Dr Steve Smith

Executive Director, Oxford Net Zero and CO2RE


With a background in atmospheric physics and a career in UK climate policy, Steve’s interests lie at the intersection of climate science and decision-making. He is Executive Director Oxford Net Zero and CO2RE: two programmes both focussed on stabilising the climate both rapidly and sustainably.

Oxford Net Zero brings together experts from across the University to address the critical issue of how to reach global net zero emissions. It includes academics from disciplines including Anthropology, Biology, Earth Sciences, Geography, Law, Business and Governance.

CO2RE is a multi-disciplinary research hub focused on removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Backed by seven UK universities, CO2RE works with demonstration-scale removal projects around the country. It conducts solutions-led research to develop and evaluate a balanced portfolio of scalable techniques.

Steve has published in major journals on a range of topics, including metrics for comparing emissions of different greenhouse gases, and the governance of carbon dioxide removal. He is also passionate about turning the latest science into usable tools, such as the Net Zero Tracker and the State of Carbon Dioxide Removal.

He joined the Smith School from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) where he co-led the Climate Science Team and played a role in the legislation of the UK's net zero target. Before that he was Head of Science at the Committee on Climate Change. He has a PhD from Imperial College London and is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Alongside continuing to advise governments and businesses, Steve communicates climate change to children and wider audiences. He helped write Climate Crisis for Beginners by Usborne Books, and was a contributor to the Ladybird book on Climate Change.



Steve is open to supervising graduate students with an interest in climate action and policy, particularly those with skills in numerical analysis and coding, in the following topics:

  • Evaluating deep decarbonisation commitments by countries and companies
  • Economics, policies and systemic impacts of greenhouse gas removal techniques