At the end of 2021, the world looked with great expectation towards Glasgow for the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, COP26.
Attended by Heads of States, academics, activists, policy makers and journalists, COP26 was the largest COP to date, with perspectives on its merits and failures varying wildly. Now that the dust has settled, we present the key outcomes from the conference, assess how close they bring us to keeping the limit of 1.5C within reach, and explore what those decisions mean for those affected by and implementing them. Further, with COP27 on the horizon, we also ask what role COPs might take post-Glasgow, and how they might adapt to more inclusively and effectively tackle the task.
Join us as our panel of academics share their thoughts after attending COP26 and look forward to what it means for COP27 and the world over the coming years.
- Professor Myles Allen, Director, Oxford Net Zero
- Dr Cécile Girardin, Technical Director, Nature Based Solutions Initiative
- Professor Benito Müller, Managing Director, Oxford Climate Policy
- Professor Nicola Ranger, Head of Climate and Environmental Analytics, Oxford Sustainable Finance Group
- Dr Steve Smith, Executive Director, Oxford Net Zero (chair)
Professor Myles Allen
Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Post-Carbon Transition
Myles Allen is Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment and Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, and he is Director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative.
He is credited by the BBC with first demonstrating, 15 years ago, the need for ‘Net Zero’ carbon dioxide emissions to stop global warming. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts.
He was the Coordinating Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Special Report on 1.5 degrees, having served on the IPCC’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessments, including the Synthesis Report Core Writing Team in 2014.
He proposed the use of Probabilistic Event Attribution to quantify the contribution of human and other external influences on climate to specific individual weather events and leads the www.climateprediction.net/ project, using distributed computing to run the world's largest ensemble climate modelling experiments.
Myles was has been appointed CBE for services to climate change attribution, prediction and Net Zero in the Queen's new year honours list 2022.
Dr Cécile Girardin
Technical Director, Nature Based Solutions Initiative
Cécile combines years of experience in climate change policy analysis with a background in tropical ecology and thorough understanding of forest ecosystem functioning, providing a unique multidisciplinary approach to her work.
As an environmental consultant, she developed strong skills in policy analysis and data manipulation. As a researcher for ten years, she has developed skills in data gathering and analysis through intensive fieldwork in tropical forests. She is an alumnus of Imperial College, Environmental Resources Management Ltd. and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture UN-REDD+ team.
Her interests include data analysis, design & illustration, science communication. Her current research focuses on the ecosystem functioning and carbon dynamics of tropical forests, and their responses to a rapidly changing climate.
Professor Benito Müller
Convener, International Climate Policy Research, ECI
Professor Müller is Managing Director of Oxford Climate Policy (a not-for-profit company aimed at capacity building for developing country climate change negotiators), and Director of the European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi), an international initiative for sustained capacity building in support of international climate change negotiations.
He has been serving as Adviser to the LDC Group Chair (2011-12) and the Africa Group Chair (2012-13). He participated in the deliberations of the Transitional Committee (TC) for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as Adviser to the LDC TC members, who he has also been also advising on the GCF Board and the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance.
Professor Müller received his doctorate (D.Phil.) in Philosophy from the University of Oxford and was formerly a Research Fellow at Wolfson College and a Lecturer in Logic at the Queen's College, Oxford. He has a Diploma in Mathematics from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland.
Dr Nicola Ranger
CGFI Deputy Director and Head of Climate and Environmental Analytics, Oxford Sustainable Finance Group
Dr Nicola Ranger is Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) and Head of Climate and Environmental Analytics in the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
She specialises in the role of public and private finance in sustainability, resilience and inclusive development, and has almost two decades of experience in climate change and sustainable development across academia, public policy, international development and the financial sector. Beyond her work in the UK, she has a particular focus on international development and works extensively in Southeast Asia and Africa as a practitioner and researcher.
Nicola joined Oxford from the World Bank, where she worked with Ministries of Finance, Central Banks and regional institutions to strengthen resilience of economies and communities to climate and other crises. Prior to this, she held senior roles in the UK Department for International Development (now FCDO), the London School of Economics and Political Science, HM Treasury, Risk Management Solutions and Defra.
Nicola has written more than 30 book chapters and peer-reviewed articles and contributed to major reports including the UK National Climate Change Risk Assessment, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. Nicola holds a doctorate in Atmospheric Physics from Imperial College London.
Dr Steve Smith
Executive Director, Oxford Net Zero and CO2RE
Steve is Executive Director of two programmes led by the Smith School, both focussed on stabilising the climate both rapidly and sustainably.
The Oxford Net Zero Initiative brings together experts from across the University to address the critical issue of how to reach global net zero emissions. It includes leading academics from disciplines including Anthropology, Biology, Earth Sciences, Geography, Law, Business and Governance. The initiative not only provides multi-disciplinary research but also tools and new resources for policymakers and businesses.
CO2RE is a multi-disciplinary research hub focussed on removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Backed by seven UK universities, CO2RE works with demonstration-scale removal projects around the country and conducts solutions-led research to encourage and evaluate a balanced portfolio of economically, socially and environmentally scalable techniques.
Steve's research interests lie at the intersection of climate science and policy. He has published on a range of topics including metrics for comparing the emissions of different greenhouse gases, and the governance of carbon dioxide removal. He is co-developer of a major global stocktake of net zero pledges.
He joined the Smith School from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) where he co-led the Climate Science Team and played a role in the legislation of the UK's net zero target. Before that he was Head of Science at the Committee on Climate Change. He has a PhD in atmospheric physics from Imperial College London and is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.
Alongside continuing to advise government, businesses and multiple agencies, Steve communicates climate change to children and wider audiences. He helped write Climate Crisis for Beginners by Usborne Books, and was a contributor to the Ladybird book on Climate Change.