Countries are being asked to bring forward ambitious 2030 emissions targets to achieve this, with an expectation that the following interventions will be needed;
The University of Exeter is conducting breakthrough research in each of these areas that is making an impact. We will continue to play our part in turning this ambition into reality with actionable research-led solutions to tackle climate change and transition to a carbon-neutral future.
A distinguishing feature of our work is the extent to which we engage with policymakers who have the responsibility to deliver these emissions targets. Through Dr Jean-Francois Mercure (Global Systems Institute) we are leading the Economics of Energy Innovation Systems Transition (EEIST) project which is supporting government decision making in major industrialised nations to facilitate a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy by developing complexity-based modelling solutions. Professor Pierre Friedlingstein (Global System Institute) has authored the Global Carbon Budget Report which provides a global stocktake of how major countries are tackling CO2 emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Prof. Friedlingstein is in the top 5 most influential climate scientists in the world (Reuters Hot List), along with four other colleagues from the University of Exeter.
Elsewhere, the University is providing research-based solutions to facilitate the adoption of the interventions that have been identified by COP26 as the path to net zero. Many of these have been identified as ‘Positive Tipping Points’ – practical and meaningful steps that the world can take to address the climate crisis – by Professor Tim Lenton, Director of our Global Systems Institute.
Our researchers are playing an active role in initiatives to accelerate the phasing out of coal and reducing carbon emissions. The Merida project will ensure the phasing out of coal is done in an environmentally responsible way and Professor Patrick Devine-Wright (Global Systems Institute) is leading research which is at the forefront of reducing the carbon footprint of heavy and energy intensive industries in the UK.
We are also leading research to encourage a faster transition to electric vehicles. We are working with industry partners to develop electric vehicles in a range of settings, including military and construction environments – utilising our development of electric powertrain technology.
The role of deforestation and degradation in accelerating the climate crisis cannot be underestimated. That is why University of Exeter researchers are working across ecosystems including the Amazon and Borneo rainforests to understand the emissions impact of both deforestation and degradation and working with local communities to preserve and reinvigorate these vital habitats.
We firmly believe that net zero by 2050 is in reach and are tireless in our pursuit of solutions to turn this ambition into reality.