Spatially just energy transitions in a net zero future

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Earth and Environment


The UK Government has committed to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions to net zero by 2050. This rapid transition means fundamental changes in the energy system across the whole of the UK. Additionally, countries, English regions and local authorities within the UK have made more ambitious targets or declared climate emergencies. The relationship between national, regional and local commitments is unclear and raises many questions including the relative capacity to act, legal responsibility for GHG emissions and the differential spatial dependencies on fossil fuel infrastructures. It also raises possibilities of achieving a "just" transition that takes into account the ability to act and the effect on low income households. In summary, the PhD will address the relationship between national and sub-national commitments and how to ensure a just low carbon transition.

While considerably more research is needed at the national level to understand the transition to net zero, there is some understanding on the relevant role of different sectors. The same cannot be said at a regional level. There are fundamental data issues that the project will need to address to determine appropriate net zero pathways for regions and local authorities. This also raises issue on where boundaries are set in relation to emissions. Should GHG emissions associated with energy intensive industries form part of a regional or national strategy? Should household emissions be the main focus on local authority commitments and are territorial or consumption based approaches appropriate?
The project will require advancements in quantitative approaches related to regional energy / economy modelling at the sub-national level. A truly inter-disciplinary approach is required that brings together different modelling perspectives and can also undertake qualitative research methods engaging with relevant stakeholders at national, regional and local scales.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/T517860/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2025
2437727 Studentship EP/T517860/1 30/09/2020 31/03/2024 Alice Mary Garvey