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Dr Jo House

Dr Jo House

Dr Jo House
PhD, BSc hons

Reader in Environmental Science and Policy

Area of research

Land use change, climate change and climate policy.

Office 2.21n
University Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SS
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 8303


I am a Reader in Environmental Science and Policy, Research Lead of Cabot Institute for the Environment's Environmental Change theme, and Director of the Masters Programme in Climate Change Science and Policy at Bristol University.   My research is on land and climate interactions, including emissions of carbon dioxide from land use change (e.g. deforestation), climate mitigation potential from the land (e.g. afforestation, bioenergy), and implications of science for policy. A particular interest at the moment is ensuring the scientific credibility of monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions estimates and mitigation targets by countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The aim of my research is to provide a better evidence base for climate policy on climate mitigation targets and land-based mitigation options.

Recently seconded for a year to the Government Office for Science as Head of Climate Advice, I regularly give advice to the UK Government and other organisations such as the UK Committee on Climate Change (see here for our report on Bioenergy) and EU climate negotiators.  I am the founding co-chair of the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change;  a member of the Scottish Government Strategic Advisory BoardFor Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) (2019-present); and a Committee Member of the Climate Change Special Interest Group at the Royal Meteorological Society (2018-present)

I have been an Author for many reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which the authors shared the Nobel Prize in 2007.  Recently I was a Lead Author on the The Special Report on Climate Change and Land (2019), the 2019 Inventory Methods Refinement, and an an author on the upciming IPCC 6thAssessment Report (working group III, 2022). 

As an author of The New York Declaration on Forests Assessment Report (2019), I was deeply sadenned about the ongoing high rate of tropical deofrestation (26Mha each year, an area the size of the UK ), you can hear us discussing this and Amazon fires on BBC Costing the Earth.  Focusing on solutions, I was an author of the recent Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering Report on Greenhouse Gas Removal (Sept 2018)

One thing I really enjoyed doing was contributing to "Climate Change: A Ladybird Expert Book".   Accessible information on climate change is really important, and I always loved the Ladybird books when I was younger. The pictures are great - classic.

One thing that did fill me with fear was public speaking, but I think communicating science is really essential if we are to share knowledge we care about to make a difference, therefore I try to do it and to encourage colleagues and students to do it, and its usually actually OK in the end ... and sometimes even fun.  Here is a clip of me talking to BBC World News about the IPCC Report on 1.5 degrees (October 2018). I have aslo spoken on Sky News for their mini series "A New Climate", Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, BBC News24, BBC Radio Bristol, Ujimaa Radio Bristol, various newspapers in the UK and internationally, and here I am talking to BBC Inside Science about the June 2019 announcement to legislate net zero emissions in the UK and about science into policy. I really enjoy speaking to young people at the Youth Strikes and at the "Climate Question time" session run at the Unviersity, although hearing from young people often makes me sad - I just want to say that you do have a future, and that there is a lot we can do individually and collectively about climate change, we have a long way to go still, but things are changing.  I also speak at public events such as those organised by our local sicnece museum (We the Curious), local MPs, Extinction Rebellion, etc., however I can't do it all, so any colleagues/students reading this please think about doing some of this yourself.

Here is a short (7 min) Future Learn video Rachel Flecker and I made about climate change, and shorter interviews about climate modelling, and science and policy.

Here are some Guest Posts in Carbon Brief that cover some of my work.

Forests to provide a quarter of Paris Agreement’s pledged mitigation

How new EU rules could ‘hide’ climate impact of harvesting forests

Credible tracking of land-use emissions under the Paris Agreement

Why BECCS might not produce ‘negative’ emissions after all

Find me on twitter @Drjohouse 


Career Summary

Current positions:

Sept 2016       Reader of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Bristol, Department of Geographical Sciences, Director of MSc in Cliamte Change Science and Poilicy, Research Lead for Cabot Ististute of the Environment (Environmental Change Theme)                  

Past positions:

    LUC4C EU Project 

2015 - 2016     Government Office for Science,  Head of Climate Advice,

                         (1 yr NERC secondment, 70% time)

2015 - 2016     Senior Research Fellow, Uni Exeter, Department of Geograpy (part time),

2015 - 2016     Lecturer, University of Bristol (part time)

2011 - 2015     Leverhulme Fellow, University of Bristol

Jan-Sep 2011   IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit,

                         PIK, Potsdam, Germany

2004 - 2011     Science and Policy Officer, NERC-QUEST Programme,

                         University of Bristol

1999 - 2004     Senior Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry,

                         Jena, Germany

1996 - 1999     Research Scientist, King’s College London

1996                Visiting Scientist, NREL, Colorado State University, USA

1992 - 1996     Research Assistant, King’s College London

1991 - 1992     Visiting Scientist, King Mongkut’s Inst. for Science and Technol.,



Education and Academic Record

Jan 2011         PhD, Faculty of Science, Bristol University.

1988-1991      BSc (1st Hons) Human Environmental Science, Kings College,

                        Uni of London.


Evidence of Esteem/External Visibility

Co-Chair, Cabot: Global Change, Cabit Institute of the Environment, University of Bristol.

Member of the Scottish Government Strategic Advisory BoardFor Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS)(2019-present)

Committee Member of the Climate Change Special Interest Group at the Royal Meteorological Society (2018-present)

Head of Climate Advice, Government office for Sicence, UK Govenrment, senior secondment (2015-2016)

Lead Author on international scientific assessments: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - contributed to the last three Assessment Reports and to Working Group I Science, WG II Impacts, WG III Mitigation, also controbuted to the IPCC Greenhouse gas inventory good practice guidance methods. Currently Lead Author on three IPCC Reports - Special Report on Climate Change and Land, 2019 Inventory Refinement, 6th Assessment report; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (convening lead author; Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (2016).

UK Committee on Climate Change: Scientific Advisory Board on Bioenergy 

Author of joint Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering Report on Greenhouse Gas removal (published Sept 2018)

Chair, Global Carbon Project Working Group on Land Use Change (2010 – 2017) International expert group of data providers and modellers including non-academic sectors, estimating global emissions from land use change for the Annual Carbon Budget, improving data and methods.

Chair, International Evaluation Committee for the ERA-NET Co-fund for Monitoring & Mitigation of Greenhouse gases (The ERA-GAS consortium consists of 20 international partners including EU countries and New Zealand)

Editorial board Member, Environmental Research Letters (from 2015 - 2017)




  • Earth System science
  • global environmental change
  • climate change
  • environment
  • carbon cycle
  • land use change
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • forests
  • bioenergy
  • climate impacts
  • climate mitigation
  • climate policy

Selected publications

Read more >

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Dr House currently teaches 1 courses:

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