Personal profile

Research interests

I am a Reader in Environmental Science and Policy, Research Lead of Cabot Institute for the Environment's Environmental Change theme, and Director of the Masters Programme in Climate Change Science and Policy at Bristol University.   My research is on land and climate interactions, including emissions of carbon dioxide from land use change (e.g. deforestation), climate mitigation potential from the land (e.g. afforestation, bioenergy), and implications of science for policy. A particular interest at the moment is ensuring the scientific credibility of monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions estimates and mitigation targets by countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The aim of my research is to provide a better evidence base for climate policy on climate mitigation targets and land-based mitigation options.

Recently seconded for a year to the Government Office for Science as Head of Climate Advice, I regularly give advice to the UK Government and other organisations such as the UK Committee on Climate Change (see here for our report on Bioenergy) and EU climate negotiators.  I am the founding co-chair of the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change;  a member of the Scottish Government Strategic Advisory BoardFor Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) (2019-present); and a Committee Member of the Climate Change Special Interest Group at the Royal Meteorological Society (2018-present)

I have been an Author for many reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which the authors shared the Nobel Prize in 2007.  Recently I was a Lead Author on the The Special Report on Climate Change and Land (2019), the 2019 Inventory Methods Refinement, and an an author on the upciming IPCC 6thAssessment Report (working group III, 2022). 

As an author of The New York Declaration on Forests Assessment Report (2019), I was deeply sadenned about the ongoing high rate of tropical deofrestation (26Mha each year, an area the size of the UK ), you can hear us discussing this and Amazon fires on BBC Costing the Earth.  Focusing on solutions, I was an author of the recent Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering Report on Greenhouse Gas Removal (Sept 2018)

One thing I really enjoyed doing was contributing to "Climate Change: A Ladybird Expert Book".   Accessible information on climate change is really important, and I always loved the Ladybird books when I was younger. The pictures are great - classic.

One thing that did fill me with fear was public speaking, but I think communicating science is really essential if we are to share knowledge we care about to make a difference, therefore I try to do it and to encourage colleagues and students to do it, and its usually actually OK in the end ... and sometimes even fun.  Here is a clip of me talking to BBC World News about the IPCC Report on 1.5 degrees (October 2018). I have aslo spoken on Sky News for their mini series "A New Climate", Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, BBC News24, BBC Radio Bristol, Ujimaa Radio Bristol, various newspapers in the UK and internationally, and here I am talking to BBC Inside Science about the June 2019 announcement to legislate net zero emissions in the UK and about science into policy. I really enjoy speaking to young people at the Youth Strikes and at the "Climate Question time" session run at the Unviersity, although hearing from young people often makes me sad - I just want to say that you do have a future, and that there is a lot we can do individually and collectively about climate change, we have a long way to go still, but things are changing.  I also speak at public events such as those organised by our local sicnece museum (We the Curious), local MPs, Extinction Rebellion, etc., however I can't do it all, so any colleagues/students reading this please think about doing some of this yourself.

Here is a short (7 min) Future Learn video Rachel Flecker and I made about climate change, and shorter interviews about climate modelling, and science and policy.

Here are some Guest Posts in Carbon Brief that cover some of my work.

Forests to provide a quarter of Paris Agreement’s pledged mitigation

How new EU rules could ‘hide’ climate impact of harvesting forests

Credible tracking of land-use emissions under the Paris Agreement

Why BECCS might not produce ‘negative’ emissions after all

Find me on twitter @Drjohouse 

External positions

Co-Chair Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change

Oct 2019 → …

Head of Climate, Government Office of Science

1 Oct 201530 Sept 2016

Senior Research Fellow, University of Exeter

2015 → …

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • WUNclimate
  • Cabot Institute Low Carbon Energy Research
  • Cabot Institute Environmental Change Research
  • PolicyBristolGlobalPoliticalEconomy


  • climate, carbon, land use, deforestation, cliamte mitigation, climate policy,


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