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Tipping points

Our Positive Tipping Points are bringing change to the climate crisis

Our research at the University of Exeter highlights the growing threat of “tipping points” that could accelerate the climate crisis.

Exeter researchers are also identifying sources of hope: Positive Tipping Points. We have identified Positive Tipping Points in a range of areas – from agriculture and ecosystem regeneration to politics and public opinion. Some Positive Tipping Points are already in progress. Others are yet to be triggered. Understanding these areas and working to identify the opportunities could allow us to activate Tipping Points that could combine into cascades of positive change.

Our Tipping Points are creating positive change.

Discover how our vital research is helping combat the climate crisis.

In focus

Hope in the fight against climate change

We have left it too late to tackle climate change incrementally. It now requires transformational change, and a dramatic acceleration of progress.

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"Just as Tipping Points are part of the greatest threat we face – the same logic may also provide the solution. At the University of Exeter, we have identified a variety of Positive Tipping Points in human societies that can propel rapid decarbonisation. This concept could unlock the stalemate – the sense that there's nothing we can do about climate change."

Professor Tim Lenton
Director of the Global Systems Institute

Triggering Positive Tipping Points in power generation

In the UK, power generation from coal has dropped to almost nothing within the last five years.

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Triggering Positive Tipping Points to regenerate ecosystems

Human activity is putting unprecedented pressure on the natural world.

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Positive Tipping Points accelerate electric vehicle revolution

Electric vehicles (EVs) are better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars.

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Research talent spotlight

Tim Lenton

Professor Tim Lenton

Director, Global Systems Institute 


My research focuses on understanding the behaviour of the Earth as a whole system, the complex web of biological, geochemical and physical processes that shape the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans, as well as the climate of the Earth. I am particularly interested in how life has reshaped the planet in the past and what lessons we can draw from this as we proceed to reshape the planet now. My work identifying tipping points in the climate system has led me on to examine positive tipping points within our social systems which could help accelerate progress towards a sustainable future.