How are we using simple climate models to inform climate mitigation policies?

  • Date: Thursday 17 May 2018
  • Time: 14:00 - 15:00
  • Venue: SEE Seminar rooms 8.119
  • Speakers: Kate Scott, SRI Research Fellow and Chris Smith, ICAS Research Fellow

This seminar will be of interest to those researchers working in climate modelling, climate policy, assessing climate mitigation measures and low carbon transitions


Simple climate models, unlike conventional climate models, are computationally cheap and large numbers of simulations can be run. As climate model intercomparisons take several years to coordinate, simple models have become an important tool in assessing pathways consistent with the Paris Agreement, where timely engagement with stakeholders is critical. In the seminar we will present a simple climate model and two examples of how we are applying it in our policy-driven research.

Chris and others use a simple open-source model, co-developed by the Universities of Leeds and Oxford, to investigate the impact of phasing out current fossil fuel infrastructure and replacing it with zero carbon alternatives at the end of its expected lifetime. Chris will discuss the climate implications of different fossil-fuel infrastructure replacement rates and the geophysical limits around this.  Kate, who was recently awarded a NERC UKRI Industrial Innovation Fellowship, will be working with Chris and others to downscale global climate assessments for more local-level decision making in order facilitate the delivery of a climate compatible Industrial Strategy for the UK. Kate will be proposing some research questions around how uncertainty propagates through the decision-chain from international assessments to setting industrial sectors’ mitigation targets within the UK and the complexity around burden sharing across sectors with often very different greenhouse gas profiles.


Kate Scott was awarded a NERC Industrial Innovation Fellowship on implementing a climate compatible Industrial Strategy for the UK in January 2018 for 3.5 years, developing methods to downscale global climate assessments for local-level decision making across sectors in order to facilitate the delivery of a climate compatible Industrial Strategy. Previously, she was a Research Fellow for the EPSRC funded Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products (CIE-MAP), where her research focused on the integration of resource efficiency, which includes the consumption and trade of materials and products, into climate mitigation policy.

Chris Smith was a University of Leeds student with the Doctoral Training Centre in Low Carbon Technologies, 2011-2015.  His current projects include the Radiative Forcing Model Intercomparison Project (RFMIP), the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service and Securing Multidisciplinary Understanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge Events (SMURPHS).

This event will be followed by tea/coffee and cake in the School of Earth and Environment Foyer