UCL Home

UCL ISR Seminar Series: Unburnable carbon: Coaxing the capital markets towards a low-carbon future and away from the next financial crisis

17:30 - 19:00 23 January 2014

Location: Central House; Ground Level; 14 Upper Woburn Place, London. WC1H 0NN

unburnable carbon


James Leaton and Luke Sussams from Carbon Tracker 


Abstract: The ‘unburnable carbon’ thesis espoused in Carbon Tracker’s global analyses of 2012 and 2013 has reframed the energy-climate debate using this argument, giving new impetus to challenging high carbon investment.

The first report calculated that if governments are to keep global warming below the danger threshold of 2°C, then 80% of the coal, oil and gas reserves of public companies would need to stay in the ground. The second found that over the next decade, $6trillion will be spent by listed fossil-fuel companies to chase more, potentially strandable, reserves.

Mark and Luke will outline Carbon Tracker’s latest research around unburnable carbon risk, the market signals pointing towards potential high-carbon asset stranding and what changes are necessary to redirect this capital to finance a high- to low-carbon transition.

Biography: James has ten years sustainability experience across responsible investment, NGO policy and private sector consultancy. James was a senior policy advisor at WWF-UK focusing on the oil and gas sector and related finance. He co-ordinated the successful Sakhalin II campaign which prevented the oil and gas project receiving project finance. His strategic thinking initiated WWF’s work on the tarsands in Canada which was subsequently adopted as a campaign by the Co-operative Bank and other NGOs. James brings project management skills from his time as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Luke Sussams is a researcher at Carbon Tracker. Luke has responsibility for report research and analytics, lead authoring Carbon Tracker’s Australia and Brazil reports, whilst co-authoring the global analysis Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets. Luke has lectured on the climate change foundation course at Oxford University’s Smith School and presented Carbon Tracker’s research to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is a member of the advisory group to the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s report series on Unextractable Carbon. Luke brings climate change and environmental policy expertise from the Environmental Technology MSc at Imperial College London and a BSc in Geography.

The seminar will start promptly at 5.30pm, please make sure you arrive in plenty of time.

The talk will be followed by Q & A session and a networking reception with drinks and nibbles.