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Climate Change

The School of International Development contains probably the largest concentration of researchers in the UK working on climate change and development.

We are an interdisciplinary group including natural scientists such as biologists and ecologists, geographers, and social scientists including ecological economists and political scientists. Our research examines a range of climate change issues at international, regional, national and local levels. We have carried out empirical research in a number of countries around the world and engage with policy makers through processes such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Our research on climate change is clustered in three themes:

Adaptation and vulnerability

Policy responses

Climate change and impacts

Climate Change and Development Symposium 2014

The challenge

Action is urgently needed to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  Since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997, total anthropogenic GHG emissions have continued to increase: total anthropogenic GHG emissions were the highest in human history from 2000 to 2010, reaching 49 GtCO2eq/yr in 2010 (IPCC 2014).

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change a new comprehensive global agreement applicable to all Parties is being negotiated (Bodansky 2012). Nevertheless, the process is progressing very slowly and ambitions are being reduced to facilitate the achievement of consensus (Falkner et al. 2010). The absence of a significant outcome to date in multilateral negotiations puts the moral obligation on individual countries to take national mitigation actions. 

Developing countries have already agreed to develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). Conversely, the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol does not include the participation of some major emitter developed countries. But "[e]ven if pledges are fully implemented, the emissions gap in 2020 will be 8–12 GtCO2e per year, assuming least-cost emission pathways. Limited available information indicates that the emissions gap in 2020 to meet a 1.5° C target in 2020 is a further 2–5 GtCO2e per year wider" (UNEP 2013). Delaying further mitigation efforts will substantially increase the difficulty of transiting to low emissions pathways consistent with maintaining temperature change below 2°C relative to pre‐industrial levels (IPCC 2014). 

Developing countries should therefore pragmatically develop ‘climate-friendly' strategies and policies to reduce emissions, whilst also adapting to the increasing manifestations of climate change. The challenge is how to do it in a way that allows them to still reduce poverty and develop socially and economically. Developing countries must anticipate and prepare for the new climate change regime architecture that might emerge in the near future, which could impose emissions reduction commitments to those countries that do not have them so far.

Main outcomes of the Seminar

Leading international experts, academics and practitioners as well as mid-career post-graduates from a range of countries attended to the Seminar that was held on 20th May 2014. It was aimed at exploring and discussing possible ways forward for the design and implementation of ‘climate-friendly' measures that can be suitable for developing countries. In particular, to understand the diverse challenges that can be encountered in those countries. Furthermore, different policy options and approaches to deal with climate change and poverty alleviation were presented with regards to some particular countries.


Panel 1: The challenges

The scientific case for radical emissions reductions

Prof Corinne Le Quéré - Tyndall Centre UEA

Rethinking risk; rethinking politics – the realpolitik of climate change and development

Prof Tim Forsyth - LSE

Panel 2: Low emissions energy pathways for development

Energy pathways in low-carbon development: the needs to go beyond technology transfer

Dr Robert Byrne - University of Sussex

The political economy of energy and climate change mitigation

Dr Lucy Baker - University of Sussex

Know Your Enemy: An Important Element of Climate Strategy

Larry Lohmann - The Corner House

Panel 3: ‘Climate-smart' landscapes? A way forward?

Public policy responses for climate resilient development

Nanki Kaur - IIED

Agriculture & climate change in China

Dr Yuelai Lu - DEV UEA

Is there any escape from ‘REDD'? Towards integrated landscape governance

Dr Oliver Springate-Baginski - DEV UEA



Symposium Documents

  • Event brochureIncludes details of the objective, the participants, the format and a detailed programme.