The Climate Crunch

US Geological Survey / Flickr (CC0 1.0)

Evidence and research conducted by the ESRC Climate Change Fellows over the past 4 years suggests that we now face a ‘climate crunch’.  We face an acute failure of climate governance at multiple levels at precisely the same time that climate scientists are telling us that action to avoid dangerous climate change is more urgent than ever. This failure coupled with a limited grasp of the critical risks, rights and responsibilities involved in addressing climate change also threatens to precipitate a breakdown in the social contracts that have been established around this issue that may in turn squander any hope of achieving policy goals. The policy architecture we currently have was not designed for a world in which so many actors now play a key role in climate governance, in which rising powers are now also key drivers of emissions growth as well as responses to the problem, and in which climate change now spills over into other policy domains such as trade, aid and industrial policy.

How can the international community, and the UK as a leading player within it, deal with these complex and inter-related challenges in its attempts to tackle climate change?

This project aims to draw on the collective experience, research and policy insights of the ESRC Climate Change Leadership Fellows to stimulate debate and thinking in the UK and internationally about how to answer this question.  Activities are intended to respond to a clear policy demand to identify viable, evidence-based lessons about how key actors involved in the governance of climate change are responding to these challenges.  They are also intended to add value to the research undertaken by the individual climate change fellows by generating targeted messages to key audiences drawing on their collective research and thereby enhancing its impacts.



Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Project Start / End

Jan 2013 - Jun 2014

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