Dr Steve Smith
Executive Director, Oxford Net Zero and CO2RE
Steve is Executive Director of two programmes led by the Smith School, both focussed on stabilising the climate both rapidly and sustainably.
The Oxford Net Zero Initiative brings together experts from across the University to address the critical issue of how to reach global net zero emissions. It includes leading academics from disciplines including Anthropology, Biology, Earth Sciences, Geography, Law, Business and Governance. The initiative not only provides multi-disciplinary research but also tools and new resources for policymakers and businesses.
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 and conducts solutions-led research to encourage and evaluate a balanced portfolio of economically, socially and environmentally scalable techniques.
Steve's research interests lie at the intersection of climate science and policy. He has published on a range of topics including metrics for comparing the emissions of different greenhouse gases, and the governance of carbon dioxide removal. He is co-developer of a major global stocktake of net zero pledges.
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 in atmospheric physics from Imperial College London and is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.
Alongside continuing to advise government, businesses and multiple agencies, 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
- Powis, C. M., Smith, S. M., Minx, J. C., Gasser, T. (2023) Quantifying global carbon dioxide removal deployment. Environmental Research Letters, 18 (2).
- Hickey, C., Fankhauser, S., Smith, S.M. and Allen M.R. (2023) A review of commercialisation mechanisms for carbon dioxide removal. Frontiers in Climate, 4
- Allen, M.R., Peters, G.P., Shine, K.P., et al. (2022) Indicate separate contributions of long-lived and short-lived greenhouse gases in emission targets. npj climate and atmospheric science, 5(5).
- Fankhauser, S., Smith, S.M., Allen, M. et al. (2022) The meaning of net zero and how to get it right. Nature Climate Change.
- Hale, T., Smith, S.M., Black, R., Cullen, K., Fay, B., Lang, J. and Mahmood, S. (2021) Assessing the rapidly-emerging landscape of net zero targets. Climate Policy.
- Lezaun, J., Healey, P., Kruger, T. and Smith, S.M. (2021) Governing Carbon Dioxide Removal in the UK: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead. Frontiers in Climate, 3.
- Schenuit, F., Colvin, R., Fridahl, M., McMullin, B., Reisinger, A., Sanchez, D.L., Smith, S.M., Torvanger, A., Wreford, A. and Geden, O. (2021) Carbon Dioxide Removal Policy in the Making: Assessing Developments in 9 OECD Cases. Frontiers in Climate, 3.
- Smith, S.M. (2021) A case for transparent net-zero carbon targets. Communications Earth and Environment, 2. 24.
- Smith, P., Haszeldine, R.S. and Smith, S.M. (2016) Preliminary assessment of the potential for, and limitations to, terrestrial negative emission technologies in the UK. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, 18: 1400-1405.
- Huntingford, C., Lowe, J.A., Howarth, N., Bowerman, N.H.A., Gohar, L.K., Otto, A., Lee, D.S., Smith, S.M., den Elzen, M.G.J., van Vuuren, D.P., Millar, R.J. and Allen, M.R. (2015) The implications of carbon dioxide and methane exchange for the heavy mitigation RCP2.6 scenario under two metrics. Environmental Science and Policy, 51: 77-87.
- Smith, A., Holland, M., Korkeala, O., Warmington, J., Forster, D., ApSimon, H., Oxley, T., Dickens, R. and Smith, S.M. (2015) Health and environmental co-benefits and conflicts of actions to meet UK carbon targets. Climate Policy, 16(3): 253-283.
- Bowerman, N., Frame, D., Huntingford, C., Lowe, J., Smith, S. and Allen, M. (2013) The role of short-lived climate pollutants in meeting temperature goals. Nature Climate Change, 3: 1021-1024.
- Huntingford, C., Lowe, J.A., Gohar, L.K., Bowerman, N.H.A., Allen, M.R., Raper, S.C.B. and Smith, S.M. (2012) The link between a global 2°C warming threshold and emissions in years 2020, 2050 and beyond. Environmental Research Letters, 7(1).
- Smith, S.M., Lowe, J.A., Bowerman, N.H.A., Gohar, L.K., Huntingford, C. and Allen, M.R. (2012) Equivalence of greenhouse-gas emissions for peak temperature limits. Nature Climate Change, 2: 535-538.
- Good, P., et al. (2011) A review of recent developments in climate change science. Part I: Understanding of future change in the large-scale climate system. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, 35(3): 281-296.
- Gosling, S.N., et al. (2011) A review of recent developments in climate change science. Part II: The global-scale impacts of climate change. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, 35(4): 443-464.
- Smith, S.M. and Toumi, R. (2008) Direct observation of cloud forcing by ground-based thermal imaging. Geophysical Research Letters, 35(7).
- Smith, S.M. and Toumi, R. (2008) Measuring Cloud Cover and Brightness Temperature with a Ground-Based Thermal Infrared Camera. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 47(2): 683-693.
- Smith, S. M., et al. (2023). The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal - 1st Edition
- Hans, F. et al. (2022) Net Zero Stocktake 2022, Net Zero Tracker
- Babiker, M. G. et al. (2022): Cross-sectoral perspectives. In IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. doi: 10.1017/9781009157926.005
- United Nations Environment Programme (2021) Emissions Gap Report 2021: The Heat Is On - A World of Climate Promises Not Yet Delivered. Nairobi.
- Allen, M., Axelsson, K., Caldecott, B., Hale, T., Hepburn, C., Hickey, C., Mitchell-Larson, E., Malhi, Y., Otto, F., Seddon, N. and Smith, S. (2020) The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting. Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford.
- Biomass in a low-carbon economy. Committee on Climate Change (2018).
- UK climate action following the Paris Agreement. Committee on Climate Change (2016).
- The fifth carbon budget: the next step towards a low-carbon economy. Committee on Climate Change (2015).
- The scientific and international context for the fifth carbon budget. Committee on Climate Change (2015).
- Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change: 2015 joint progress report to Parliament. Committee on Climate Change (2015).
- International aviation and shipping review. Committee on Climate Change (2012).
- How well prepared is the UK for climate change? Committee on Climate Change (2010).
- Building a low-carbon economy: the UK's contribution to tackling climate change. Committee on Climate Change (2008).
- Nijia Zhou, Mirte Boot, Conor Hickey, Sam Fankhauser, Anupama Sen, Steve Smith (2022) Deployment support for geological Greenhouse Gas Removals (GGR) in the UK, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford