GSI Policy Network

Policy Network

Case Studies

Professor Tim Lenton

Concerns that global warming could lead to tipping points in the Earth system, such as the accelerated loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet or Amazon rainforest, were dismissed for decades by some climate scientists as alarmist. But ongoing research by Professor Tim Lenton, Director of the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, now shows the likelihood of abrupt and irreversible changes resulting from continued greenhouse gas emissions to have been dangerously underestimated. His compelling findings have driven decisive changes in climate policy worldwide.

A tipping point is a moment when a small change causes an abrupt, major and often irreversible, transformation in a complex system. In the context of the climate, continued cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases risk triggering effects that can reinforce themselves. For instance, as polar ice retreats with rising global temperatures, its role in reflecting sunlight is diminished, in turn accelerating the warming. Similarly, as rainforests dry out with climate change, so their capacity to generate self-sustaining rainfall is also reduced – along with their ability to absorb atmospheric carbon. While such non-linear effects were recognised as long ago as the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, climate experts had tended to disregard them as having an extremely low probability. “Many scientists view the world as behaving like one gigantic machine. But things can be more complex, with feedback systems that can amplify rather dampen perturbations,” says Professor Lenton, who felt that the risks of catastrophic climate tipping points were being underestimated. If his instincts were right, the implications for climate policy-making would be profound.

Over the last decade and a half, Professor Lenton and his colleagues have implemented a multi-pronged research strategy developing new models to predict the likelihood and impact of climate tipping points and synthesizing other researchers’ work on the topic. The team also developed and tested all-important early warning methods, plugging in data on fluctuations in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) (including the Gulf Stream), changes in Amazon rainforest biomass, variations in Arctic sea ice coverage and other global changes. Another line of enquiry focused on how accounting for tipping points might affect estimations of the ‘social cost of carbon’, in other words, the economic damages wreaked by each additional tonne of emitted carbon.

Professor Lenton’s work conclusively demonstrated for the first time that not only is the prospect of reaching multiple climate tipping points indeed far more likely than previously appreciated, but that passing one tipping point increases the likelihood of tipping another. “In worst case scenarios,” he says, “interacting climate tipping points might cascade to cause a global tipping point, creating a ‘Hothouse Earth’ with vast swathes of the planet uninhabitable.” Professor Lenton also showed that when multiple, interacting tipping points are accounted for, the social cost of carbon in economic models needs to be increased by a factor of eight or more.

Overall, as Professor Lenton recently argued in Nature, the work makes a compelling case for urgent and far tougher action on emissions, not least as new evidence, suggests that we’re close to – or have even surpassed – a climate tipping point in the western Antarctic.

Professor Lenton’s work has already driven policy-making at international and national levels:

  • Climate change mitigation: Evidence that dangerous and irreversible climate tipping points could be reached far earlier than previously realised underpins the 2015 Paris Agreement pledge to keep global warming well below 2°C. The heightened risk – as well as the revised estimates for the social cost of carbon – has also been cited by law-makers in the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia and many other countries, as they declare ‘climate emergencies’ and set ambitious new targets for cutting emissions.
  • Climate change adaptation: The identification of early warning systems for climate tipping point risks has informed the adaptation advice offered to many governments. For example, a report for the US Congress highlights the need “to be serious about the threat of tipping points so as to better anticipate and better prepare ourselves for the inevitable surprises”, while the UK’s Global Food Security programme report on the impacts of a possible AMOC collapse on food security agrees that: “Early warning to allow mitigation and/or adaptation is key to minimising the global disruption this might cause”.

Professor Lenton’s discoveries on climate tipping points have been covered by hundreds of media outlets worldwide, reaching an audience of millions, and shaping popular movements such as Extinction Rebellion. His research has in turn fuelled the groundswell in public awareness and concern about the climate, which world leaders are at last acting upon.

Professor Lenton is now working closely with Simon Sharpe, Policy Lead for COP 26 in the UK Government’s Cabinet Office, on how policymakers can trigger positive tipping points. “These are shifts in human societies that could rapidly cut carbon emissions, and accelerate the change we need”, says Professor Lenton who is encouraged by the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in Norway. “EVs now constitute more than half of all new sales thanks to policies that make them the same price as petrol and diesel cars.” He adds that “The good news is within a few years such policies won’t be needed – EVs will be cheaper to make as well as to buy for all of us.”

Simon Sharpe, Deputy Director, Cabinet Office COP26 Unit: “Nothing could be more policy relevant than tipping points.  In the climate, they are great sources of danger; in the economy, they are great sources of hope.  Tim Lenton’s work has taken this concept from the fringes of science to the centre of public debate – which is exactly where it needs to be.”

Selected academic publications

Lenton, T. M., Held, H., Kriegler, E., Hall, J. W., Lucht, W., Rahmstorf, S., & Schellnhuber, H. J. (2008). Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(6), 1786-1793.

Lenton TM, Rockström J, Gaffney O, Rahmstorf S, Richardson K, Steffen W, Schellnhuber HJ (2019). Climate tipping points – too risky to bet against. Nature, 575(7784), 592-595.

Steffen W, Rockström J, Richardson K, Lenton TM, Folke C, Liverman D, Summerhayes CP, Barnosky AD, Cornell SE, Crucifix M, et al (2018). Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(33), 8252-8259.

Grant funding

  • Data Science for Sustainable Development: Environment, Climate and Health (Alan Turing Institute, £796k)
  • Quantifying the changing resilience of the climate system and ecosystems (Leverhulme, £276k)
  • Feasibility of Afforestation and Biomass energy with carbon capture storage for Greenhouse Gas Removal (NERC, £458k)
  • A quantification of the global potential to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through reversing past forest degradation (A. G. Leventis Foundation, £135k)
  • Tropical forest protection and restoration: Understanding carbon storage within degraded and recovering forest ecosystems (A. G. Leventis Foundation, £220k)
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Environmental Intelligence: Data Science and AI for Sustainable Futures (Co-I, EPSRC, £2.8M)
  • Dynamic modelling of ecosystem-based pathways for 1.5C (Co-I, One Earth Initiative, $120k)

Non-academic outputs/Links

Professor Tim Lenton staff webpage:

A wide selection of media outputs (including news items, podcasts, etc.) available here:

Links to Tim Lenton’s videos here (interview, lectures, talks and conferences): Global Systems Institute – YouTube

Type of policy-maker: International, National

Geography: Global

Relevant SDGs: 

Main ones:

13: Climate Action

14: Life Below Water

15: Life on Land

Positive tipping points:

7: Affordable and Clean Energy

9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

12: Responsible Consumption and Production13: Climate Action

Bridget Woodman

As the UK moves towards meeting ambitious Net-Zero targets, its reliance on wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy will only grow. Although vast offshore wind farms are likely to provide the bulk of generation in the coming decades, an opportunity is also now emerging for low-carbon energy to be generated and traded at local scales, boosting overall system resilience. But new research in Cornwall led by Dr Bridget Woodman, Deputy Director of the University Exeter’s Energy Policy Group, suggests that while we have the technology to drive local energy markets, rules and regulations are getting in the way.

The last few years have seen renewables, particularly wind power but also solar and biomass, make record-breaking contributions to the UK’s overall electricity generation. Easter Monday 2021 saw 80% of all power coming from low carbon sources – with offshore wind responsible.[1] Statistics like this rightfully grab the headlines and are an encouraging sign that we’re making progress towards our Net-Zero commitments. But another important trend is receiving less attention. That’s the rise in smaller-scale, low-carbon generation by businesses and householders, who plug into the electricity grid at the local level. Since 2012, generation connected at the so-called ‘distribution’ level has more than doubled and now represents over a quarter of total Great Britain capacity. This decentralised approach to electricity production and distribution will be of increasing importance as large coal and gas-fired plants are decommissioned, and confers resilience to the country’s overall energy system. Also emerging is the prospect of peer-to-peer trading of surplus energy generated at a local scale. As well as helping to balance overall national demand, this provides social and economic benefits to small-scale providers. But how prepared is the UK’s electricity system for local energy markets? This was a question Dr Woodman and her colleagues sought to answer as they evaluated a pioneering renewables project in Cornwall.


Between 2017 and 2020, the European Union and Centrica (British Gas’s parent company) funded the UK’s biggest trial to date of a local energy market, with over 200 homes and businesses across Cornwall receiving solar panels and wall-mounted batteries to store the energy they generated. In total over 7.5 megawatts of low carbon technology was installed. At the same time, an innovative and flexible web-based trading platform was implemented, allowing people to buy and sell locally generated electricity at the small scale; during the course of the pilot, some 310MWh of power was traded on this ‘eBay for energy’. The role of Dr Woodman’s team was to evaluate the project, starting with an extensive examination of the policy and regulatory barriers to the emergence of more locally based electricity markets. The researchers followed up with questionnaire surveys and interviews. “We wanted to gauge participants’ experience of this local energy market, and identify what might be stopping more people and businesses getting involved in similar schemes,” says Dr Woodman, whose team then considered the future prospects of LEMs.

The research produced a number of important findings:

  • Participants were overwhelmingly positive about the trial. The opportunity to save energy costs, and even make money by selling surplus energy, was important but financial considerations were rarely the sole driver. The environmental and social benefits were often identified as equally if not more significant, and particularly a sense of ‘agency’. “We were really taken aback at how enthusiastic people were,” says Dr Woodman. “They loved the whole idea about what happens to their energy, and the opportunity to bypass the big energy companies and support local generation.”
  • The technology and concept works, but policy and regulations were obstacles to peer-to-peer trading. A fundamental barrier to more local energy markets like the one trialled in Cornwall was the ‘supplier hub model’, the rule that all consumers must have a single electricity supplier. “At the moment, households can only buy their energy from one licensed electricity supply company, like EDF or Octopus,” says Dr Woodman, “and if they generate energy they have to sell it to that same electricity supplier. They can’t trade it with their neighbours.”
  • There are other barriers to more active and intelligent network management: For instance, the lack of clear and transparent rules around data access, whether for electricity trading or consumption; as well as physical limitations of the traditional, ‘top-down’ transmission network which was not designed to accommodate local generation.

“A key message from our research is that people are open to changing how they interact with the electricity system but the current approach to distribution network governance is inadequate,” says Dr Woodman. “Policies and regulations are dealt with in a piecemeal way, despite the fact that they are in many ways interrelated. The government needs a clear strategy for developing more flexible distribution networks, and to commit to developing them.”

She is particularly disappointed that while the UK policy-makers recognise the contribution that local energy markets could make to delivering our Net-Zero ambitions they have so far failed to act. “The government understand that you can have a different way of operating – a smart, flexible energy system,” she says, noting that BEIS and Ofgem even agree that the supplier hub model is not fit for purpose, yet they failed to address this in the 2020 Energy White Paper. “We’ve got to think about the energy system if we are to meet the Net Zero target” she says. “How do we enable that to happen in as an inclusive and democratic way as possible?”

Dr Woodman is keen to investigate local energy networks overseas. “The UK traditionally likes to go it alone,” she says, “but we can learn a lot from what’s going on in other countries. For instance, New York City’s Energy Revolution (REV) is at the vanguard in developing new ways of operating an electricity system, including allowing local energy trading. There are other examples of peer-to-peer, or local, trading across the world, from Bangladesh to Australia, allowing electricity prosumers to make money from their excess renewable power.”

Colm Murphy, ‎Head of Electricity Market Change Delivery, National Grid (11 November 2019): “Exploring the provision of flexibility through a local energy market is a first for us. The potential is really exciting as we look to unlock more flexible energy resources in the market, and greater cost benefits to consumers.


Grant funding

ESIF funded Local Energy Markets project (with Centrica): evaluating policy and regulatory aspects of local energy markets intended to enable renewable generation and reduce network constraints. (Total project cost £18.7m – £12.99m from the EU)

Selected academic publications

Bray, R., Woodman, B., & Connor, P. (2018). Policy and regulatory barriers to local energy markets in Great Britain. University of Exeter: Exeter, UK, 1-103.


Bray, R., Woodman, B., & Judson, E. (2020). Future prospects for local energy markets: lessons from the Cornwall LEM.

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Non-academic outputs/Links

Dr Bridget Woodman’s staff webpage:

Ambrose, J. (2019). Energy correspondent Cornish homes take part in trial to supply clean power to grid. The Guardian. 11 November 2019. (

Cornwall Local Energy Market. Centrica. 19 September 2018. (

Grundy, A. (2019). Flexibility as a saviour: How Centrica’s Local Energy Market is forging a new future. Current. 1 May 2019.


New York City’s Energy Revolution (REV)

Type of policy-maker: National government

Geography: UK, Southwest England

Relevant SDGs: 

7: Affordable and Clean Energy

9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

13: Climate Action

Dr Catherine Butler

Climate change is expected to trigger more frequent and severe flooding events in Britain, yet local authorities and agencies sometimes struggle to support communities in such crises. A lack of resilience can harm the well-being of all involved, says University of Exeter geographer Dr Catherine Butler, whose research on the 2013-14 winter floods suggests valuable lessons for the future.

Over five million homes and business are at risk of flooding in the UK, and that exposure is only likely to increase with anthropogenic climate change. Given the costly destruction wrought by floods, as well as the emotional trauma to all those involved, it is vitally important that local authorities and other institutions responsible for flood risk management, policy, and practice are prepared to react quickly, effectively and sensitively. But the scale and severity of flooding events can often catch out those in charge. This was the case during the winter of 2013-14 when Somerset, like other parts of the country, was hit with exceptionally widespread and prolonged flooding. Somerset County Council, the Environment Agency, and the other institutions struggled in challenging circumstances to respond, while finding themselves subject to unprecedented public, political and media scrutiny. Working closely with the local authorities and other agencies in the aftermath of the floods, Dr Butler and her colleagues studied the challenges faced and their impacts. The research offers clues as to how resilience to flooding and similar crises can be improved.

Dr Butler and her colleagues were particularly focused on the social and political dynamics of the flood. They wanted to understand the range of perspectives of both the public and stakeholder institutions, such as local authorities and the Environment Agency, and how these perceptions interacted to affect responses and outcomes of this major event. The researchers interviewed and surveyed residents personally impacted by the Somerset floods, investigating their experience of the community before and after the floods, their interactions with stakeholder institutions, along with health and well-being impacts. These issues were also explored in interviews with regional and national stakeholders. Dr Butler’s team closely engaged with Somerset County Council, the Environment Agency and other institutions throughout the project. These stakeholders helped with accessing participants and provided input to the findings and outcomes.

The researchers made a number of important findings:

  • They highlighted key processes through which floods seriously impact people’s mental health and well-being. “Being out of your home and separated from all of your possessions, as well as potentially distanced from your community at a time when you are most in need of support, are major factors in the emotional distress, anxiety, and stress that floods result in,” says Dr Butler.
  • Parts of the flood response from local authorities and other institutions exacerbated the impacts. The research showed how some protocols, such as evacuation, were not sufficiently sensitive to flood affected people and how wider institutional advice often conflicted with community-led responses. For example, the findings highlighted how the community itself tends to act as the real ‘first responders’, with agencies often coming in to help later and that authorities could be more sensitive to this. “People were given advice several weeks after the floods which was largely irrelevant by the time it was received. They were told to discontinue some of the things they had done to respond to the floods, which created tensions and conflict,” says Dr Butler. In general, the crisis brought to light how connections between authorities and the communities they serve could be improved to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • The high level of public engagement stimulated by flooding arguably presents an opportunity. The crisis can help bridge that gap between affected communities and institutions, enabling more people to have a say in decision-making processes. Fostering a sense of individual empowerment in otherwise highly stressful circumstances went a considerable way to improving well-being once the flood waters had receded.

Dr Butler produced a report for policy-makers and other stakeholders, launched at the Royal Geographical Society in London, with three overarching recommendations:

  1. Improve the quality of the public debate in post-flood contexts. Floods present a window of opportunity for more positive engagement and collaboration between affected communities and decision-makers. People need clarity over what to expect from authorities and what they can do themselves.
  2. Support social resilience and recognise community responses. Floods can harm the well-being of those affected, sometimes in subtle ways. Professional coordinators, such as village agents, who can link agencies, responders, governing bodies and communities, are critical during an emergency, but also foster community resilience in the longer term.
  3. Take a strategic approach to financing and embedding resilience and resistance in response and recovery. Processes for identifying and allocating sources of emergency funding, such as the government’s flood mitigation fund, should be formalised to avoid short-term decision-making, improve equity, and to facilitate responses that reduce the impacts of future floods.

The project findings directly informed development of processes within Somerset County Council and the local and national work of the Environment Agency. In line with the recommendations, Somerset County Council developed their community engagement by giving existing staff community liaison roles, enabling them to better respond to the next major flooding event. They gained an improved understanding of which communities within Somerset were most exposed to flood risk, and forged relationships with relevant community leaders. In addition, a well-being officer was appointed to liaise with communities, offering counselling and other support following the floods. The Environment Agency has developed best practice guidance on public engagement including advice to plan engagement from the ‘bottom-up’ to ensure understanding of the community and the complex relationships and networks that exist (EA, 2018: 2).

Dr Butler is now working on an international project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, which will assess how different approaches to flooding adaptation, such as hard defences, complete relocation or living with floods, may impact the health and well-being of stakeholders.

Peter Bailey, Social Science Manager, Environment Agency, May 2021: “The Exeter University 2013/14 Somerset floods project had a large impact on the Environment Agency’s understanding of how a major and prolonged flood impacts upon local communities. The study is a high quality academic project that has made a significant contribution to our social scientific evidence base on flooding. Insights from the research have informed our local operational teams in Somerset, and continues to inform our national incident response and our national strategic work”.  

Grant funding

The 2013/14 Winter Floods and Policy Change: The dynamics of change in the aftermath of major crises (ESRC funded June 2014 – June 2015. £200k)

Individual and Community Resilience to Flooding (National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), April 2014 – April 2019. £100k)

Selected academic publications

Butler, C., Walker-Springett, K., Adger, W. N., Evans, L. & O’Neill, S. (2016). Social and political dynamics of flood risk, recovery and response, The University of Exeter, Exeter.


Butler, C., Walker-Springett, K., & Adger, W. N. (2018). Narratives of recovery after floods: Mental health, institutions, and intervention. Social Science & Medicine, 216, 67-73.


Walker-Springett, K., Butler, C., & Adger, W. N. (2017). Wellbeing in the aftermath of floods. Health & place, 43, 66-74.


Non-academic outputs/Links

Dr Catherine Butler’s staff webpage:

Project presentations:

Blog: People and Politics in the aftermath of floods (.pdf).

Creative outputs:

Carrington, D. & Morris, S. (2014). Flood simple: the UK flooding crisis explained. The Guardian. 13 Feb 2014


Type of policy-maker: Local

Geography: UK

Relevant SDGs: 


3: Good Health and Well-being

13: Climate Action

Professor Catriona Mckinnon

Dangerous climate change seems inevitable in the coming decades without urgent and substantial reductions in global emissions of greenhouse gases. The 2016 Paris Agreement promises action, but the pace is too slow for some scientists, who are championing more radical, geoengineering solutions such as capturing and storing atmospheric carbon or reflecting sunlight from the planet. While these proposals are gaining credibility, the long-term ethical implications of such climate fixes have largely been disregarded. So says Catriona McKinnon, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Exeter, whose research seeks to fill the current governance vacuum.

Geoengineering, defined by the Royal Society as the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change, covers a range of ingenious and sometimes outlandish proposals. Certain solar radiation management (SRM) techniques are, however, gaining significant traction in some science and policy circles. These include schemes to cool the planet by spraying tiny particles into the stratosphere to deflect sunlight. For instance, Harvard University’s Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) is poised to conduct the world’s first outdoor SRM trial, which would see calcium carbonate crystals released from a steerable balloon 20 kilometres above northern Sweden. Meanwhile, a University of Washington initiative seeks to brighten marine clouds by spraying them with seawater. SRM advocates contend that such technologies are relatively inexpensive and at the very least would buy precious time as countries wean themselves off fossil fuels. Techniques such as SRM might indeed play a role in averting catastrophic climate breakdown, but research by Professor McKinnon, a philosopher with an interest in the intergenerational ethics of environmental technologies, reveals a troubling lack of governance when it comes to geoengineering.

Between 2016 and 2018, Professor McKinnon collaborated with international governance experts to evaluate SRM proposals from an ethical and philosophical perspective. The interdisciplinary project, hosted by the Forum for Climate Engineering (an NGO at the American University in Washington, D.C.), drew on expertise from the social sciences and humanities as it analysed some of the governance questions raised by SRM. The team discovered that the longer term risks of SRM require governance which does not yet exist.

These risks include:

  • The risk of unilateral deployment. The technology’s impacts are unlikely to be uniform. Therefore, a powerful nation, such as China or the U.S., with its hands on the ‘global thermostat’ could use SRM to benefit its own agriculture while, for instance, worsening the Indian monsoon. “SRM could even be weaponised,” says Professor McKinnon.
  • The risk of ‘lock-in’. SRM is sometimes characterised as a temporary measure. But, if effective, it might disincentivise carbon mitigation efforts, leaving future generations permanently dependent on the technology.
  • The risk of ‘termination shock’. If a future SRM programme was abruptly halted, for instance, by a war or terrorist attack, the rapid escalation of global temperatures that might ensue could be catastrophic.

Although Professor McKinnon argues that it would be a mistake to entirely rule out the deployment of SRM, she and her colleagues found that the current “vacuum of governance” pertaining to the technology, meant that the dangers of lock-in or termination shock were downplayed or ignored altogether. “SRM researchers are often very happy to pronounce on how the risks can be governed,” she says, “but we found them to be poorly informed and lacking ethical insights.” she says. For instance, she discerned a “heroic optimism” among SRM enthusiasts that nations and private companies would cooperate politically to ensure no misuse of the technology. Some even suggested that, given the climate crisis, it would be riskier not to ramp up research into SRM – a philosophical position potentially at odds with the precautionary principle, which urges caution before adopting potentially hazardous technical innovations with uncertain outcomes.

The overall conclusion from Professor McKinnon’s research is that future work on geoengineering should no longer be the sole preserve of ‘hard scientists’. “We need to better govern the research into SRM,” she says. “It should be properly interdisciplinary, engaging experts from diverse fields on governance and ethics.”

Professor McKinnon is keen to engage with key decision-makers, highlighting the current governance vacuum pertaining to SRM and similar technologies, and stressing the moral duty to consider worst-case scenarios when funding them. In 2018 she and her fellow researchers produced Governing Solar Radiation Management, a policy-facing report of their findings aimed at civil society organisations and climate negotiators. The report listed 12 actionable recommendations, falling into three clusters:

  • Create politically legitimate deliberative bodies
  • Leverage existing institutions
  • Make research transparent and accountable

“Our aim is to start the conversation, and ensure ethics and governance considerations are woven into research,” says Professor McKinnon.

Professor McKinnon is now examining another class of geoengineering technologies, known as carbon dioxide removal (CDR), in which carbon is permanently removed from the atmosphere, and stored. CDR is more widely accepted than SRM, and even underpins scenarios for limiting global warming to 1.5°C set out in the 2016 Paris Agreement. “There are though still huge ethical and philosophical considerations,” says Professor McKinnon, referencing proposals that rely on extensive crop-planting. “To roll this out in an impactful way would require vast swathes of land. But whose land?”

Janos Pasztor, Senior Fellow and Executive Director, Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (4 October 2018): “I could not agree more with the report’s over-arching message: that it’s time to create robust international governance around this issue, before increased research, experimentation and any potential testing or deployment takes place.”


Grant funding

Some of Professor McKinnon’s work on governance proposals for SRM was funded by V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Philanthropy, and the Leverhulme Trust.

Selected academic publications

Chhetri, N. et al (2018. Governing Solar Radiation Management. Washington, DC: Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, American University.


Gardiner, S., & McKinnon, C. (2020). The Justice and Legitimacy of Geoengineering, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 23 (5), 557-563.


Jinnah, S., et al. (2019). Governing climate engineering: a proposal for immediate governance of solar radiation management. Sustainability, 11(14), 3954.


McKinnon, C. (2019). Sleepwalking into lock-in? Avoiding wrongs to future people in the governance of solar radiation management research. Environmental Politics, 28(3), 441-459.


McKinnon, C. (2020). The Panglossian politics of the geoclique. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 23(5), 584-599.

Non-academic outputs/Links

Professor Catriona McKinnon’s staff webpage:

Dunne, D. (2018). World must act quickly to govern solar geoengineering, report says. Carbon Brief. 1 October 2018.


McKinnon, C. (2018). Time is running out on climate change, but geoengineering has dangers of its own. The Conversation, 3 December 2018.



Is it time to consider additional climate-altering approaches to tackle the planetary emergency? – Johan Rockström. C2GTalk:

Are we going to be at the table when climate-altering approaches are considered? – Elizabeth Thompson. C2GTalk:

Stephen Gardiner Talks Climate Ethics and more:

Academic Working Group on International Governance of Climate Engineering: (Playlist of some of the meetings Professor Catriona McKinnon held in the course of writing the SRM report)

Type of policy-maker: International

Geography: Global

Relevant SDGs: 

1: No Poverty

7: Affordable and Clean Energy

10: Reduced Inequality

13: Climate Action