Carbon Budgets


    Carbon Budgets

    Out of all of the universities in the world, we’ve made the most substantial and sustained contribution to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) across disciplines.

    We’ve been studying the world’s climate since our Climatic Research Unit opened its doors nearly 50 years ago. Our research, drawing on tree rings, ice cores and manuscripts going back hundreds of years, helped to demonstrate how much, and how quickly, the planet is warming. Together with a scientific understanding of the causes of past and future warming, this data underpinned the negotiation of international agreements to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.


    While the world is waking up to the challenges of climate change, our research and knowledge has been making a positive impact for many years:

    • In 2005, Professor Corinne Le Quéré FRS, formerly Director of the Tyndall Centre at UEA, instigated the release of annual carbon budgets within the Global Carbon Project.   
    • In 2007, our substantive research helped the IPCC and Al Gore win the Nobel Peace Prize.
    • We continually monitor the world’s temperature, gathering data from undersea robots and thousands of weather stations around the globe.  


    While climate change is often associated with doomsday scenarios, leading to eco-anxiety, positive progress is being made in some areas. The world still has so much to do. But according to researchers at UEA, University of Exeter and the Global Carbon Project, global carbon emissions in 2019 are predicted to have grown more slowly, with a decline in coal burning offset by strong growth in natural gas and oil use worldwide.

    Our Perspectives

    “Policies have been successful to varying degrees in deploying low-carbon technologies, such as solar, wind and electric vehicles. But these often add to existing demand for energy rather than displacing technologies that emit CO2, particularly in countries where energy demand is growing. We need stronger policies that are targeted at phasing out the use of fossil fuels.”

    - Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Royal Society Research Professor, UEA School of Environmental Sciences

    “Pioneers of climate research, our world-leading experts have collaborated with institutions around the globe over many decades to greatly advance understanding of humankind’s impact on Earth’s climate and eco-systems.”

    - Professor David Richardson, UEA Vice-Chancellor.


    Thinking Without Borders logo