Climate Energy College

About Us

The Climate & Energy College is an international team of early career researchers. The College conducts climate and energy systems research in an interdisciplinary environment, advancing knowledge and informing responses to the complex challenges of climate change. 

We are a world-class research hub located at the University of Melbourne collaborating with leading Australian and German research institutions. Our research is centred on Climate Change and Energy Transitions.

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News & Upcoming Events

  • A comment on Australia's stance in the world on ABC News 24, 29 Nov 2018

    Watch the interview on Australia's stance in a world that struggles to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, let alone 1.5C or 2C. A number of opportunities are missed at the moment within the policy vacuum in Australia.

  • Our recent study on Paris Agreement featured in global media

    Our recent study in Nature Communications by our PhD researcher Yann Rubiou du Pont and College Director Malte Meinshausen was recently featured in media around the world.

  • Human well-being within planetary boundaries: Integrating climate policies with the UN 2030 Agenda

    Tuesday, 26 October 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

    In 2015 the international community set up the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Together, they form an ambitious agenda for ensuring decent living standards for all while simultaneously protecting the climate and our ecosystems. However, five years into these agreements, reviewing the progress towards the targets is sobering, and an ambitious and integrated strategy is needed more than ever. In a modelling analysis covering the energy, land and climate systems as well as all 17 SDGs, we show that a combination of carbon pricing, international climate finance, national redistributive policies, and lifestyle change in high-income countries would succeed in meeting the 1.5°C target while simultaneously enable large progress towards the SDGs.

    EU flagThis event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

    Speaker(s)

    Bjoern has been a post-doctoral researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research since 2018. He investigates how to integrate climate policies with the much broader agenda of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aiming to reconcile social goals like the eradication of extreme poverty with environmental sustainability. His recent work on these topics has been featured widely in German and international media. Bjoern was originally trained as an astrophysicist and has a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Cambridge.

  • Developments in physical understanding and how to use it to improve climate policies - Insights from IPCC AR6 presented by two of Europe’s leading climate scientists

    Tuesday, 7 September 2021 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

    Key developments in understanding climate feedbacks and in quantifying the role of greenhouse gases and aerosol  on climate have helped the IPCC WGI report to make more robust climate projections. The seminar will discuss these developments including our understanding of possible tipping points and increased risks. It will also consider the implications for climate policy.

    Speaker(s)
    University of Leeds and Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 7 AR6 WGI

    Piers is an atmospheric physicist who moved to Leeds in 2005 where he has been professor of climate physics since 2008. He is founding Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate.  Graduating with a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Reading in 1994 he stayed in Reading, first  as a post-doc and then as a NERC advanced research fellow from 2000-2005. During this time he worked at both Monash University and the University of Colorado (Boulder) for 12-month periods.    He was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award for 2011-2016.  He was made a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2019. He is a Web of Science Clarivate Analytics highly cited researcher. 

    As well as his research career, he established the forest protection and research charity: the United Bank of Carbon and has a number of roles advising industry and government, including membership of the Rolls Royce Environment Advisory Board and the UK Committee on Climate Change. He has played a significant role authoring Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, and currently has a coordinating lead author role for the IPCC sixth assessment report. 

    Imperial College London

    Joeri Rogelj is Director of Research and Lecturer in Climate Change and the Environment at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London. He explores how societies can transform towards more sustainable futures. His research activities cross many disciplinary boundaries, connecting Earth system sciences to the study of societal change and policy.

    He has published on the potential effectiveness of international climate agreements including the Copenhagen Accord and the Paris Agreement, carbon budgets, the urgency of climate mitigation action, global net zero emission targets, the interaction between climate and sustainable development, emission pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C and 2°C, and climate justice.

    Dr. Rogelj has contributed to several major scientific climate change assessments informing the international climate negotiations under the UNFCCC. He is a long-serving lead author on the annual Emissions Gap Reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He contributed to the physical science and climate change mitigation assessment of Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), served as a Coordinating Lead Author on mitigation pathways for the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming, and is currently a Lead Author for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment. He continues to follow the UNFCCC climate negotiations as a scientific advisor and was in 2019 the youngest member serving on the UN Secretary-General's Climate Science Advisory Group. 

    He received the award for outstanding research for his Master's thesis from the Flanders Biomedical Society. In 2011, he received the Peccei Award for outstanding research performed during the IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program, and in 2014 he received the ETH Medal for his outstanding doctoral dissertation. Further information about Dr. Rogelj, together with a selected list of publications, can be found at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/j.rogelj. 

  • A detailed look at future warming and remaining carbon budgets in the IPCC WG1 AR6 report

    Tuesday, 24 August 2021 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

    Abstract: The Physical Science (Working Group 1) contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report was released on the 10th August 2021. This second of two seminars takes a closer look at two key areas in the report: future warming and remaining carbon budgets, presented by two authors that have been closely involved in this IPCC cycle. It builds on the broader overview provided by the first seminar. The seminar will present an assessment of future warming under a selection of different scenarios. We will discuss the assessments, their uncertainty and the methods used, including key methodological advancements compared to previous IPCC reports. To enhance the connection with other discussions on net zero, we will also place the scenarios considered in the context of other mitigation pathways from the scenario literature. We will also discuss new estimates of our remaining carbon budget i.e. the total amount of carbon dioxide we can emit before we cross a given temperature threshold such as 1.5C or 2.0C. We compare the updated remaining carbon budget estimates with previous estimates from the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5C (SR1.5) and the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and dive into some of the implications of the probabilistic language used for reporting remaining carbon budgets. We also discuss the implications for policy, particularly when we must reach net zero emissions in order to remain within the budget. 

    Speaker(s)

    Zebedee is an expert in reduced complexity climate model development. Alongside A/Prof Malte Meinshausen, he leads the Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project (RCMIP), which performs standardised evaluation of reduced complexity climate models. He also led the development of a common resource for reduced complexity model calibration data based on ESM output (cmip6.science.unimelb.edu.au) and helped create the input greenhouse gas datasets for CMIP6’s future scenario experiments. Zebedee submitted his PhD at the Climate & Energy College within the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in May, and before that completed his undergraduate Masters course in Physics at St. John’s College, University of Oxford. Beyond his PhD, Zebedee contributed to Working Group 1 of the forthcoming IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, leading Cross-Chapter Box 7.1 and acting as a Contributing Author to Chapters 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

    Australian-German College in Melbourne

    Malte’s research interests comprise  probabilistic climate projections, carbon budgets and emulations of multiple climate system uncertainties. He is one of the Lead Authors for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on the physical climate science (WG1), and part of the Core Writing Team of the IPCC Synthesis Report.  Malte has been the scientific advisor to the German Environmental Ministry, being part of the German negotiation team at international climate change negotiations for more than 10 years. In his scientific career, he received an Australian Research Council’s Future Fellowship Award to investigate Australia’s fair contribution towards a global mitigation effort. Malte is Associate Professor in Climate Science at the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

  • Scenarios, carbon budgets and temperature projections in the new IPCC WG1 AR6 report

    Tuesday, 10 August 2021 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

    Abstract: The Physical Science (Working Group 1) contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report will be released on the 10th August 2021. This first of two seminars will provide an overview of some key results in the IPCC report, presented by two authors that have been closely involved in this IPCC cycle. The seminar will cover the new scenarios that underpin future projections, historical warming updates, the question around how these scenarios compare to 1.5C warming, a comparison of when peak warming levels could be reached under the low mitigation scenarios, the impact of COVID, techniques to provide assessed future temperature projections based on multiple lines of evidence, the usefulness of providing projections against warming levels, remaining carbon budgets in comparison to the SR.5 report, as well as the importance of CO2 versus other gases, both in terms of past and future warming as well as in terms of so-called metrics that compare unit emissions of different GHGs. The second seminar (24th August) will provide more technical detail on two key aspects, i.e. assessed future warming levels and remaining carbon budgets.

    Speaker(s)
    Australian-German College in Melbourne

    Malte’s research interests comprise  probabilistic climate projections, carbon budgets and emulations of multiple climate system uncertainties. He is one of the Lead Authors for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on the physical climate science (WG1), and part of the Core Writing Team of the IPCC Synthesis Report.  Malte has been the scientific advisor to the German Environmental Ministry, being part of the German negotiation team at international climate change negotiations for more than 10 years. In his scientific career, he received an Australian Research Council’s Future Fellowship Award to investigate Australia’s fair contribution towards a global mitigation effort. Malte is Associate Professor in Climate Science at the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

    Zebedee is an expert in reduced complexity climate model development. Alongside A/Prof Malte Meinshausen, he leads the Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project (RCMIP), which performs standardised evaluation of reduced complexity climate models. He also led the development of a common resource for reduced complexity model calibration data based on ESM output (cmip6.science.unimelb.edu.au) and helped create the input greenhouse gas datasets for CMIP6’s future scenario experiments. Zebedee submitted his PhD at the Climate & Energy College within the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in May, and before that completed his undergraduate Masters course in Physics at St. John’s College, University of Oxford. Beyond his PhD, Zebedee contributed to Working Group 1 of the forthcoming IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, leading Cross-Chapter Box 7.1 and acting as a Contributing Author to Chapters 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

  • Potential and risks of hydrogen-based e-fuels in climate change mitigation

    Tuesday, 27 July 2021 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

    Falko Ueckerdt starts with structuring the current hydrogen debate (in particular in Germany and the EU). Then he goes through key techno-economic aspects that determine the role of hydrogen-based e-fuels, particularly compared to a direct electrification. This includes green hydrogen electrolysis expansion (available quantities), energy efficiencies, climate mitigation effectiveness, as well as direct and abatement costs. Falko briefly discusses blue hydrogen and other options of bridging the low mid-term availability of green hydrogen. In his conclusions he argues that societies' hydrogen expectations should be focused on no-regret sectors. Broadly betting on (future) hydrogen, while neglecting available direct electrification technologies (and domestic renewable expansion), risks further fossil fuel dependence (new lock-ins).

  • Development of a Sea Ice Emulator: A Progress Update

    Tuesday, 13 July 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

    Arctic sea ice is a complex yet fundamental component of the Earth system, and is a sensitive indicator of global climatic changes. Since the satellite record began in 1979, the Arctic ocean has received increasing attention due to the rapid decline of sea ice coverage (Niederdrenk and Notz, 2018). This has raised concerns regarding the future state of Arctic sea ice and the subsequent implications of its continued decline. Both passive satellite observations and global climate models used in the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, unanimously show continued year-round reductions in Arctic sea ice throughout the 21st century. The prediction of unprecedented Arctic sea ice loss has led to the clear consensus that the continued rate of Arctic sea ice reduction will present far-reaching, severe implications to atmospheric and oceanic systems. However, the nature and scale of the response to Arctic sea-ice loss and the mechanisms involved remains uncertain. CMIP6 models currently produce a wide spread of sea ice area projections and fail to plausibly simulate sea-ice area evolution to changes in global mean surface temperature. This limitation is exacerbated through the computational expense of current models preventing numerous runs over multi-centennial timescales and scenarios. In this PhD confirmation seminar Siân Chilcott will discuss how a sea ice emulator can be used to gain a new understanding into the behavior of complex CMIP6 models; and how such a tool will provide insight into why model projections differ from observations and what the dominant drivers of sea ice loss are. This project aims to make sense of the wide spread of CMIP6 projections in order to produce a plausible set of sea ice area projections.

     

    Speaker(s)
    Australian-German Climate and Energy College University of Hamburg

    Siân Chilcott is a joint PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne and the University of Hamburg, under the supervision of A/Prof Malte Meinshausen and A/Prof Dirk Notz. Siân completed an integrated masters (MSci) in Earth Sciences at University College London. During this time Siân carried out research at the UCL Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM), here she developed an interest in Arctic sea ice and its role in the climate system.

Web tools and Projects we developed

  • Open-NEM

    The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.

  • Paris Equity Check

    This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.

  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

    Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.