Panel Discussion 'Adaptation limits and prospects for people and ecosystems: findings from the IPCC (WGII) report’

Past Event

10 May 2022, 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Oxford Martin School & Online
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Event Recording:

The IPCC WG1 has already established that human-induced global warming has reached over 1C and is continuing to rise, demonstrating that climate change is not only a threat in the future, but also right now.

Now, the IPCC WG2 report extensively assesses the ‘widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people’ that we are seeing as a result.

How are people vulnerable to these changes, and how does this vary? How well/poorly are we adapting to current impacts, and are there limits to what we can adapt to? What might a simultaneously adaptive and mitigative development approach look like, and how fast is the window closing for taking such an approach?

Join us as Oxford's Climate Research Network and the Oxford Martin School host a panel of IPCC authors to address those questions, and more. This is an opportunity to learn about the latest information that will form the foundation of development over the coming years, directly from those most closely involved in synthesising the global understanding of the problems we face.


  • Dr Lisa Schipper, Environmental Social Science Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute
  • Dr Nicola Stevens, Trapnell Fellow for African Environments, Environmental Change Institute
  • Dr Constance McDermott, Jackson Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor in Land Use and Environmental Change, Environmental Change Institute
  • Dr Amanda Power, Sullivan Clarendon Associate Professor in History, Faculty of History
  • Dr Marco Springmann, Senior Researcher on Environment and Health, Environmental Change Institute (Chair)

This talk is in conjunction with the Oxford Climate Research Network.

Lisa Schipper

Dr Lisa Schipper
Environmental Social Science Research Fellow, ECI

Dr Lisa Schipper is an Environmental Social Science Research Fellow at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Her work focuses on adaptation to climate change in developing countries, and looks at gender, religion and culture to understand what drives vulnerability. Lisa holds a PhD in Development Studies and an MSc in Environment and Development from the University of East Anglia, and a BSc in Environmental Science from Brown University. Lisa is also a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute.

A Swedish and US dual national, Lisa has lived and worked in Central and South America, East and West Africa and South and Southeast Asia. Lisa was Co-ordinating Lead Author of Chapter 18 of the Working Group 2 contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (‘Climate Resilient Development Pathways’). She is co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Climate and Development (Taylor and Francis), Associate Editor of Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies to Global Change (Springer) and member of the editorial board of the journals World Development Perspectives (Elsevier) and Global Transitions: Health Transitions (KeAi).


Dr Constance McDermott
Jackson Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor in Land Use and Environmental Change, Environmental Change Institute

Constance McDermott chairs the ECI's Ecosystems Governance Group (formerly the Forest Governance Group).

Her research, described in detail on the Ecosystem Governance pages, addresses the linkages among diverse local, regional and global priorities for sustainable forest management. It examines both "new" and "old" institutions of forest governance, from market-based initiatives such as forest and carbon certification to sovereign state-based and traditional community-based approaches, to better understand how dynamics of trust and power shape environmental and social policies and facilitate or inhibit desired outcomes. Her methods range from locally focused case studies to large-scale comparative research examining cross-institutional and cross-boundary interactions.

McDermott's work at ECI and the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests includes an emphasis on the integration of forest governance into the global climate regime. Recent research directions include the examination of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiatives, and the role of both pre-existing and new forest institutions for addressing REDD-related environmental and social mandates.

Before beginning at Oxford in April 2009, McDermott worked for five years at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she served as Associate Research Scientist and Program Director of the Program on Forest Policy and Governance. She has conducted research and applied work in multi-stakeholder processes, forest and green building certification, intergovernmental forest-related governance, and international development in North and Central America, South Asia, and globally.

Nicola Stevens

Dr Nicola Stevens
Trapnell Fellow for African Environments, Environmental Change Institute

Nicola is Trapnell Fellow for African Environments at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

Nicola’s research interests are centred around understanding vegetation dynamics in African savannas and how they are likely to change given increasing global change pressures like altered fire and herbivory regimes against a backdrop of changing CO2 concentrations. Along this vein she has become particularly interested in the phenomenon of woody encroachment where open ecosystems across the tropics are being invaded by native woody species. It has also driven her to improve our ability to predict future species ranges under global change by improving our mechanistic understanding of range edges in disturbance limited systems. She has ongoing projects in Southern Africa with the hopes to expand this research to other tropical savannas.

Amanda Power

Dr Amanda Power
Sullivan Clarendon Associate Professor in History, Faculty of History

Dr Power is a historian of religion, power and intellectual life in medieval Europe. She has been involved in developing the field of global medieval history, and new approaches to historical study that speak to the concerns of the mounting climate and environmental crisis.

She is currently working on a monograph, Medieval Histories of the Anthropocene, which explores questions concerning the relations between religion, power and the construction of public rationality in the building of medieval states across Eurasia. She is interested in how these centralising processes consciously dislocated humans from local ecosystems and specific and sustainable practices, while creating powerful and enduring narratives about civilisation, barbarism, and the use of resources.

A related, partly collaborative, series of projects ask about the future of the discipline, and of Humanities and Social Sciences more generally, in the politically, economically and ecologically unstable period that we are now entering. These include co-convening the Oxford-based Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences network, and the Anthropocene Histories seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research, and co-ordinating the 'Climates' special thematic strand for the 2021 International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds. She is also the series editor for the Premodern Ecosystems: Climate, Environment, People series for ARC Humanities Press.

She has written and spoken widely on the contributions that historical perspectives can make to addressing climate change through better understanding of its "anthropogenic" causes, including: The Conversation; Times Higher Education; on Climate in the history curriculum for the Royal Historical Society blog. She has engaged with the scientific community through presentations at academic conferences; as a contributor to Mock COP26 and at the Climate Expo, which will showcase the latest thinking and most relevant international climate research in the run-up to COP26.

Marco Springmann

Dr Marco Springmann
Senior Researcher on Environment and Health, Environmental Change Institute

Marco Springmann is Senior Researcher on Environment and Health at the Environmental Change Institute and he is also an Oxford Martin Fellow on the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food. He is interested in the health, environmental, and economic dimensions of the global food systems. He often uses systems models to provide quantitative estimates on food-related questions. He is a Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College, and a Honorary Research Associate in the Food Systems Group of the Environmental Change Institute.

Since 2017, he is working on extending the health and environmental aspects of that model as part of the Wellcome funded project “Livestock, Environment and People” (LEAP), working closely with different departments across Oxford, as well as international collaborators, such as the International Policy Research Institute based in the US.

Previouslu he was senior researcher in the Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention in the Nuffield Department of Population Health where he led the Centre’s programme on environmental sustainability and public health.