Kevin Anderson

Engineer and climatologist Professor, speaker, researcher

Anderson is professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester. He was previously director of the Tyndall Centre, the UK’s leading academic climate change research organisation, where he held a joint post with the University of East Anglia. He is an active researcher with recent publications in Royal Society journals, Nature and Energy Policy, and engages widely across all tiers of government.

Anderson has a decade’s industrial experience, principally in the petrochemical industry. He sits as commissioner on the Welsh Government’s climate change commission and is a director of Greenstone Carbon Management – a London-based company providing emission-related advice to private and public sector organisations. Anderson is a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Anderson’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work emphasizes there is now little to no chance of keeping the rise in global mean surface temperature below 4°C, as early as 2050, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary.

“Despite [five] IPCC reports, 23 rounds of international negotiations, and thousands of climate change papers and conferences, annual emissions are more than 60% higher than in 1990, and are still rising. Put simply, the international community has presided over a quarter of a century of abject failure to deliver any meaningful reduction in absolute global emissions.”

Anderson has concluded only a planned economic downturn accompanied by severe energy austerity by the one percent who use 50% of the world’s energy can avoid a climate disaster. He has also accused too many climate scientists of keeping quiet about the unrealistic assessments put out by governments and regularly criticized our own overconfidance on the promise of new technologies to forgo our predicament.

“Certainly the rhetoric of action is ramping up. Yet those who talk confidently about renewables, nuclear and “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) eventually driving down emissions in decades to come are guilty of misunderstanding the fundamental science of climate change.

We face a “cumulative problem”, with rising temperatures relating to the build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Based on this, the Paris 1.5°C and 2°C commitments demand total emissions remain within a small and rapidly dwindling “carbon budget”. Time is truly of the essence. Less than 12 years of current emissions will see our 1.5°C aspiration go the way of the dodo, with the 2°C carbon budget exceeded by the mid 2030s.”