Oxford Net Zero
Oxford Net Zero
— An interdisciplinary research initiative based in the University of Oxford’s over fifteen years of research on net zero. Oxford Net Zero hosts research fellows from around the world to advance solutions for achieving net zero, drawing on Oxford’s expertise in climate science and policy, in clean energy, transport and food systems, and in greenhouse gas removal and storage to champion a research programme dedicated entirely to advancing and supporting net zero commitments.
Our engagement team and resources on this digital platform seek to inform effective, equitable climate solutions for businesses, policy makers, and professionals with actionable insights for every sector in their path to net zero. Oxford Net Zero has many global partners in developing this resource, from partnering research institutes, governmental leaders, and independent and international not-for-profit organisations who share our mission.
The aim of Oxford Net Zero is to address the issue of how we limit the cumulative net total CO2 dumped into the atmosphere, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, while acknowledging that it is now inevitable that more CO2 will be generated from energy, industry and land-use change than our goals allow.
This enables us to focus on the big long-term multi-decadal questions:
- Where will the CO2 we generate over the coming decades end up in the 22nd century?
- How will it be distributed between the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and lithosphere?
- Where will it be stored and in what forms? How stable will these storage pools be? Who will own them and be responsible for maintaining them over the short medium and long terms?
- How will the social license to generate, emit, capture, transport, and store carbon dioxide evolve over the coming century?
Oxford Net Zero is funded by the University of Oxford through the Strategic Research Fund. This platform also benefits from support from Climate Works and the UKRI.
Our web Project Team
POLICY ENGAGEMENT FELLOW | TEAM LEAD
Kaya Axelsson is the new, jointly appointed Net Zero Policy Engagement Fellow, working with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and the Environmental Change Institute to support the practical application of net zero research insights. Kaya leads a team of researchers to aggregate and clearly communicate resources for defining and achieving net zero and host regular engagement events with the business and policy community. Kaya comes to this position from her post as the Vice-President at the Oxford Student Union where she helped to the University of Oxford develop its own sustainability strategy, including outlining a pathway to net zero. Kaya consults regularly for organizations seeking to raise their ambition in response to the climate crisis. She holds an MPhil in Comparative Government from the University of Oxford, earning distinction for her thesis on unlikely political coalitions in the renewable energy transition. Kaya began working in environmental activism and political campaigns at the age of 15 and comes to this work from the perspective ‘does the planet care’.
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE | PRODUCT MANAGEMENT & STRATEGY LEAD
Tristram currently researches climate science at the University of Oxford, supervised by Prof Myles Allen, specialising in quantifying global warming sensitivity to anthropogenic emissions, and its implications for net zero emissions budgets – this work continues from his masters research at the University of Oxford, where he recently graduated with a double First-Class MPhys Physics. Alongside his research, Tristram holds advisory positions at Oxford Climate Policy Forum and Oxford Climate Society (OCS), following his two years of multiple-award-winning Presidency of OCS. Tristram has experience generating net zero engagement from a variety of initiatives: he co-designed, with Dr Thomas Hale, an intergenerational policy dialogue method between policy leaders, academic experts, and youth voices; he co-founded the Oxford Climate Action Plan, providing solutions to institutions’ barriers in adopting and achieving net zero plans; he hosted large-scale events translating the latest insights from the academic to public spheres, and is connecting businesses on climate by building alumnus networks. Tristram also enjoys opportunities for regular public speaking, for example giving a keynote speech at the Oxford Climate Assembly, being interviewed for leadership education sessions, and featuring on podcasts such as FutureMakers to talk about climate policy.
Christian Schroeder de Witt
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE | BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT & PRODUCT LEAD
Christian is currently a senior DPhil student at the University of Oxford Department of Engineering Science, specialising in deep multi-agent reinforcement learning and AI applications to climate change. He holds distinguished master’s degrees in physics, as well as computer science (both University of Oxford). Before returning to Oxford for his DPhil, Christian served as Head of Engineering of one of Germany’s largest voucher and coupon eCommerce companies, where he led a team of web developers. Subsequently, he has gained work experience at a variety of high-profile work environments, including Google AI, Man AHL and the ESA Frontier Development Lab. As local policy officer of a UK political party with a strong environmental focus, Christian ideated and co-founded the Oxford Climate Policy Forum (OxCPF), a cross-party initiative of young representatives of major UK political parties working on cross-party consensus on regional climate policy baselines. A trained classical concert pianist, Christian enjoys public speaking and performing for large audiences.
Benedict Fellows is currently reading for MMath Mathematics at the University of Oxford, with research interests in non-classical heat dynamics and population ecology. Aside from his academic commitments, he has experience in grassroots campaigning groups within Oxford which helped play a part in Oxford’s own net zero policy.
Emily is a graduate student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she is studying for a Masters of Science in Gender, Policy, & Social Inequalities. As an undergraduate at Tufts University (Class of 2020), she majored in Political Science and wrote her Senior Honors Thesis on the role of gender in American environmental movements. She has experience in grassroots organizing and non-profit advocacy work and is thrilled to be a part of this fantastic team.
Our advising academics
Informed by Leading Academics in climate science, law, policy, & economics
PROF MYLES ALLEN
LEADER, CLIMATE RESEARCH PROGRAMME
Myles Allen is Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford and Head of the Climate Dynamics Group in the University’s Department of Physics. 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.
Myles has served on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as Lead Author on ‘Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes’ for the 3rd Assessment in 2001, as Review Editor on ‘Global Climate Projections’ for the 4th Assessment in 2007, and as Lead Author on ‘Detection and Attribution of Climate Change: from Global to Regional’ for the 5th Assessment in 2013.
PROF CAMERON HEPBURN
DIRECTOR, ECONOMICS OF SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAMME
Cameron Hepburn is the Director of the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment and the Economics of Sustainability Programme, based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. He is also Director and Professor of Environmental Economics at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, a Fellow at New College, Oxford, and a Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics.
He has published widely on energy, resources and environmental challenges across a range of disciplines, including engineering, biology, philosophy, economics, public policy and law, drawing on his degrees in law, engineering and doctorate in economics. He is on the editorial board of Environmental Research Letters and is the managing editor of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy. Cameron’s research is often referred to in the printed press, and he has been interviewed on television and radio in many countries. Cameron provides advice on energy and climate policy to government ministers (e.g. China, India, UK and Australia) and international institutions (e.g. OECD, UN organisations) around the world.
Dr Stephen Smith
OXFORD NET ZERO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Dr Steve Smith joins the Smith School from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) where he co-led the Climate Science Team for two years. He played a key role in the legislation of the Net Zero emissions target last year, and on developing the Government’s approach to greenhouse gas removal. As well as advising ministers and policy teams he oversaw several areas of climate research, including the Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme, the Greenhouse Gas Removal Programme co-funded with UKRI, and understanding of carbon sources and sinks on land for the UK emissions inventory.
Before joining BEIS, Steve was Head of Science at the Committee on Climate Change. There he was involved in setting the UK’s 2050 target and carbon budgets, as well as starting up the committee’s work on climate adaptation. He gained a PhD in atmospheric physics from Imperial College London after studying Physics at Oxford. He is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and of the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy.
PROF NATHALIE SEDDON
DIRECTOR, NATURE BASED-SOLUTIONS INITIATIVE
PROF MIKE KENDALL
CHAIR OF GEOPHYSICS, OXFORD EARTH SCIENCES
Prof Lavanya Rajamani
OXFORD INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Lavanya Rajamani is a Professor of International Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, and Yamani Fellow in Public International Law, St Peter’s College, Oxford. She was formerly a Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, where she now holds a Visiting Professorship. Lavanya serves as Coordinating Lead Author of the chapter on ‘International Cooperation’ in the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She has also served as Rapporteur for the International Law Association’s Committee on Legal Principles Relating to Climate Change, and as Research Director for the Hague Academy of International Law’s Centre for Studies and Research.
Lavanya’s academic work on the international climate change regime is informed by extensive practice. She has worked on and tracked the climate negotiations in different capacities, including as a negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, and legal advisor to the UN Climate Secretariat, the Danish Ministry of Climate Change and the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests. She was part of the UNFCCC core drafting and advisory team at the 2015 Paris negotiations, and, was identified by Climate Home News as one of the ‘Women to watch ahead of the UN’s 2015 Climate Summit.’ She is also involved in differing capacities, but in particular in providing the evidence base, in current and prospective climate cases before national and international courts.
PROF THOM WETZER
OXFORD LAW AND FINANCE
PROF JAVIER LEZAUN
DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE, INNOVATION AND SOCIETY
Javier Lezaun is Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS).
Javier’s research lies at the intersection of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS). His work explores the interplay of scientific and political change. Specifically, Javier is researching the development and governance of new technologies that might be used to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. He directs the Greenhouse Gas Removal Instruments and Policies project, focused on the international politics of large-scale carbon dioxide removal, and is part of the new H2020 project Ocean NETs, which will explore the feasibility of ocean-based interventions to tackle climate change.
Prof TOM HALE
OXFORD GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY
Thomas Hale is Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government.
Dr Thomas Hale’s research explores how we can manage transnational problems effectively and fairly. He seeks to explain how political institutions evolve – or not – to face the challenges raised by globalisation and interdependence, with a particular emphasis on environmental and economic issues. He holds a PhD in Politics from Princeton University, a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics, and an AB in public policy from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. A US national, Hale has studied and worked in Argentina, China and Europe. His books include Beyond Gridlock (Polity 2017), Between Interests and Law: The Politics of Transnational Commercial Disputes(Cambridge 2015), Transnational Climate Change Governance (Cambridge 2014), and Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation Is Failing when We Need It Most (Polity 2013).
PROF MICHAEL OBERSTEINER
DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE INSTITUTE
Michael Obersteiner is Director of the Environmental Change Institute together with Friederike Otto and joins the institute from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
Obersteiner joined the IIASA Forestry Program in 1993 and has been leading and developing the ESM Program, which is currently the largest research program at IIASA with over 100 staff, since 2011. His background includes the fields of global terrestrial ecosystems and economics, having completed graduate studies both in Austria (BOKU University and Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna) and abroad (Columbia University, New York and Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk). His research experience stretches from biophysical modelling in the areas of ecosystems, forestry and agriculture to economics, finance and integrated assessment. Under his leadership several national and international organizations, including inter alia the European Commission, WWF, OECD, and other national and international institutions have received science-based policy advice using quantitative modelling techniques. He is author of over 250 scientific papers covering many disciplinary science fields.
CO-FOUNDER & CHAIR AT B LAB UK
ENTREPRENEUR IN RESIDENCE, SAÏD BUSINESS SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
DR. RADHIKA KHOSLA
DIRECTOR, OXFORD INDIA CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
DIRECTOR, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Net Zero Climate was made with support from the ClimateWorks Foundation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the University of Oxford’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SRF).
Net Zero Climate has been developed by the Oxford Martin School, the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and the Environmental Change Institute.