Michael Jacobs

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  • Prof. Michael Jacobs

    Visiting Professor

    Michael Jacobs has been a visiting researcher at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment since July 2010, and was appointed Visiting Professor in January 2011.

    He is a consultant on climate change and energy policy, and a writer, academic and commentator on social democratic thought and British politics.


    Michael was Special Adviser to UK Prime Minister (and previously Chancellor of the Exchequer) Gordon Brown from 2004-10, with responsibility for energy, climate change and environment policy. As a member of the Council of Economic Advisers at the Treasury he helped originate ‘The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change’ and oversaw environmental tax and spending policy, alongside policy on health, public service reform and the third sector. At 10 Downing St he helped direct the changes to UK domestic energy and climate policy after 2007, and was closely involved in the international climate negotiations leading up to and at Copenhagen.

    Michael has also been General Secretary of the think tank and political association the Fabian Society, an ESRC Research Fellow at Lancaster University and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Managing Director of a public and voluntary sector consultancy business.

    He is the author of a number of books, reports and academic papers on environmental economics and philosophy, politics and public policy.

    Research interests

    • International climate change negotiations and international relations;
    • Public and private climate finance;
    • UK and EU energy policy;
    • Environmental taxation and emissions trading policy;
    • The role of social enterprises in energy production and consumption;
    • The politics of climate change.


    Working paper  1 October, 2012

    Green growth: economic theory and political discourse

    Green growth: economic theory and political discourse read more »

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    Policy publications  1 November, 2012

    Less pain, more gain: the potential of carbon pricing to reduce Europe’s fiscal deficits

    An overriding challenge for many European governments and policy-makers is to reduce major fiscal deficits with the least collateral damage to their economy. This paper aims to clarify the … read more »

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    In the news  18 April, 2016

    Within the EU, Britain can take the lead on tackling climate change

    Guardian, 18 April 2016

    In the news  4 January, 2016

    Paris is a pragmatic climate deal, even if it is 25 years late

    New Scientist, 15 December


    Commentary  19 December, 2015

    The Paris Agreement is highly ambitious and very clever  

    Visiting researcher, Michael Jacobs, on why the Paris Agreement provides a strong basis for future global action on climate change. read more »

    In the news  21 October, 2015

    The world's climate pledges are impressive - but still not enough

    Guardian, 16 October

    Commentary  8 July, 2015

    Reflections on the latest report by the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate

    Visiting Professor Michael Jacobs explains the key findings of the latest report by The New Climate Economy which outlines 10 practical measures to boost economic growth & reduce climate risk. read more »

    In the news  8 April, 2015

    Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?

    Guardian Economics Editor, Larry Elliott, looks at how the world can move away from fossil fuels without sacrificing economic growth. Includes inputs from Nicholas Stern, Michael Jacobs, Dieter Helm and others. read more »

    In the news  7 January, 2015

    10 predictions for 2015

    Michael Jacobs predicts a legally-binding agreement at the Paris 2015 climate conference. read more »


    In the news  16 December, 2014

    Lima deal represents a fundamental change in global climate regime

    The agreement removes the longstanding division of the world into developed and developing countries and paves way for a model of unity. read more »

    In the news  2 December, 2014

    Emissions targets are biggest challenge for Lima climate talks

    Avoiding dangerous climate change depends on the strength of emissions reduction targets countries collectively adopt. And this remains a major concern read more »

    Michael Jacobs
    In the news  26 September, 2014

    Five ways Ban Ki-moon's summit has changed international climate politics forever

    Guardian, 26th September 2014: The UN climate summit in New York decided nothing – but it has helped put climate change back on the agenda


    Announcement  24 October, 2013

    Grantham Research Institute to speak at London Climate Forum

    Experts from the Grantham Research Institute at the LSE will be speaking at the London Climate Forum, one of the largest student-led conferences on climate change and sustainability. read more »

    Commentary  22 May, 2013

    Climate change is already occurring

    Financial Times – registration is required.

    Commentary  12 March, 2013

    Osborne's anti-green agenda is strangling growth, New Statesman,

    The government’s refusal to commit to a decarbonisation target is preventing the creation of tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs. The New Statesman

    Commentary  21 January, 2013

    Green social democracy

    We are living through not one but two crises of capitalism. The first one – the economic crisis which has followed the financial crash of 2008 – everyone knows about. … read more »


    Commentary  10 December, 2012

    The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth

    With time running out to tackle global warming, sustained global pressure must be put on governments to reach a deal in 2015 The Guardian

    Commentary  2 December, 2012

    A low-carbon future is the one we must all fight for

    Michael Jacobs: UN negotiations in Doha are just a sideshow. The real climate change battle is being staged elsewhere the Guardian

    Commentary  18 October, 2012

    Coalition's energy policy is even more confused than its 'lowest tariff' pledge

    Michael Jacobs: PM’s announcement was the latest mixed message from the government on energy – and we have a vital bill to come the Guardian

    In the news  24 January, 2012

    Fossil fuels: On the way back?

    Radio 4 (Today programme), This content is no longer available online.

    Commentary  12 January, 2012

    Deadline 2015 (PDF)

    A summit meeting of heads of government is needed to strengthen global ambition on climate change — we should start preparing now, says Michael Jacobs. Online article no longer available.


    Commentary  14 December, 2011

    What Durban revealed about climate's shifting allegiances

    Canada’s reversal on Kyoto won’t undermine the sense that the Durban climate conference achieved more than many expected. Inside Story

    Commentary  14 December, 2011

    Durban has given a major boost to climate policy

    United Nations climate change conferences don’t of themselves cut greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiations about targets and texts cannot do that; only government policies that give incentives and require business investment … read more »

    Commentary  11 December, 2011

    Hope at last at the Durban conference on climate change

    Michael Jacobs: The latest climate change conference will help to strengthen the fight against global warming the Guardian

    Commentary  1 December, 2011

    UN climate talks see 'delayer countries' throw away the 2C goal

    Michael Jacobs: The goal of holding global warming to 2C will be missed if the world’s largest economies insist on delaying negotiations the Guardian

    Commentary  29 November, 2011

    Can Durban deliver?

    These two weeks might turn out to be more interesting than expected, writes Michael Jacobs. The stakes are certainly high enough. Inside Story

    Commentary  18 July, 2011

    Labour could start a green industrial revolution

    Michael Jacobs: The coalition’s proposed electricity market reform is radical, but Labour could go further with a green growth strategy the Guardian

    Commentary  24 June, 2011

    An idea whose time has come

    Mainstream economics is beginning to recognise the opportunities alongside the climate threat, writes Michael Jacobs. Inside Times

    Announcement  16 May, 2011

    New background paper from Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on leveraging private investment and the role of public sector climate finance

    This Background Note focuses on how public finance and risk mitigation instruments can remove the barriers to private sector investment and thereby leverage significant amounts of private capital for climate change mitigation. Michael Jacobs|, Visiting Professor at the Grantham Research Institute, is co-author. read more »

    Commentary  28 April, 2011

    The China factor

    China’s Five Year Plan could turn out to be a turning point for global climate policy, writes Michael Jacobs. Inside Story

    Commentary  2 March, 2011

    Taking stock on climate

    As policy in Australia begins to move, Michael Jacobs surveys the international climate landscape: the latest science, the emissions targets and what’s happening on the ground. Inside Story


    Commentary  16 December, 2010

    Cancun: the glass half full

    Cancun will restore confidence among governments and business that action is going to occur, writes Michael Jacobs, and that makes progress more likely Inside Story

    Commentary  14 December, 2010

    Why Cancun gives us hope

    Michael Jacobs: This deal, easy to write off, is a crucial advance for the global co-operation needed to halt runaway climate change the Guardian

    Commentary  29 November, 2010

    Cancun climate talks: In search of the holy grail of climate change policy

    Michael Jacobs: Although Copenhagen fell short of delivering a legally binding global treaty, Cancun is another step towards that ultimate goal the Guardian

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    Public Lectures 18 Feb 2016

    VIDEO Public lecture | We'll always have Paris: COP21 and the new political economy of climate change

    Michael Jacobs explores both the causes and the consequences of the Paris Agreement in this LSE public lecture. read more »


    Policy Seminars 1 Nov 2011

    Decarbonising Britain

    Part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science The UK has an aggressive plan to decarbonise its economy by 34% in 2020, 50% in 2027 and 80% in 2050. This … read more »

    Public Lectures 17 Mar 2011

    Nicholas Stern - The Low-Carbon Industrial Revolution

    Part of LSE Works, a new series of public lectures, sponsored by SAGE publications, that will showcase some of the latest research by LSE’s Research Centres. Nicholas Stern provided an … read more »

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