Vivian Scott


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Personal profile

Research Interests

I work on climate change science and climate change mitigation policy.

My main focus is on understanding how the removal of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere might interact with the climate system. Often referred to as ‘negative emissions’, removal of carbon dioxide is widely suggested as a method to meet climate policy goals and limit severe and damaging climate change. This work is in the MERLiN project which is funded by the UK’s Greenhouse Gas Removal research programme. I am also co-leader of the international Carbon Dioxide Removal Model Intercomparison Project which undertakes multi-model experiments to understand climate change reversibility and consequences of carbon dioxide removal.

Alongside, I research and engage in climate and energy policy, with particular interest in the transition to low-carbon energy systems, the different successes of low-carbon energy technologies and approaches, and how policy and politics supports, shapes, or prevents progress towards decarbonisation.

More broadly, I am interested in the interactions between society, the carbon cycle and climate change, and the inter-generational responsibilities and feedbacks these generate. Working actively in policy development, I strongly feel that improving understanding and interaction between the research, political and public communities is hugely important to addressing climate change and other challenges of the modern world.



I studied Physics and Astronomy as an undergraduate, from which I went on to research models of the interaction between the ocean carbon cycle and atmosphere for my PhD (2010) as part of the NERC centre for Air-Sea Interaction and Fluxes.

I am currently on secondment (2020-) to the UK Commitee on Climate Change - working within their international team.  

My recent research (2017-2020) is in the MERLiN project funded by the UK Greenhouse Gas Removal research programme, assessing the effect of carbon dioxide removal on the climate system and the effectiveness of carbon dioxide removal to help limit climate change and climate change impacts.

Alongside (2019), I worked for the UK Committee on Climate Change on the advice to government on net-zero emissions targets.

I am co-leader of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Model Intercomparison Project (CDR-MIP), which seeks to understand the efficacy and climatic feedbacks of carbon dioxide remioval 'negative emissions' technologies and approaches.

2011-2017 I worked on carbon capture and storage (CCS) with the Scottish CCS research group  working on Scottish, UK and EU policy development.

In parallel, 2012-2015 I worked on assessing the potential to remove and isolate CO2 from the atmosphere in the Framework Programme 7 project European Trans-disciplinary Assessment of Climate Engineering.

In 2012, I took part in the Royal Society Parlimentary Pairing Scheme . This was an excellent opportunity to learn directly about the parliamentary process and communicate my research to a wider audiance. The Scheme has now been mirrored at the Stormont Assembly where I delivered an inaugural talk.

Outside work I enjoy exploring the magnificent Scottish highlands, borders and coastline and visting other remote landscapes.




I greatly enjoy teaching, and lecture to several MSc courses, including the highly rated Carbon Management MSc (campus and online), and supervise MSc dissertations.


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