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Global Systems Institute

Addressing the New Denialism

Addressing the New Denialism is a research and public engagement project backed by the Open Society Foundations that aims to expose the gap between current investment in climate finance and the projected costs of climate change (and importantly, where and on whom those costs fall). We hope to inform policy on how to adequately resource transition in a manner that supports the advancement of racial equity.

2020-2070 human habitabilty

Key Outputs

Quantifying the human cost of global warming 
Nature Sustainability 22 May 2023

Our study on projected movement in the human climate niche locates the origins of delayism in historic usage of the climate and economic model and puts forward a bold new approach for quantifying the human cost of global warming that could drive a sea-change in policy and justice.

This paper has been extensively covered in the global media as summarised by Altmetric here.

Behind the Paper: Against Apartheid

The animation below by Globaia shows parts of the world where the mean annual temperature will be above 29C – dangerously hot for humans – at 1.5C of global warming, then at 2.7C warming. It also combines 2.7C warming with “human presence” revealing the densely populated areas that could be affected. More visuals by Globaia illustrating our human climate niche work are available here

Exhibition: Against Apartheid

This exhibition, presented by KARST in partnership with Radical Ecology and the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter responds to new findings from the leading edge of earth systems science into projected movement in the human climate niche and features artists and activists including Sylvie Glissant, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Khaled Jarrar, Sue Williamson, Alarm Phone, Annalee Davis, Otis Mensah, Kedisha Coakley, Iman Datoo and Ashanti Hare.

Against Apartheid will be on view at KARST until 2nd December 2023 5pm.

Open City

Open City is a season of decolonial art and public programming presented by Radical Ecology and partners through the autumn of 2023 that invites artists, activists and thinkers from across south-west England to listen, walk and dream together as we explore the essential role of inclusive civic spaces in creating just and sustainable planetary futures here and now. 


Plotting against the plantation: keynote by Annalee Davis

A speech from Barbadian visual artist, cultural activist and writer Annalee Davis
28 September 2023 Roland Levinsky Lecture Theatre, 4:45-5:45pm

Artist Panel: Against Apartheid

A panel discussion with the curator and artists from the exhibition Against Apartheid.
28 September 2023 KARST, 22 George Place Stonehouse PL1 3NY, 7:30-8:00pm


A monthly webinar series hosted by the Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter in partnership with Serpentine’s Back To Earth.

From the climate investment trap to the trouble with Net Zero, insights from thinkers and policy-makers will shed light on leading efforts to work towards just and balanced futures in the face of ecological breakdown. The series is part of an ongoing GSI programme, to address flaws in the dominant paradigm for climate action and establish new ones built on principles of racial equity and sustainability.

Towards COP27: Addressing Climate, Cost and Vulnerability

This webinar kicked off the Equilibrium series. It shines a light on flaws in the dominant paradigm of climate finance acknowledging that, since Paris, financial flows have failed to match requirements needed to limit global warming to 1.5˚C, and pointing towards mechanisms fit to the task in the decade ahead.

Dr Nadia Ameli is a Principal Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources at UCL and will speak to a climate investment trap that penalises vulnerability and obstructs global efforts towards decarbonisation. Professor Tim Lenton is Director of the Global System Institute, University of Exeter, and will report on projected movement in the human climate niche and implications for climate, cost and vulnerability.

Professor Mizan Khan is Deputy Director of ICCCAD and has been lead climate finance negotiator for Bangladesh since 2001. He will speak to the urgency of new financial mechanisms that can address loss and damage as well as mitigation and adaptation.

A New Framework for Climate Finance: where grants, concessionary loans and the private sector fit in and where they do not

Barbados PM Mia Mottley garnered international headlines with her compelling calls for climate justice at COP26, where she also outlined a vision for new climate finance mechanisms that can break the impasse around global funding for mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage. Drawing on his own decades of experience in the international banking sector, Mottley’s key advisor on climate finance, Avinash Persaud, will shed light on the substance of Barbados’s proposals and the key challenges now in the way of their timely realisation.


Avinash Persaud is special envoy to the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley, former chairman of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy, and emeritus professor at Gresham College in the UK. His career spreads across finance, academia and public policy, including positions as a former senior executive of J.P. Morgan, UBS, State Street and GAM London Ltd, and former chairman of Elara Capital PLC and RBC Barbados. He is a non-executive director of Proven Investments Limited.

On Intergenerational Inequities 

Participants include Professor Wim Thiery, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Stephen Mutiso, Regional Food Security and Livelihoods Adviser, East and Southern Africa for Save the Children UK and Eva Peace Mukiyaranga, an environmentalist, climate finance negotiator [for Rwanda] in the UNFCCC, and member of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition (LDYC).

Perspectives on Reparation for Loss and Damage

As both carbon emissions and global atmospheric temperatures continue to rise, loss and damage from anthropogenic climate change is now estimated to exceed a cost of $150 billion per year. This is an economic and human reality that to-date remains unmet and that sees its worst impacts concentrated against the lives and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people, above all in the global south. Chair of the Expert Advisory Group of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Professor Saleem Huq, will speak to the latest developments to advance conversations around loss and damage within the UNFCCC. Drawing on fieldwork in the USA and Namibia, Forensic Architecture’s Imani Jacqueline Brown will discuss the broader problems involved in addressing reparation for historical environmental damage.

This public gathering brought together interdisciplinary artists, campaigners and thinkers to address questions of environmental justice and the role of culture in creating it. 

Contributions from The Ella Roberta Family Foundation highlighted issues of urban air pollution and risks to public health whilst contributions from the Stop Ecocide Foundation will frame this problem within the context of the international conversation around ecocide. 

Conversations led by the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development [in Dhaka] spoke to the role of new frameworks for climate finance in imagining new futures, whilst those led by Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network will draw out connections between climate displacement on a global scale and racial inequity within the context of contemporary Britain. 

The programme also featured a tapestry of creative interventions across forms including music, movement and performance-lecture. These point to the crucial role of the artist, in an era of ecological crisis and imbalance, of embodying alternative ways of knowing and intuiting new pathways towards equilibrium. 

Participants included artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainyte and Lina Lapelyte, social entrepreneur Hilary Cottam, visual artist Kiluanji Kia Henda, activist Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, sociologist William Lez Henry, climate scientist Saleemul Huq, novelist Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, case worker Hera Lorandos, musical performer Love Ssega, Stop Ecocide co-founder Jojo Mehta, environmentalist Eva Peace Mukayiranga, economist Avinash Persaud, legal practitioner Philippe Sands, artist and dancer SERAFINE1369, photographer Sarah Stirk, and evening performances by Isobella Burnham and Romarna Campbell, in partnership with jazz educators Tomorrow’s Warriors.

Project team

Ashish Ghadiali is a strategic consultant on climate justice at the Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter. He is also co-chair of the Black Atlantic Innovation Network at UCL’s Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the study of racism and racialisation and a founding partner of Radical Ecology.

Tim Lenton is founding Director of the Global Systems Institute and Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter. His research is focused on modelling life’s coupling to the Earth system, biogeochemical cycling, climate dynamics, and associated tipping points. He co-authored the Planetary Boundaries framework and is an expert in ‘whole systems’ thinking.

Jesse Abrams works on understanding and quantifying human induced change on the natural environment. His research has stretched across multiple disciplines including, but not limited to, climate, biodiversity, conservation, geoengineering, and pollution.




For further information on the project, please contact