Tackling the climate and environmental crisis

We are helping to address the climate emergency by marshalling our research to understand the causes and effects of climate change, and to help communities adapt and mitigate its effects. We are world-leading in areas as diverse as earth systems, biodiversity, farming and food, energy and manufacturing, space and satellites, health and inequalities, the circular economy, climate finance and corporate responsibility, public attitudes and environmental politics. Learn more about how our researchers are having a positive impact upon the planet and its people.

Using AI’s power to fight climate change

Corin CampbellDec 7, 20239 min read
Whether climate change or AI poses the greatest threat to humanity depends on which of the world’s brightest minds you ask. But how can the power of the latter be harnessed to help tackle the former?

How downplaying green benefits could boost plant-based meat

Jennifer YuleSep 26, 20236 min read
Plant-based meat sales are stagnating. To get it on more plates - and take pressure off the environment - does it need a rebrand that ignores its eco-friendly credentials?

Fossil discovery puts plant evolution in a spin

Naturally occurring Fibonacci spirals have long mesmerised scientists. A new study of ancient plant fossils has revealed a surprising twist about the patterns.

The truth about cats and dogs (and the climate)

Peter AlexanderJun 8, 20236 min read
Owning a pet has an impact on the planet - almost as much as flying a private jet, according to some. But there are ways to reduce their environmental pawprint.

How a basic conservation income won’t cost the Earth

Giving money unconditionally to people living in conservation areas like the Amazon rainforest might cost trillions, but it could still be a shrewd investment.

How soils changed life on Earth

Dr Sandy HetheringtonMay 10, 20235 min read
Soil has only existed for less than 10% of our planet’s history and around 500 million years ago, it was key to making the Earth habitable.

15-minute cities: separating reality from conspiracy

Dr Alessia CalafioreMar 3, 20235 min read
The idea of neighbourhoods where all services are within a 15 minute walk is being denounced as "Stalinist" by some protesters. How did city planning become the latest conspiracy theory?

Adjusting for humanity’s fingerprints

Derek MainFeb 2, 20236 min read
Six years ago, Professors Gabi Hegerl and Simon Tett’s work to prove human-caused greenhouse gasses are warming our planet underpinned the 2015 Paris Agreement. Today they argue we still aren’t doing enough to adapt to climate change.

Charging up the road

David LeeFeb 2, 20237 min read
To help the haulage sector meet climate targets the UK's motorways are being electrified. How do you efficiently wire up a complex road network while keeping on trucking?

Seeing the woods

Derek MainFeb 2, 20236 min read
Getting a clear picture of how much living matter is in the world's forests and savannas - key data in managing these vital carbon stores - has always been tricky. Satellite technology is changing that.

Signals from a drowning world

Derek MainFeb 2, 20237 min read
Melting ice sheets and glaciers – and the resulting rising seas - are a startling reminder of the rate of climate change. However, measuring ice loss was an inaccurate science... until Edinburgh experts helped change things.

The first Challenger

Iain Woodhouse and Murray RobertsDec 21, 20229 min read
150 years ago an expedition that became a byword for adventure set sail. It forever changed our relationship with the sea. At its heart was the University of Edinburgh.

Calling time on greenwashing

Derek MainAug 22, 20226 min read
If international standards for measuring greenhouse gas emissions are flawed, what does this mean for companies and institutions trying to reduce their footprint?

Climate-friendly cattle

Monica Hoyos FlightJun 24, 20227 min read
Researchers at the University’s Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems are developing bio-economic models to help governments and companies understand the cost-effectiveness of measures to reduce the environmental impact of beef production.

Protecting our pollinators

Charlotte StapleyMay 20, 20227 min read
​​​​​​​Found across almost every continent, bees have been pollinating plants for millions of years, but their numbers are dwindling. University of Edinburgh research is working to halt their decline.