The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in the UK

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in the UK

Home to many prestigious organizations and institutions with a multitude of resources, the UK is home to some groups doing the most groundbreaking climate research. Common research themes are mitigation, climate adaption, energy systems, urban resilience, climate change governance and legislation, environmental behavior.  The UK, which only constitutes approximately 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions is a global leader on climate change, it has very ambitious emissions reductions targets which are supported by the large swaths of research going on in the country. The UK has a depth of research networks driven by funding from government organizations such as the Department for International Development, Economic and social Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council as well as the European Union, European Investment Bank and non-governmental organizations.

Spotlight Report: Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

The Grantham Institute was established by the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008. The aim of the institute was to create a Centre “for policy relevant research and training on climate change and the environment” and bring together international expertise from the fields of economics, finance, geography, the environment and political sciences. The scope of the Institute’s research is broad reflecting the multi-facedness of climate change and how the climate crisis threatens every part of human existence. The main areas are:

  • Climate change adaptation and resilience
  • Climate change governance, legislation and litigation
  • Environmental behavior
  • Environmental economic theory
  • Environmental policy evaluation
  • International climate politics
  • Science and impacts of climate change
  • Sustainable Finance
  • Sustainable Natural resources
  • Transition to zero emissions growth
  • UK national and local climate policies

The Institute is funded by a mix of governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, to name a few: British Academy, Department for International Development (UK), Economic and Social Research Council (UK), Environmental Defense Fund, Global Green Growth Institute, Swiss National Science Foundation,  International Development Research Centre (Canada), this is by no means an exhaustive list. Since its inception the Grantham Institute has been invaluable in its contributions to the body of climate change research, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review being the most notable. A new and timely research area of the institute has been the intersection of COVID-19 and climate change, in particular how governments and industry can take advantage of this turbulent time to align the economic recovery with climate mitigation goals.

A recent study the organization has conducted titled “China’s 14th Five-Year Plan in the context of COVID-19: Rescue, recovery and sustainable growth for China and the world.”. This article examines how the path out of the global economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is investment in sustainable economies and a transition to a low-carbon economy and development of low-carbon technologies which should can be achieved through a stimulus of investment in renewables. The research focuses on the China having the opportunity to be a global leader in this new path forward. This new research exemplifies the progressive work the Grantham Institute does, and as environmental challenges continue to grow in complexity, so too does the contribution of the Grantham Research Institute to the world.

Activity Rating: *** Moving Forward

The Grantham Research is but just one example of an organization doing exciting and necessary climate mitigation research in the United Kingdom. The Tyndall Centre, Royal Society Energy, Climate and Environmental Research, Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom are all just a few others that are doing important work in this area. Home to a large amount of well-funded research universities and well-supported non-governmental organizations the United Kingdom is one of the leaders in investment in climate research. For this reason it scores a 3.5/4, it’s main reason for losing 0.5 is it is slow to react and implement the abundance of research detailing transition to carbon neutral economy into policy in the country.

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Dear Professor Stern,

I commend Nicholas Stern, the chair of the Grantham Research Institute on the continuous innovative work being done. The abundance and quality of research that comes out of scholars and academics affiliated with the Institute is unparalleled. Not only is the research broad in scope but it is extremely accessible to the public for example, reports are published for the lay person breaking down technical aspects of the climate mitigation research being published. This is extremely important, because one of the main funders of the Institute is the UK government thus the taxpayer is reaping the rewards.


Grantham Institute:

Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
United Kingdom
01793 411500

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard UK Country Manager Gwenyth Wren

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