School of GeoSciences Research

Transitions to a low carbon society

Our group works with communities, cities and government institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and businesses seeking to innovate and adopt effective greenhouse gas emission reduction measures, whilst also addressing other important social and environmental challenges.

We examine the priorities and barriers to addressing the climate emergency. 

Current projects

Subsurface Evaluation of Carbon Capture and Storage and Unconventional Risks (SECURe)

We carry out research on the SECURe project, a study that aims to gather scientific evidence relating to monitoring the environment and mitigating risk to guide subsurface geoenergy development.

Our goal is to develop monitoring and mitigation strategies for the full geoenergy project lifecycle.  Final results will be of relevance and use to various stakeholders, from project operators and regulators to policy makers and the wider public.

The SECURe partnership includes major research and commercial organisations from seven European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and United Kingdom).

Visit the SECURe website

Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS)

Our work with CREDS focuses on researching the policies in place and the policies that are still needed to reduce energy demand, energy demand governance, further integrating energy demand into energy supply policies.  

There is widespread agreement in the energy demand research and stakeholder communities that governance and policy are key drivers of change. Relatively rapid progress in demand reduction in the UK since 2004, for example, in boiler, vehicle and appliance efficiency and insulation adoption, has largely been policy-driven.

In the UK, the future role of EU-driven policies remains uncertain. In contrast, there is a general agreement that both devolved and local government roles will be increasingly important. Given the scale of ambition for carbon emissions reduction, it is increasingly important to understand policy instruments' effectiveness in driving change.

Visit the CREDS website 

Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN)

Our group are members of the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) - a network that translates climate policy into action ‘on the ground’ to bring about transformative change.

This Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) supported network brings together the research community and decision-makers in the public, private and third sectors through five innovative platforms: three city-based climate commissions (in Edinburgh, Leeds, and Belfast) and two theme-based platforms on finance and business. 

Visit the PCAN website

We are also members of the Edinburgh Climate Commission, an independent group working together to accelerate Edinburgh's climate action and impact.   

Launched in February 2020, the Commission aims to:

  • Identify and address the challenges critical to Edinburgh meeting its climate targets.
  • Provide independent, expert and authoritative advice to support the city's transition to net zero emissions by 2030.
  • Catalyse action, challenge the city's decision-makers and convene stakeholders.
  • Act as a forum where organisations can exchange ideas, research findings, information and best practice on carbon reduction and climate resilience.

Visit the Edinburgh Climate Commission website

Large collaborative projects completed in the period 2017-2019 

Accelerating Low Carbon Industrial Growth through Carbon, Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS)

Research results from this project will be used to draw up blueprints to deliver CCUS in the industrial regions of Teesside and Grangemouth in the UK; Rotterdam in the Netherlands; North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany; Grenland in Norway; and Oltenia in Romania.

By helping to address specific issues faced by industry, the project aims to support the quick and cost-effective deployment of CCUS, enabling Europe’s industrial and power sectors to be part of a low-carbon future while remaining economically viable.

Visit the ALIGN CCUS website

Transforming Energy Demand Through Technical Innovation (TEDDINET)  

Edinburgh researchers were part of the TEDDINET network set up to address challenges of transforming energy demand in buildings, as a key component of the transition to an affordable, low carbon energy system.

View the TEDDINET website

Key staff:

  • Dr Simon Shackley
  • Professor Dan van der Horst
  • Dr Laura Watts
  • Professor David Reay

Locations: primarily UK and EU