Leo works on a variety of UK net-zero policy areas, including carbon pricing, just transition, the voluntary carbon market and decarbonisation of the land use sector. 


Leo has a background in environmental science and geography and completed a PhD in Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington in 2020. His thesis explored the role of carbon forestry, registered under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, as a land development option for Māori landowners. Subsequent to this, he was employed as a policy analyst at the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries on a work programme to develop an agricultural emissions pricing mechanism to support New Zealand farmers and growers to reduce emissions in line with statutory obligations. 

Research interests

  • Decarbonisation pathways for the UK land use sector
  • The voluntary carbon market
  • Nature and technology based greenhouse gas removal approaches and associated MRV frameworks
  • Distributional impacts of carbon pricing


Policy - 2024

Policy - 2023


News - 2024

News - 2023

News - 2022

A rumoured plan from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to dramatically restrict solar panels on farmland in the UK will not help food security – which is threatened far more by climate change – let alone energy security, and is at odds with the Government’s Net Zero Strategy. The UK should be seeking to invest and innovate in ‘Agri-PV’ schemes instead, writes Leo Mercer. Read more

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