Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Climate research in focus

The University of Edinburgh undertakes a wide range of research on climate change. Find some of the most recent publications below.

Ice caps

Carbon, soils, food

A half-century of production-phase greenhouse gas emissions from food loss & waste in the global food supply chain, Porter S D, Reay D S, Higgins P and Bomberg E, 2016

A 50-year longitudinal analysis of global food loss and waste and its production-phase greenhouse gas of emissions.

Methane Emissions from a Grassland-Wetland Complex in the Southern Peruvian Andes, Jones S.P, Diem T, The YA, Salinas N, Reay D S and Meir P, 2019

The results of field and laboratory measurements of soil-atmosphere methane exchange and associated environmental variables from freely draining upland and inundation prone wetland soils in a humid puna ecosystem in the Southeastern Andes of Peru.

Energy and energy efficiency

Between Climate Change and Energy Security Objectives: The Potential Role of Shale Gas,  Gracceva F and Zeniewski P, 2015

Exploring the uncertainty around the future development of shale gas and to study the complex relationship between climate change policies and energy security.

District energy development in liberalised markets: situating UK heat network development in comparison with Dutch and Norwegian case studies Hawkey D and Webb J, 2014

Using five case studies to explore why heat network development in the UK has a fragmented form in comparison with the Netherlands and Norway.

Ultra-high temperature thermal energy storage. part 1: concepts Robinson A, 2017

The feasibility of the storage technique is demonstrated through thermodynamic and thermal analysis in each of the three key states of operation: charge, store and generation.

 A study of the impact of individual thermal control on user comfort in the workplace: Norwegian cellular vs. British open plan offices Shahzad S, Brennan J, Theodossopoulos D and Hughes B, 2017

This study examined the impact of user control on thermal comfort and satisfaction, aiming to find a balance between energy efficiency and user thermal comfort in the workplace.

Understanding the energy use behaviour of British Indian households to shape optimised sustainable housing strategies in existing housing stock Satish B K and Brennan J, 2019

This paper investigates the energy use behaviour of a specific demographic, that of British Indian households using a housing survey to gather self-reported information about British Indian households' energy use behaviour across a range of indicators.

On (not) assembling a market for sustainable energy: heat network infrastructure and British cities Webb J and Hawkey D J C, 2016


Carbon management, climate justice, society, policy

Fueling climate (in)action: How organizations engage in hegemonization to avoid transformational action on climate change Amaeshi, K and Ferns, G, 2019

This study examines how organizations avoid the urgent need for transformational action on climate change by engaging in a hegemonization process.

New lamps for old: financialised governance of cities and clean energy Webb, J 2019

Using a six-year case study of Glasgow’s Sustainable City business model, this paper examines interactions between financialised governance of cities and clean energy strategies. 

The changing role of space and time in British environmental policy since 1945 Chick M, 2015

This article examines the spatial widening and temporal lengthening which characterised the development of environmental issues and makes an assessment of the reasons for, and impact of, the contributions of economists and philosophers to the discussion of the characteristics and potential solution of perceived environmental problems.

Have human activities changed the frequencies of absolute extreme temperatures in eastern China? Wang J, Tett S F B, Yan Z and Feng J, 2018

This study compared multi-model simulated changes in the frequencies of summer days, tropical nights, icy days and frosty nights in eastern China for the years 1960–2012 to find whether the frequencies of extreme temperatures have been changed by human activities, such as anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.

This paper argues that parents have a special, shared duty to organise for collective action on climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is argued that parents owe it to their children to combat climate change because of the indirect impact on current children of serious threats to their children and grandchildren.

Drilling their Own Graves: How the European Oil and Gas Supermajors Avoid Sustainability Tensions Through Mythmaking Ferns J, Amaeshi K and Lambert A, 2017

This study explores how paradoxical tensions between economic growth and environmental protection are avoided through examining the European oil and gas supermajors’ “CEO-speak” about climate change.

Faith-based climate action in Christian congregations: mobilisation and spiritual resources Bomberg E and Hague A, 2018

This article seeks to explain how and why church congregations mobilize on environmental issues and what- if anything- is distinctive about that mobilisation.

How much has urbanisation affected United Kingdom temperatures? Goddard I L M, Tett, S F B, 2019

This study aims to estimate the effect of urbanisation on daily maximum and minimum temperatures in the United Kingdom.

Carbon management at the household level: a definition of carbon literacy and three mechanisms that increase it Howell R A, 2018

This paper proposes a definition of carbon literacy and compares this with other, related concepts.

People and Planet: Values, Motivations and Formative Influences of Individuals Acting to Mitigate Climate Change Howell R and Allen S J, 2017

This paper presents results from a survey of individuals who engage in climate change mitigation action, contributing to debates about whether it is necessary to promote 'nature experiences' and biospheric values to encourage pro-environmental behaviour.

Carbon Markets: Microstructure, Pricing and Policy Ibikunle G and Gregoriou A, 2018

This book explores the microstructure of carbon markets and the pricing of carbon financial instruments generally.

Families, relationships and 'environment': (Un)sustainability, climate change and biodiversity loss Jamieson L, 2016

Few of the social science researchers are discussing sustainability, climate change, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural resources. This article argues for much more effort in this direction, suggesting agendas for new research, and advocating knowledge exchange engagement with activists and policy-makers.

Seriously Personal: The Reasons that Motivate Entrepreneurs to Address Climate Change Kaesehage K, Leyshon M, Ferns, J and Leyshon C, 2017

Over a period of four years, entrepreneurs’ motivations to engage with climate change were examined through a variety of qualitative research methods.

The role of agricultural intensification in Brazil's Nationally Determined Contribution on emissions mitigation Oliveira de Silva R, Barioni L G, Pellegrini, G Q and Moran D, 2018

The study provided the basis of the livestock sector contributes to the cut to Nationally Determined Contribution and highlights the on-going role of effective deforestation control policies. It also contributes to the global debate on land sparing by sustainable agricultural intensification.

Planetary Moral Economy and Creaturely Redemption in Laudato Si Northcott M, 2016

Laudato Si sets climate change and the environmental crisis firmly in the context of two established features of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of poor and indigenous people and the intrinsic value of creatures to the Creator and their inclusion in the redemption of all things in Christ.

Empowered for action? Capacities and constraints in sub-state government climate action in Scotland and Wales Royles E and McEwen N, 2015

An inter- and intra-regional comparison was conducted to examine whether constitutional competence shapes the scale of ambition and achievement in climate policy outputs and outcomes.

Climate impacts, resilience, adaptation

Review of Mathematical Programming Applications in Water Resource Management Under Uncertainty Royles E and McEwen N, 2015

This paper reviews the literature on the development of mathematical programming models for water resource management under uncertainty between 2010 and 2015. 

Plant functional trait change across a warming tundra biome Bjorkman A D, Myers- Smith I H,  Weiher E, 2018

This paper explores the biome-wide relationships between temperature, moisture and seven key plant functional traits both across space and over three decades of warming at 117 tundra locations.

Green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, degradation

The relationship between the distribution and use patterns of parks and their spatial accessibility at the city level Bahriny F, Bell S and Mokhtarzadeh S, 2017

This study looked at the citywide scale of public open space in relation to population and socio-economic patterns and the impacts huge growth in population and corresponding sprawl in recent years in Tehran.

A synthesis of methane emissions from 71 northern, temperate, and subtropical wetlands Turetsky M R, Kotowska A, Bubier J, Dise N B, Crill P, Hornibrook E R C et al., 2017

Wetlands are the largest natural source of atmospheric methane. In this study, the controls on methane flux using a database of approximately 19 000 instantaneous measurements from 71 wetland sites located across subtropical, temperate, and northern high latitude regions are assessed.

Carbon sequestration and capture

Pyrolysis biochar systems, balance between bioenergy and carbon sequestration Crombie K and Masek O, 2014

This study aimed to investigate the extent to which it is possible to marry the two seemingly opposing concepts of heat and/or power production from biomass with carbon sequestration in the form of biochar.

Restoring natural forests is the best way to remove atmospheric carbon Lewis S and Wheeler C, 2019

This study explores the possibility of using reforestation to remove carbon from the atmosphere. 

Strategic planning of regions and territories in Europe for low-carbon energy and industry through carbon capture and storage (CCUS), Chalmers HLucquiaud M, 2019

The STRATEGY CCUS project aims to elaborate strategic plans for CCUS development in Southern and Eastern Europe at short term (up to 3 years), medium term (3-10 years) and long term (more than 10 years).

Towards a carbon negative circular economy: capturing CO2 from our municipal solid waste  Herraiz L, Labib M, Chalmers H, Lucquiaud M, 2019

This PhD project explored the use of bioenergy technology when combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) to offer a permanent net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, resulting in the equivalent of “negative CO2 emissions”.

A case for direct air capture Labib M, Buschle W, Chalmers H, Lucquiaud M, 2019

This PhD project explored offsetting CO2 emissions from sources that cannot be fitted with CCS technology and sectors where electrification is not feasible and/or prohibitively expensive, including point sources such as the different means of transportation.

Waste to Energy in the UK, 2019

This PhD project explores the waste to the energy sector, an emerging market in Europe. The sector paired with carbon capture and storage can offer “negative CO2 emissions”, by abating the biogenic carbon embodied in residual solid wastes.