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Tim Lenton

Tim Lenton

Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science, The University of Exeter

Tim is the Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter. His books ‘Revolutions that made the Earth’ (with Andrew Watson) and ‘Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction’ have popularized a new scientific view of our planetary home. Tim co-authored the widely used ‘Planetary Boundaries’ framework and is renowned for his work identifying climate tipping points, which informed the setting of the 1.5C climate target and associated net zero targets and nationally determined contributions.
As a member of the Earth Commission (, Tim is part of a select international research group that has been setting safe and just ‘Earth system boundaries’ for climate, aerosols, biodiversity, land use, water use and nutrient use, which are now being translated to city and company level targets by the Science Based Targets Network.
Tim works actively with policymakers and businesses helping them assess the risks of climate change and nature loss and highlighting the opportunities for ‘positive tipping points’ that can accelerate desired changes. His positive tipping points framework, initially developed with Simon Sharpe of the COP26 team and informing the ‘Breakthrough Agenda’, is gaining increasing traction with policy and business. As part of this Tim directs the Economics of Energy Innovation and System Transition (EEIST) project ( funded by BEIS.
Tim has led several projects modelling the global potential for carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere from reversing past forest degradation, reforestation/afforestation, and biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). These projects have helped advance monitoring reporting and verification (MRV) approaches for carbon credits including for the flagship project of Permian Global in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Tim and his group are advancing the use of data science to assess and track progress towards sustainable development goals.
Tim’s research work has won a Philip Leverhulme Prize 2004, European Geosciences Union Outstanding Young Scientist Award 2006, Times Higher Education Award for Research Project of the Year 2008, Geological Society of London William Smith Fund 2008, and Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award 2013. Tim is a member of the Earth Commission, an ISI Highly Cited Researcher, and in the top 100 of the Reuters ‘Hot List’ of the world’s top climate scientists.
Tim has published over 200 academic papers with over 57,000 citations and an h-index of 89 (