Research Strategy

  The Fudan Tyndall Centre’s strategy will build on four complementary themes. There are many interactions and connections between these four research themes, with risks, tradeoffs, and opportunities all to be considered as various mitigation and adaptation strategies are assessed.


Energy and Emissions
The challenges of developing a low carbon economy will grow worldwide as climate change becomes more severe, and as the demand for more energy grows in China and other rapidly growing economies. The Tyndall Centre has produced reports on Decarbonising the UK and China’s Energy Transition, but China’s rapid development demands continuing analysis. It is important to identify policy pathways for energy generation and use in China which are consistent with economic development which is appropriate for the country, and which assist the efforts to improve the How do mitigation policies and actions impact on national energy security, energy availability and economic growth? What policies deliver the best results? 
  • What are the processes influencing urban and regional air quality, and its impact on human health. What are the co-benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for air quality and health in China? What are the interactions with the effect of climate change and associated weather episodes on human health? 
  • What are the technological and social changes needed for a low carbon future? What are the barriers to, and the potential for, technological and behavioural change and how do they inter-relate? How do government and business conduct the most effective dialogue? What is the best rapid emission reduction pathway for China? How can China best position itself in the future global low carbon economy?
  • What are the lessons from China’s recent rapid uptake of existing and new technologies for the future diffusion of low carbon technologies and practices nationally and worldwide?
  • How can the reliability of regional greenhouse gas emission data be improved for the benefit of researchers and policy makers?
  •  Do geo-engineering options have advantages for China?
  • What are the most promising long-term new technologies for low carbon materials and feedstocks?


Cities and Coasts
China is experiencing an astonishing rate of urbanisation. This is rapidly changing the pattern of energy use and, if taken proper advantage of – in an integrated way – can be exploited for lower carbon ways of using energy in the complex urban systems. If advantage is not taken, China will be locked into higher carbon emissions for many decades.
Much of China’s urbanisation has taken place in coastal cities. Coastal cities, including some of China’s most important ports are vulnerable to inevitable rising sea-level. 
The Fudan Tyndall Centre will help provide scientific information to enable citizens of Chinese cities and coasts to be resilient to climate change impacts, to emit less pollution, and reduce emissions whilst enhancing economies. The health and well-being of urban dwellers will be directly influenced by the decisions made on the basis of this information. The fine Chinese tradition of gardens and natural areas for contemplation and exercise can be built on through a holistic consideration of land use in urban areas. Such a joined-up approach is also vital to ensure that significant conflicts between sustainability and economic prosperity are avoided.
Coastal management in the face of climate change and sea-level rise embraces not only urban areas, but also non-urban areas, including important wetlands, low-lying reserves and the aquaculture industry. These aspects of coastal management in the face of climate change will also be considered by the Fudan Tyndall Centre.
  • How will global change impact and interact with urban and coastal environments in China?
  • How can cities grow while reducing their carbon emissions?
  • Can China avoid locking itself into decades of relatively high emissions in the city environment by adopting low emission city-scale infrastructure design in its growing urban environment and the best low carbon construction and operating techniques for its buildings?
  • How can China best utilise city-scale land use planning to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change?
  • How can water quality and human security be improved in China’s growing cities, and reductions in vulnerability to extreme climate and pollution events be achieved?
  • What are the most effective policies to encourage resilient city design and reduce the vulnerability of people and coastlines to climate and environmental change?
Water and Land
The availability, use and governance of water, ecosystems, and land-based resources and the way in which climate change affects them and gets affected in return is of crucial importance to China. Severe climate-related events have led to serious episodes of drought and flood in China in recent years, with the prospect of there being increasing impacts on water quality, agricultural production and biodiversity. China’s rapid economic growth can provide additional pressures. The very large size of the country, with its varied regional climates and landscapes, can help the country cope with, and help mitigate climate change (e.g. through the successful afforestation programme), if the governance of the nation’s land and water resource is considered in an integrated way.
The Fudan Tyndall Centre will attempt to determine the barriers and suggest policy solutions for the security of water and food supply, as well as energy and the well-being and health of people. It is becoming increasingly clear that there are a series of connections between water, food and energy which need to be analysed and understood if the national trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation policies are to be identified. The Fudan Tyndall Centre, collaborating with other research institutions in China, will build a China Community Integrated Assessment System to help assess these related issues and policies.
  • How can the existing Chinese philosophy of the circular economy serve to help ensure optimal security of supply in water, food, and energy in the face of climate change and other environmental pressures.
  • What are the implications of a growing bioenergy sector have for land use policy and food security.
  • How can China’s vast geographical size and varied landscapes be exploited to balance out the regional and sub-regional threats and future changes for the whole nation?  What is the most effective way for China to use its natural landscapes for carbon sequestration?
  • How can the risks to human security from increasing pressures on water and land be reduced, so they do not damage China’s economic growth?
  • Can the prospects for the protection and enhancement of China’s biodiversity be improved by understanding the full value of ecosystem services?
  • How do policy, economic development, population growth and redistribution, and local opinion influence the drivers and impacts of land use change?


Governance and Behaviour
China has a unique governance system which could give it a considerable advantage in rising to the challenge of global climate and other environmental change. With the right national, provincial and city-level policies, China could take a world leadership role in responding to global climate and environmental change. The rising power of the Chinese consumer, and the nation’s desire for its less advantaged citizens to share more of the benefits of its growing economic prosperity, provides a fertile opportunity for emerging thinking in psychology, political science, sociology, human geography and communication to produce new insights and information for policy decisions in the country. Behavioural change and public will play an important part in the successful implementation of mitigation and adaptation policies. The Fudan Tyndall Centre will utilise the University’s capabilities in public policy research, social sciences, and communication in order to identify promising triggers for new policies, and the better linking-up of policies so that they work in sympathy together, rather than in opposition.
  • What are the options and implications of various levels of engagement by China in international climate agreements?  
  • How can China best take advantage of other countries’ policy experiences in climate change and environmental change? How can policies be joined up more effectively?
  • How can scientific advice be best tuned to be most helpful to policy makers?
  • How can China best contribute to the success of international policy mechanisms such as REDD?
  • What are the policy implications of simultaneously improving air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
  • What will be the most effective policies for encouraging the more efficient use of energy? How does public perception and attitude play out in China?
  • What public and individual actions and changes will be most effective? Can the risks of climate change be communicated more effectively?
  • What is the role of business in encouraging effective action against climate and other environmental change?