
Professor Jim Hall says that the 2007 floods were a wake-up call
Amazon trees vulnerable to fire and climate combination
Prof. Yadvinder Malhi comments on African forest resiliency compared to Amazon and other forested regions in this BBC News article
Tel Aviv University launches new Transportation Research Unit
TSU Visiting Research Associate (and former TSU Senior Researcher), Dr Moshe Givoni, opens the Transportation Research Unit (TRU) as Director at Tel Aviv University this week. Professor David Banister presents the inaugural lecture on 'Transport Futures: Thinking the Unthinkable'.
Multidisciplinary Pilot Study Explores Tlingit Cairns in Southeast Alaska
As part of the project Dr Tom Thornton interviews Tlingit elders in a variety of villages in southeast Alaska to get information about these cairns.
Researchers calculate health risks of future heat waves in Greater London
Are humans Earth's biggest enemy? Debate over whether we have destroyed the planet since mankind's birth rages at conference
ITRC conference examines the future of national infrastructure systems and economic prosperity
How the phase-out reduced the risk of blackouts
Oxford academic Brenda Boardman came to prominence earlier this year when she claimed that energy-efficient lighting had helped reduce the risk of power cuts and blackouts. Here she outlines the rationale behind that statement
Radical vision of personal carbon allowances could be the answer to greenhouse gas glut
Dr Tina Fawcett outlines the case for Personal Carbon Trading in The Conversation
New economic models for the Digital Economy
On the 21st of March, Dr David Bonilla, Oxford Martin Fellow and Senior Researcher at the TSU, delivered a key note lecture "Decades of Freight in the European Union: Thinking of 2050" at Imperial College Business School in London.
Living in Enclave Cities
On 20-22 March Dr Tim Schwanen convened an international seminar on enclave urbanism in Utrecht, the Netherlands, together with Ronald van Kempen (Utrecht University) and Bart Wissink (City University, Hong Kong), which brought together some 40 researchers working in one way or another on urban enclaves.
Climate change: UK faces 'more extreme events and floods'.
Professor Jim Hall says the UK will see an increase in temperatures, extreme events and floods as a result of global warming.
Forging successful science-policy interfaces. Launch of new video and podcast produced by Dr Paul Jepson
These outputs arise from January's Water Lives science-policy symposium in Brussels
Climate change will make UK weather too wet and too dry, says Met Office
Professor Jim Hall comments in this Guardian article, saying the UK remains vulnerable without adequate adaptation
Weather@home project team are launching new experiment into the link between climate change and recent heatwaves in Australia and New Zealand
Ecologists learn lessons from the 'ghosts of megafauna'
BBC news report on last week's #oxmegafauna conference at St John's College.
Is this all humans are? Diminutive monsters of death and destruction?
George Monbiot reports from last weeks #oxmegafauna conference at St John's College.
Coastal flooding at the Wow! How? Science fair
A team of volunteers from Oxford University - including ECI's Andres Payo - wowed nearly 4,500 visitors with their 'Disaster Zone' stand at the Wow! How? fair held at the Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford on 15 March.
The 2014 MSc in WSPM class visited the Ebro Basin Authority yesterday as part of their annual study tour
Global campaign to combat climate change has become too complex to manage, study suggests
What killed off the giant beasts - climate change or man?
Earth's 'megafauna' vanished as tribes spread. Now palaeontologists are asking if early humans were the cause. The Observer newspaper reports on our Megafauna conference in Oxford this week.
SoGE staff participate in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History's "Wow! How?" science fair
Three SoGE staff (Jeannie Scott, Andres Payo, and Patrick Thomson) ran a popular "Disaster Zone" stall at the OUMNH "Wow! How?" science fair on Saturday 15 March.
Prof. Linda McDowell to deliver the Roepke Lecture, sponsored by the Economic Geography specialty group, at the AAG Annual Meeting on 11 April
First results available from the live computer modelling experiment to reveal what role global warming played in the UK's record-breaking wet winter
We congratulate Elizabeth Fitzgerald (Hertford) for being awarded the RGS-IRB Biogeography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize for 2013
Elizabeth's dissertation was entitled 'Testing the Enemy Release Hypothesis: A study of Cameraria ohridella and its parasitoids'.
Dr Patricia Daley has been selected for the James Blaut Award by the Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group of the AAG
As a recipient of the award she will give a lecture at the April 2014 meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Tampa, Florida.
National Adaptation Plans in agriculture: a work in progress
A recent workshop in Dar es Salaam explored how National Adaptation Plan guidelines might be applied in practice. Writing for the CGIAR blog, ECI doctoral student Chase Sova, highlights some of the key take-away messages for agriculture.
Uncovering the mysteries of Saharan dust storms
Professor Richard Washington briefs the Prime Minister of Chad on the consequences of the world's largest dust storm on the planet.
With weather records set to keep on breaking we need to be better prepared
The historical archive suggests that weather records are being broken in recent years and evidence suggests that climate change will make extreme weather events such as these more likely.
Creative ways to engage the youth in South Asia
In new research funded by the ESRC, Professor Craig Jeffrey is working alongside Dr Jane Dyson, Dr Dhana Hughes and Dr Amanda Snellinger to examine the creative ways in which unemployed youth are engaging in politics, often to challenge historical inequalities.
Geographies of Neoliberalism and Resistance After the Crisis: The State, Violence and Labour - An Interdisciplinary Conference
On the 15 February 2014, the School of Geography and the Environment with the Department of International Relations, held an interdisciplinary conference on 'Geographies of Neoliberalism and Resistance After the Crisis: The State, Violence and Labour'.
Alumni at Danny Dorling's Inaugural Lecture
In a way, Professor Danny Dorling's Inaugural Lecture on 3 February marked two new beginnings: Obviously, it was his first lecture as Halford Mackinder Professor at the School of Geography, but also the first in our new series of Annual Lectures - one out of two recurring events in our events programme for alumni.
Chinese state and citizens must battle airpocalypse together - Dr Anna Lora-Wainwright writes for The Conversation
Transport Controversies seminar series finishes with 'The Transport Debate'
Jon Shaw, Professor of Geography at the University of Plymouth and Iain Docherty, Professor of Public Policy and Governance and Head of Management at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, discussed a whole range of issues affecting transport and mobility policies in the UK in the final Transport Controversies seminar.
Who are the real beneficiaries from developmental transport infrastructure in developing countries?
"Who are the real beneficiaries from developmental transport infrastructure in developing countries?" was the main question and theme of the third Transport Controversies seminar held at the Transport Studies Unit.
Government's 4m fund to dredge rivers in Somerset could only have 'marginal' effects on future flooding, experts warn
Professor Jim Hall comments on the complexity of dredging as an option for protecting against flooding.
Major new report on China's food system.
School of Geography and the Environment remains ranked top in the world in the 2014 QS World University Rankings by Subject
The annual QS World University Rankings is a comprehensive guide to the world's top universities in a range of popular subject areas. The School has been ranked top in Geography for the fourth year running.
Dr Bradley Garrett is featured on BBC Newsnight: 'Urban explorers - intrepid, or troublemakers?'
Answer to flooding lies in the soil
John Boardman writes a letter to the Guardian highlighting the unjoined up thinking in the regulation around soil runoff and erosion for farmers.
Prof. David Banister has been interviewed on the Discovery Channel discussing traffic solutions in So Paulo (in Portuguese)
Prof. Danny Dorling's new book, All That is Solid, has been published
Prof. Danny Dorling's new book on the housing crisis, All That is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster, was published today with an extract printed in the Guardian and reviews in the London Evening Standard and the Metro.
Have you ever considered eating cockroaches for dinner? Food Systems Programme Manager, Anita Ghosh, writes for the Royal Society after last week's Policy Lab event.
Water shortages could disrupt Britain's electricity supply, researchers warn
The Guardian reports on a team of academics from Oxford and Newcastle who say climate change could force nuclear and gas-fired power stations to shut down during droughts
Scotland to be case study for flagship EU climate change project
A new EU funded 9 million euro research project will quantify risks and impacts associated with high-end (extreme) climate and socio-economic scenarios.
Prof. Richard Washington and Dr Ian Ashpole spoke to Paddy O'Connell on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House yesterday about the recent record breaking rainfall (from 30 mins)
According to the Radcliffe Meteorological Station's records, the total precipitation for January 2014 (146.9mm) passed the previous record of 138.7mm in 1852 by more than 8mm.
Tom Ashfold, current DPhil student, will be undertaking a three-month internship with the House of Lords Library between May and July of this year, following a successful application for an ESRC / POST (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology) Postgraduate Fellowship
Overseas property buyers are not the problem: landlord subsidies are
To stop the market overheating, we must end tax incentives for buyers, improve tenants' rights and make better use of our stock - Prof. Danny Dorling writes in the Guardian
Why are the old dying before their time?
Mortality rates for elderly people are rising across the country. Initially, the authorities blamed merely cold weather. Prof. Danny Dorling, writing for the New Statesman, explores how austerity has affected mortality rates.
Oxford University leads 2 million research project on UK droughts and water scarcity
A 2 million, three-year multi-disciplinary research project will provide new insights to minimise and manage the harmful impacts of droughts and water scarcity in the UK.
Women in India becoming more influential in irrigation
Women in northern India are playing an increasingly important role in irrigation, a traditionally male-dominated activity, according to new research published in the journal World Development. This is improving female engagement in formal politics more broadly, says Alexandra Girard, author of the study.
Meeting demand for air travel and the location of extra airport capacity for London were the main topics of debate at the second Transport Controversies seminar
Cllr. Daniel Moylan, The Mayor of London's adviser on aviation and Sveinn Gudmundsson, Professor of Strategic Management, Toulouse Business School, debated the issue of meeting airport capacity demand in a full lecture theatre on the 4 February
The BBC's File on 4 programme examines the impact of recent flooding on Britain's transport systems, with insights from Professor Jim Hall.
Dr Barbara A Kennedy 1943-2014, Emeritus Fellow in Geography
The School is very sorry to hear that Dr Barbara Kennedy, former CUF Lecturer at the School of Geography and Emeritus Fellow of St Hugh's College, died on the 4 February, aged 70
Calculating the risks of coastal flooding and cliff erosion
Scientists at the University of Oxford are developing yet further a computer model that will forecast the environmental risks to Britain's coastline for decades ahead. This will be of immense value to local authority planning departments.
UBS - Smith School Essay Competition for Enterprise and the Environment
The Smith School welcomes graduate students enrolled at the University of Oxford who are keen to explore some of the major environmental issues and challenges facing the world's economies and people to participate in their first annual essay competition.
Time to recognize Nepal's third gender in climate adaptation work.
Meghan Bailey writes blog entry for CGIAR blog. The term 'Third Gender' is widely used in Nepal, and refers to individuals whose gender identity cannot be squarely defined as man or woman. People belonging to the 'third gender' have to be recognized within climate adaptation programming.
As climates change, the lush tropical ecosystems of the Amazon Basin may release more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they absorb, according to a new study in Nature.
Tree roots in the mountains 'acted like a thermostat' for millions of years
Researchers, including Dr Chris Doughty, Dr Ccile Girardin and Prof. Yadvinder Malhi of the ECI, have discovered how tree roots in the mountains may play an important role in controlling long-term global temperatures.
Why the River Thames faces a pollution crackdown - NERC's Planet Earth Online interview Prof. Paul Whitehead
Prof. Paul Whitehead, Professor of Water Science, and Mark Barnett of the Environment Agency explain why the UK's River Thames will fail to meet new pollution standards unless farmers and water companies take radical action.
Prof. Danny Dorling calls for more to be done to narrow the inequalities in wealth in Britain today
Professor Danny Dorling delivered his inaugural lecture as Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography on 'Geography, Inequality and Oxford' at the Exam Schools on Monday 3 February.
Friday afternoon rain gives Oxford wettest January for 250 years, and nearly 3 times the average say Oxford University weather observers
Weather observers at the School of Geography and Environment confirmed that last Friday's afternoon rain has led to this January being the wettest since records began in the 1760s. The heavy rain meant that the total recorded at the University's Radcliffe Meteorological Station overtook the previous record in January 1852 of 138.7mm.
Wellies at the ready as rain simply won't go away
If more rain falls in Oxford today it could make this January the wettest on record. By yesterday, total rainfall levels for the month hit a high of 136.7mm. The wettest January ever recorded by the School's Radcliffe Meteorological Station was in 1852, when there was 138.7mm of rainfall.
Sanitation still a challenge in informal settlements in Africa
A preliminary report on sanitation in three African cities, drawing on the findings of the 3K-SAN research project led by Dr Katrina Charles, has received widespread coverage by the Rwandan media and was a headline news story on Rwandan national TV in January.
The newly released Community Energy Strategy by the Department of Energy and Climate Change cites our 'Monitoring and evaluation for sustainable communities' and 'EVALOC: Evaluating low carbon communities' projects as exemplars for measuring the impact of community energy
Professor Myles Allen appears before the Climate Change Select Committee live on the BBC to talk about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment.
The inquiry explores the latest conclusions of the IPCC and the extent to which the conclusions are robust.
'Tackle volatility in oil prices' to bring global economic growth
The volatility of oil prices is a 'fundamental barrier to stability and economic growth', according to a new study by the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment published in Frontiers in Energy.
Underemployed graduates, 'timepass' and the threat of a global demographic crisis - Prof. Craig Jeffrey writes for The Conversation
TSU's Hilary Term seminar series, Transport Controversies, begins with the spatial implications of HS2
The huge uncertainties regarding the quantifiable benefits and developmental implications of HS2, the proposed High Speed railway connection from London to Birmingham and further north, were highlighted in the first of the Transport Controversies Seminars held at the Transport Studies Unit.
In today's Guardian, Myles Allen comments on a Nature paper which suggests a possible doubling of El Nino frequency over the next 100 years
The Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium launched their interim results report at an event at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London to an audience of decision-makers in industry and in government as well as leading academics.
ECI's spin-out company, Pilio, has been shortlisted for a 2014 Ashden Award for excellence in the field of green energy
Professor Craig Jeffrey talks about dreams in India on BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent
(from 23 mins 50 seconds)
'Dream of gold leads to government excavation in India' - Prof. Craig Jeffrey writes for the BBC News Magazine.
"Lack of research linking climate change and floods is a 'scandal'" reports the BBC on the recent UK floods.
Professor Myles Allen suggests this is due to a lack of investment. Read more on the BBC
We congratulate Aditi Arora (Brasenose) for being awarded the RGS-IRB Transport Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize for 2013
Aditi's dissertation was entitled 'Negotiating space: cycle rickshaws in a changing capital'.
Lions are critically endangered in West Africa
A report published today concludes that the African lion is facing extinction across the entire West African region. The West African lion once ranged continuously from Senegal to Nigeria, but the new paper reveals there are now only an estimated 250 adult lions restricted to four isolated and severely imperiled populations. Only one of those populations contains more than 50 lions.
Malek Al-Chalabi successfully defended his DPhil on the 20 December
Malek's thesis was entitled 'The road not taken? A longitudinal and interdisciplinary examination of energy behaviours.'
We congratulate Hannah Smith (Hertford) who has been awarded the Quaternary Research Association annual prize for 2013 for the best undergraduate dissertation on a Quaternary topic.
Hannah's dissertation was entitled 'Using species distribution modelling to understand the mid-Holocene hemlock decline in North America'.
"It won't be long before the victims of climate change make the west pay. The scientific case is strengthening: developed countries are to blame for global warming - and there will soon be a legal reckoning"
Professor Richard Washington highlights the importance of scientific research for changing global political and legal order related to the links between climate change and drought in the above article published in the Guardian and South China Morning Post.