COP20: Research from the edge

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru (1-12 December 2014) will settle the key elements of a global climate deal to be finalised in Paris next year, when tcop20_logo_text_173he deadline for a new deal runs out.

The ESRC STEPS Centre and its partners around the world have been working on policy-relevant research in the places at the sharp edge of climate change, where it is having a huge effect on people’s lives and livelihoods. Here are a selection of resources, relevant to the COP20 negotiations, on the impact of climate change on poor and marginalised people, at the intersections of intersections of energy, agriculture, water and health.

Latin American partner:

Centro STEPS America Latina – the new Latin American regional hub for our Global Pathways to Sustainability Consortium, based at CENIT in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


  • Energy and Climate Change domain With increasing access to modsmall_solar-panelern energy services a key international development priority, the STEPS Centre believes a much broader and ambitious approach to energy and development is needed.
  • Political Ecologies of Carbon in Africa New deals and funding mechanisms aim to reduce emissions. One consequence of this is the growth of a market in carbon. This project examines the power, politics and perceptions of carbon in Africa as new schemes are planned and put into action.
  • 7982180457_4729fe7642_sUncertainty from Above and Below How do people deal with uncertainty about the climate? Theories, models and diagrams from “above” may have little to do with the way how everyday men and women live with, understand and cope with uncertainty. This project brings together the views of people who study uncertainty, with the perspectives of people who experience it.
  • Pro-poor, low carbon development This project aims to improve the transfer and uptake of low carbon technologies in developing countries, and to do so in ways that can assist in their economic development.
  • 5509471394_34e2f2ecaa_sEnvironmental Change and Maize Innovations in Kenya
    In East Africa, maize is an important staple crop, a vital part of food security. This project examined the various options for farmers in the region – from choosing alternative crops, to using new techniques or technology. It looked at how farmers and others see and make these choices in the context of climate change, uncertain markets and changes in land use.3193917903_501343d8d8_s
  • Low Carbon Innovation in China This project explores the extent, nature and social implications of low-carbon transitions in China, a key concern for the whole world.


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