Reaching Zero Emissions
Ship at a port. Royalty Free image. Rawpixel.

Reaching Zero Emissions

Reaching zero emissions. The Paris Agreement commitments, without overshoot, demand a halving of emissions in the next seven years as a first step to stabilise global warming at 1.5°C by the end of this century.

Our theme continues to inform and learn from our stakeholders, policy-makers, the private sector, academia, publics and civil society. Mitigating climate change is a colossal challenge for all sectors and their supply chains, including but not limited to electricity, heating and cooling, fossil fuel production, transport, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and food systems. While much of our focus is on emissions reduction, to achieve net zero emissions, the ability to actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere will also be required and could be delivered in substantially different ways.

We quantify and assess mitigation actions to halve emissions by the end of the decade. Our work assesses the roles of policies, methodologies, technologies, incentives, behaviours, and societal changes needed to transition to achieve a cost-effective and low emissions economy. Our focus is on a set of sub-themes that address cross-cutting issues from zero emissions, circular economy, natural resources, and greenhouse gas reductions across different sectors, such as aviation, shipping, heavy goods vehicles, industry, manufacturing, agriculture and food systems.

Current Projects


    In response to the rapidly expanding scientific literature, a team of researchers at the Tyndall Centre...

Beyond Cost and Carbon

Dr Naomi Vaughan and Dr Aimie Hope work on Beyond Cost and Carbon – a Leverhulme funded project...



“Power transmission lines” by Oran Viriyincy via Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 The EnergyREV Consortium’s purpose is...


Intelligent Community Energy

Photo: INTERREG VA France (Channel) England A partnership between UEA and eight research and business support organisations in...

One Bin to Rule Them All (GOTW – Grants on the Web (

RiseUp: Resilience of the UK seafood system to COVID-19 disruption (RiseUp — Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban UK (

Feasibility of Afforestation and Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage for Greenhouse Gas Removal FAB-GGR

UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre UKCCS

The Energy Revolution Consortium (EnergyREV

Past Highlights
Some Key Publications

Heidrich, O., et al. (2021). Will climate mitigation ambitions lead to carbon neutrality? An analysis of the local-level plans of 327 cities in the EURenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Heidrich, O., et al. (2021). Climate mitigation in the Mediterranean Europe: An assessment of regional and city-level plansJournal of Environmental Management.

Braunholtz-Speight, T., McLachlan, C., Mander, S., Hannon, M., Hardy, J., Cairns, I., Sharmina, M., Manderson, E. (2021). The long term future for community energy in Great Britain: A co-created vision of a thriving sector and steps towards realising it. Energy Research and Social Science.

Fletcher, C.A., St Clair, R., Sharmina, M. (2021). Seafood businesses’ resilience can benefit from circular economy principles. Nature Food.

González, F., Webb, J., Sharmina, M., Hannon, M., Pappas, D., Tingey, M. (2021) Characterising a local energy business sector in the United Kingdom: Participants, revenue sources, and estimates of localism and smartnessEnergy.

Sharmina, M., Edelenbosch, O. Y., Wilson, C., Freeman, R., Gernaat, D. E. H. J., Gilbert, P., Larkin, A., Littleton, E. W., Traut, M., Van Vuuren, D. P., Vaughan, N., Wood, F. R., Le Quéré. (2021). Decarbonising the critical sectors of aviation, shipping, road freight and industry to limit warming to 1.5–2°CClimate Policy.

Waller, L., Rayner, T., Chilvers, J., Gough, C., Lorenzoni, I., Jordan, A., Vaughan, N. (2020). Contested framings of greenhouse gas removal and it’s feasibility: Social and political dimensionsWiley Online Library.

Heidrich, O., et al. (2020). Circular economy strategies for electric vehicle batteries reduce reliance on raw materialsNature Sustainability.

Heidrich, O., et al. (2020). Advances and challenges in assessing urban sustainability: an advanced bibliometric reviewRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Forster, J., Vaughan, N., Gough, C., Lorenzoni, I., Chilvers, J. Mapping feasibilities of greenhouse gas removal: Key issues, gaps and opening up assessmentsGlobal Environmental Change, Vol 63.

Braunholtz-Speight, T., Sharmina, M., Manderson, E., McLachlan, C., Hannon, M., Hardy, J., & Mander, S. (2020). Business Models and Financial Characteristics of Community Energy in the UKNature Energy, 5, 169-177.

Gallego Schmid, A., Chen, H-M., Sharmina, M., & Fernandez Mendoza, J. M. (2020). Links between circular economy and climate change mitigation in the built environmentJournal of Cleaner Production, 260, 121115.

Sharmina, M., Abi Ghanem, D., Browne, A., Hall, S., Mylan, J., Petrova, S., & Wood, F. (2019). Envisioning surprises: How social sciences could help models represent ‘deep uncertainty’ in future energy and water demand. Energy Research & Social Science, 50, 18-28.

Forster, J., Vaughan, N., Gough, C., Lorenzoni, I. & Chilvers, J. Mapping feasibilities of Greenhouse Gas Removal: Key issues, gaps and opening up assessmentsGlobal Environmental Change, 25 Mar 2020 in press.

Vaughan, N.E., Gough, C., Mander, S., Littleton, E.W., Welfle, A., Gernaat, D.E.H.J. & van Vuuren, D.P. (2018) Evaluating the use of biomass energy with carbon capture and storage in low emission scenariosEnvironmental Research Letters 13:044014 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aaaa02

Gough, C., Garcia-Freites, S., Jones, C., Mander, S., Moore, B., Pereira, C., Röder, M., Vaughan, N.E. & Welfle, A. (2018) Challenges to the use of BECCS as a keystone technology in pursuit of 1.5°CGlobal Sustainability 1:e5 doi:10.1017/sus.2018.3