1st Edition

Stopping Climate Change Policies for Real Zero

By Paul Ekins Copyright 2024
    462 Pages 96 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    462 Pages 96 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Written by one of the leading experts in the field, Paul Ekins, Stopping Climate Change provides a comprehensive overview of what is required to achieve ‘real zero’ carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and negative emissions thereafter, which is the only way to stop human- induced climate change.

    This will require innovation in socio-technical systems, and in human behaviour, on an unprecedented scale. Stopping Climate Change describes the changes required to meet this goal: in technologies, social institutions and individual activities. Paul Ekins examines in detail issues around the supply and demand of energy and materials, and the efficiency of their use. It also analyses greenhouse gas removal technologies, offsetting and geoengineering, and plots the reduction of the non- CO2 greenhouse gas-emitting activities. Having set out the changes required, Ekins considers the economic implications, in terms of both the innovation and investments that are necessary to bring them about, and the effects that these are likely to have on national economies. The evidence presented points clearly to the economic impacts of decarbonisation being positive for the majority of countries, and for the world as a whole, even before considering the benefits of avoided climate change. When the health benefits of stopping the burning of fossil fuels are factored in, the global net benefits of decarbonisation are unequivocal.

    Drawing on examples from the UK and Europe, but with wider relevance at a global scale, Stopping Climate Change clearly shows how determined policy action at different levels could stop climate change. It will be of great interest to students, scholars and policymakers researching and working in the field of climate change and energy policy.


    Paul Ekins is Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at the Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London (UCL). For 14 years he was a Co- Director of the UK Energy Research Centre. He was also the special adviser to the joint Houses of Parliament on the UK Climate Change Bill. At the EU level he was a member of the High- Level Panel of the European Commission’s European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative and was Vice Chair in 2012– 13 of the then Environment Commissioner’s Expert Economists’ Group on Resource Efficiency. He is a member of the International Resource Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and was a Co- Chair of UNEP’s flagship publication, the sixth Global Environment Outlook, published in 2019. In 1994 he received UNEP’s Global 500 Award ‘for outstanding environmental achievement’. In 2015 he received an OBE from the UK Government ‘for services to environmental policy’.

    “Professor Ekins gives us the information that we need and does so in a clear, detailed, and authoritative way. It is the handbook that even the most informed will find invaluable but which, at the same time, is wholly accessible to the widest of audiences. Nobody, whether they are already seriously involved or just want to understand the issues for the first time, should be without Stopping Climate Change. I will certainly have it close at hand as the battle to save the planet continues with increasing urgency."

    From the Foreword by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK Climate Change Committee, 2012-2023

    “Building on decades of experience, Paul Ekins sets out concisely in this book the science, the politics and the possibilities for zero greenhouse gas emissions. For anyone wanting to get to grips with the climate action challenge in a single read, this book meets your needs in a characteristically clear fashion, spiced with the author’s opinions and insights.”

    Jim Skea, Professor of Sustainable Energy, Imperial College London

    "With academic rigor and razor sharp clarity, this heroic effort of covering the entire climate change challenge, from risks, impacts to policy and pathways to a safe landing for humanity, is not only commendable. It is a must read for all in search of realistic light in the rapidly darkening climate tunnel." 

    Johan Rockström, Professor of Earth System Science and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

    “Paul Ekins has been an astute, incisive and outspoken commentator of climate change policy for many years.  In this book, he puts forward a comprehensive and convincing blueprint for tackling the climate crisis.  An essential read for anybody interested in climate change policy”. 

    Sam Fankhauser, Professor of Climate Change Economics and Policy, University of Oxford

    “In battling climate change, it is crucial to understand the economic implications of different policies and courses of action. Paul Ekins provides a key intervention for those engaged in these issues.”

    Karen Turner, Professor and Director of the Centre for Energy Policy, University of Strathclyde

    “A comprehensive survey of the state of the climate debate is very welcome and much needed.  Professor Ekins spells out what is happening and what is not, and explains what could and should be done - to deliver real net zero and genuine climate security.  This book should be essential reading for everyone concerned to find a practical solution to the climate challenge.”

    Nick Butler, Visiting Professor and founder of the Policy Institute, King’s College London.

    “Paul Ekins is uniquely qualified to take on the task of producing what is a ‘tour de force’ that covers all of the critical issues that need to be addressed to stop climate change. In this book he moves from the causes and consequences of climate change to a comprehensive assessment of the technological solutions and societal challenges that need to be overcome, from low carbon energy to GHG removal and the need for a more secure and sustainable food system. In short ‘Stopping Climate Change’ provides a much needed ‘one stop shop’ to understanding, as he puts it, one of the greatest issues of our time.”

    Michael Bradshaw, Professor of Global Energy, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

    “This is a very important book for anyone concerned about climate change. In effect, it is a complete briefing about everything – the causes, the science and the remedies be they policy or our personal and technological choices.  Paul Ekins has managed to tell a complicated story in a way that is understandable and helpful for ‘non-expert’ activists like me, and with a rigour that will satisfy his academic colleagues too.”

    Sara Parkin, Co-Founder, Forum for the Future

    “When it comes to climate change, Paul Ekins has been reflecting, analysing, advocating, weighing the evidence and supporting policy-makers for a very long time. That depth of expertise and knowledge informs every chapter of “Stopping Climate Change”, but the real story is in the subtitle: “Policies for Real Zero” (my emphasis!) to distinguish it from all the superficial or downright dishonest hype about “Net Zero”! It’s so important to hear it from the real expert.”

    Jonathon Porritt, environmental campaigner

    “A comprehensive and unflinching view of the scale of the climate challenge we face, but one that examines real solutions that must be implemented.  Balanced and thoughtful, its content will reward both policy makers and general readers alike.”

    Philip Sellwood, CEO, Energy Saving Trust (2003-2020)

    “I have long regarded Paul Ekins as an oracle of climate policy, and he does not disappoint in his new book. His dispassionate, meticulously researched summary of the decarbonisation challenge cuts through confusion and lays out the facts. It will be required reading for my students, and for anyone wanting a concise, real-world account of the task ahead.”

    Rebecca Willis, Professor in Energy and Climate Governance, Lancaster University

    “What a tour de force!  An amazingly comprehensive, cohesive and insightful analysis of what’s needed for net zero and the current state of play on all these solutions.”

    Karen Ellis, Chief Economist, WWF-UK

    “This book is comprehensible to non-experts and has a strong focus on the key issue – what needs to be done to stop climate change. Paul Ekins has used his broad knowledge to set out a clear route map, whilst remaining realistic about the likely rate of political action.”

    Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy, University of Oxford

    “If you only read one book about the climate crisis read this one. Informed by many years of direct involvement with climate policy, the book covers all aspects of the technology, policy and market developments needed to solve the climate problem. It deals in detail with the economic and societal requirements for change. The overriding messages are that we have the tools available, that change is both possible and can bring many benefits. I sincerely hope that decision makers around the world take notice.”

    Rob Gross, Professor and Director of the UK Energy Research Centre