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 School of Geography and the Environment

How We Work

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We develop policy ideas to support a transition to an equitable, low-carbon society. Our work is funded by grants from UK research councils and the EU, and through consultancy contracts with government departments, Quangos and clients from industry and civil society. We also engage in post-graduate teaching within Oxford University.

We focus on policy analysis and the development of new policy ideas for energy saving and adoption of low-carbon energy generation technologies in the medium- to long-term. We use computer modelling and back-casting techniques (ie starting with long-term targets and working backwards from the future to the present) to analyse how current policy needs to change in order to meet long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our research is inter-disciplinary, combining analysis of technology and behaviour, as well as tracking demographic trends and the future impacts of a changing climate. We typically develop scenarios using bottom-up modelling techniques to quantify how CO2 emissions might change in the future, built on detailed assumptions about how society and the economy might develop. We explore the potential for reducing demand for energy as well as developing low-carbon supply options, giving equal weight to the technological and social drivers of change. By comparing these future scenarios with current policy and practice, we are able to highlight priorities for policy and set out key strategic issues for the future.

We often work collaboratively with other academic research groups and partners from government and industry. At any one time we are normally working with over a dozen such organisations on various projects.

We produce policy proposals, research reports, responses to government consultations on energy and climate change, consultancy reports, conference and journal papers, presentations to a wide variety of audiences, and contributions to the wider debate in the general media (press, TV, radio and internet).

Our projects are grouped around the following six themes: