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Professor Mike Hulme, BSc PhD

Professor Mike Hulme, BSc PhD

Professor of Human Geography and Fellow and Geography Director of Studies at Pembroke College

Mike studies the cultural and epistemic construction of the idea of climate change, and its discursive and material effects, drawing upon scientific, social scientific and humanities insight.

Biography

I joined the Department at Cambridge in September 2017, following a period of four years as professor of climate and culture in the Department of Geography at King's College London where I was Head of Department. From 2000 to 2007 I was the Founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, a multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary research centre based at the University of East Anglia (UEA). For 12 years prior to establishing the Tyndall Centre, I worked in the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at UEA and had the dubious honour of having five years' worth of professional email correspondence released to public scrutiny as a result of the Climategate controversy. While working in CRU, I specialised in the compilation and analysis of global climate datasets and the construction and application of climate change scenarios for impact, adaptation and integrated assessment. I led the preparation of a series of climate scenarios and reports for the UK Government and in 2007 received a personalised certificate from the Nobel Peace Prize committee in recognition of my 'significant contribution' to the work of the United Nations' IPCC. Since 2008 I have been the founding Editor-in-Chief of the review journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Climate Change, with a Citescore (2019) of 12.4.

An extended narrative of my research career, impacts and influence to 2011 can be found online. My personal website is www.mikehulme.org.

Career

  • 1984-1988: University of Salford
  • 1986: University of Zimbabwe
  • 1988-2013: University of East Anglia
  • 2013-2017: King's College London

Qualifications

  • BSc, University of Durham
  • PhD, University of Wales, Swansea

Research

I study the numerous ways in which the idea of climate-change is constructed and deployed in public, political and scientific discourse, exploring both its historical, cultural and scientific origins and its contemporary meanings. My work has appeared in academic journals in the sciences, social sciences and humanities and has profoundly shaped the way in which the idea of climate-change is being studied, communicated and mobilised, in both the academy and public life. I draw inspiration from fields such as geographies of science, STS, environmental history and political ecology, but my research can be understood as defining a new field of critical climate anthropology. I am co-PI on a Leverhulme Major Grant 'Making Climate History' and I am completing a monograph on 'Climate Change' for the Routledge Series Key Ideas in Geography.

My most recent published book is Contemporary Climate Change Debates: A Student Primer (Routledge, 2020), which presents 15 important debates raised by climate change and addressed by pairs of leading scholars from around the world. Among my other books are Weathered: A Cultural Geography of Climate (SAGE, 2017), which explores how different cultures around the world make sense of their weather and climate, Can Science Fix Climate Change? A Case Against Climate Engineering (Polity Press, 2014) and Why We Disagree About Climate Change (CUP, 2009). This latter was chosen by The Economist magazine as one of its science and technology books of the year and has become one of the standard university texts worldwide for social science and humanities students studying climate change. It was selected by Cambridge University Press in November 2015 as one of CUP's top 20 most influential books of all time, 'influencing policy-making, contributing to social change and altering intellectual landscapes'.

PhD and MPhil thesis supervision

I welcome approaches from prospective PhD and MPhil students interested in researching under my supervision topics related to the following broad fields. Feel free to contact me with your suggested topics of research.

  • the relationships between climate, history, society and culture
  • the construction of cultural and scientific knowledge of climate and its changes
  • the politics and ethics of climate engineering
  • the public meanings and representations of the idea of climate change

I am currently supervising these four doctoral students:

  • Noam Obermeister (since October 2018; ESRC-funded): "What and how do experts learn from their encounters with the policy world? The case of environmental expert advice in the UK"
  • Maximilian Hepach (since October 2018; AHRC and Cambridge Trust-funded): "Is climate real? Developing a realist phenomenology of climate"
  • David Durand-Delacre (since October 2018; Cambridge Trust-funded): "The making of the 'climate migrant': an analysis of a circulating label in French public discourse"
  • Friederike Hartz (since October 2020; funded by AHRC and Pembroke College): "The epistemic and political effectiveness of facts about climate 'Loss and Damage' in transnational settings"

A list of previously supervised PhD students and topics is available here.

Publications

[Publications will show automatically from the University's publication database.]

Teaching

  • Course Director for MPhil in Anthropocene Studies
  • Director of Studies for Geography in Pembroke College

External activities

  • Editor-in-Chief, WIREs Climate Change (since 2009)
  • Editorial Board member for: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (since 2013), GAIA (since 2014), Environmental Science and Policy (since 2011).
  • Advisory Board of ENHANCE, EU-funded training network in Environmental Humanities (2015-2019)
  • Head of Geography Department, King's College London (2016-2017)
  • Advisory Board of ECOPAS Project, EU FP7 (2012-2017)
  • Advisor to the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group (2015-2016)
  • Chair, Advisory Board for STEPS Centre, University of Sussex (2010-2016)
  • Rachel Carson Fellow, LMU Münich (2014)
  • Review Panel Member for European Research Council (2008-2012)
  • Commissioning Panel member for AHRC's Environmental Narratives Programme (2010-2011)
  • Scientific Advisory Board member for UK Climate Impacts Programme (2007-2011)
  • Advisor for London Science Museum Climate Change Exhibition (2009-2011)
  • Science Advisor (climate change) for the British Council (2007-2010)
  • Personalised certificate for 'contributing significantly' to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)