Paul Ekins is Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Resources, and Director of Research at the School of Sustainable Resources and Energy at University College London. He has a PHD in economics.

Paul Ekins has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of London and is Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy and Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London. From 2004-2019 he was a Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre. He was a Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution from 2002-2008. He also has extensive experience consulting for business, government and international organizations.

From 2011-2014 he was a Member of the European Resource Efficiency Platform and Vice-Chair of the then European Environment Commissioner’s Expert Economists’ Group on resource efficiency. He was a Co-Chair of UNEP’s sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6), which was presented to the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi in March 2019. He has been a member of UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP) since 2013, and was the lead author of the IRP’s report on resource efficiency (commissioned by the G7 governments and presented in Japan in 2016), and a co-author of the report on mineral resource governance (published in 2020). He is currently leading on an IRP report on Financing the Extracting of Minerals for Sustainable Development.

Paul Ekins’ academic work, published in numerous books, articles and scientific papers, focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy. His book Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability: The Prospects for Green Growth appeared in 2000.

Since 2008 he has edited or co-edited 12 books including Understanding the Costs of Environmental Regulation in Europe (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2009), Trade, Globalization, and Sustainability Impact Assessment: A Critical Look at Methods and Outcomes (Earthscan, London, 2009), Carbon-Energy Taxation: Lessons from Europe (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009), Hydrogen Energy: Economic and Social Challenges (Earthscan, London, 2010), Energy 2050: the Transition to a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy System for the UK (Earthscan, London, 2011); Environmental Tax Reform: A Policy for Green Growth (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011); and Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015).

In 1994 Paul Ekins received UNEP’s Global 500 Award ‘for outstanding environmental achievement’. In the UK New Year’s Honours List for 2015 he received an OBE for services to environmental policy.

Selected publications

Chapters of books

Ekins, P. and Usubiaga, A., (2019) ‘Brundtland+30: The Continuing Need for an Indicator of Environmental Sustainability’. Ch.6 in Meadowcroft, J., Banister, D., Holden, E., Langhelle, O., Linnerud, K. and Gilpin, G. Eds. 2019 What Next for Sustainable Development?, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp.96-119

Hughes, N. and Ekins, P. (2018). ‘The role of policy in unlocking the potential of resource efficiency investments. Ch.12 in Flachenecker, F. and Rentschler, J, Eds. 2018 The Economics and Political Economy of Resource Efficiency Investments, Springer, pp.247-282

Ekins, P. & Hughes, N.), (2017) ‘National Government’ (Ch.13 in From Waste to Resource Productivity: Evidence and Case Studies, Report of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Government Office for Science, London, pp.171-186, https://www. /uploads /system/ uploads/ attachment_data /file/ 667480/ from-waste-to- resource-productivity -evidence-case- studies.pdf

Ekins, P., Drummond, P. and Watson, J. in Matyas, L., Blundell, R., Cantillon, E., Chizzolini, B., Ivaldi. M., Leininger, W., Marimon, R. and Steen. F.  (2017) ‘Economic Approaches to Energy, Environment and Sustainability’. Ch.7 Eds. 2017 Economics without Borders: Economic Research for European Policy Challenges, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp.274-323

Paul Ekins in Victor, P. and Dolter, B. Eds (2017). ‘Ecological Modernisation: Prospects and Potential’, Ch.6. 2017 Handbook of Growth and Sustainability, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp.107-137

McGlade, C., Dessens, O., Anandarajah, G. and Ekins, P. (2015) ‘Global scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions reduction’. Ch.24 in Ekins, P., Bradshaw, M. and Watson, J. Eds. 2015 Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp.499-524

Ekins Paul in Atkinson, G., Dietz, S., Neumayer, E. and Agarwala (2014) ‘Strong Sustainability and Critical Natural Capital’, Handbook of Sustainable Development, 2nd edition, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp.55-71

Paul Ekins, Bernd Meyer, Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek and Friedrich Schneider in Angrick, M., Burger, A. and Lehmann, H. (2014). ‘Reducing Resource Consumption: a proposal for Resource and Environmental Policy’ Eds. 2014 Factor X: Policy, Strategies and Instruments for a Sustainable Resource Use, Springer, pp.249-273

UNU-IHDP and UNEP (2012). ‘Safeguarding the Future of the Wealth of Nature: Sustainability, Substitutability, Measurement, Thresholds and Aggregation Issues in Natural Capital Accounting for Human Well-Being’, Chapter  11 in UNU-IHDP and UNEP 2012 The Inclusive Wealth Report: Measuring Progress Towards Sustainability, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 231-266,

Ekins, P. R., Welfens, P. & Xiang Zhang, Z. (2011) ‘System Innovation for Environmental Sustainability: Concepts, Policies and Political Economy’ in Bleischwitz, (Eds.) International Economics of Resource Efficiency: Eco-Innovation Policies for a Green Economy, Physica-Verlag (Springer), Heidelberg, pp.51-88

Anandarajah, G., Ekins, P. & Strachan, N., (2011), ‘Pathways to a low carbon future’. Ch.5 in Skea, J., Ekins, P. & Winskel, M. (Eds.) 2011 Energy 2050: the Transition to a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy System for the UK, Earthscan, London, pp.105-144

Ekins P, Salmons R. ‘Making Reform Happen in Environmental Policy’ (2010), Ch.5 in OECD 2010 Making Reform Happen: Lessons from OECD Countries, OECD, Paris, pp.129-158

Articles and papers

Ekins, P., Domenech, T., Drummond, P., Bleischwitz, R., Hughes, N. and Lotti, L. (2020) ‘The Circular Economy: What, Why, How and Where?’, OECD, Paris,

Elias T. Ayuk, Antonio M. Pedro, Paul Ekins et al. (2020) Mineral Resource Governance in the 21st Century: Gearing the Extractive Industries towards Sustainable Development, a report from the International Resource Panel, UNEP, Nairobi. 

Ekins, P., Milligan, B.and Usubiaga-Liano, A. (2020) ‘A single indicator of strong sustainability for development: theoretical basis and practical implementation’ ,Agence Française de Développement, Paris.

Nick Watts, Paul Ekins et al. (2019). ‘The 2019 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: ensuring that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate’, The Lancet’ November, https: // www. /journals/ lancet /article /PIIS0140-6736 (19) 32596 -6/ fulltext

Matthew Winning, James Price, Paul Ekins, Steve Pye, James Glynn, Jim Watson & Christophe McGlade. (2019) ‘Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and the costs of delayed action’, Climate Policy,

Arkaitz Usubiaga-Liaño, Georgina Mace, and Paul Ekins (2019) ‘Limits to agricultural land for retaining acceptable levels of local biodiversity’ , Nature Sustainability,

Ekins, P. and Gupta, J. (2019) ‘Perspective: a healthy planet for healthy people’, Global Sustainability. DOI:

Gupta, J., Hurley, F., Grobicki, A., Keating, T., Stoett, P., Baker, E., Guhl, A., Davies, J. and Ekins, P. (2019) ‘Communicating the health of the planet and its links to human health’, Lancet Planetary Health, published online March 12,

Oberle, B., Ekins, P. et al. (2019). IRP (International Resource Panel) 2019 Global Resources Outlook 2019: Natural Resources for the Future We Want, a Report of the International Resource Panel, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya

Tukker, A. and Ekins, P. (2019) ‘Concepts fostering resource efficiency: a trade-off between ambitions and viability’ (Ecological Economics, Special Issue on the POLFREE project, Vol.155, pp.36-45,

Iain Staffell, Scamman, D., Velazquez Abad, A., Balcombe, P., Dodds, P., Ekins, P., Shah, N. and Ward. K. (2019) ‘The role of hydrogen and fuel cells in the global energy system’, Energy and Environmental Science, Vol.12, pp. 463-491,

Elias T. Ayuk, Antonio M. Pedro, Paul Ekins et al. (2018). Mineral Resource Governance in the 21st Century: Gearing the Extractive Industries towards Sustainable Development, Summary for Policymakers and Business Leaders, International Resource Panel, UNEP, Nairobi.

Castagneto-Gissey, G., Grubb, M., Staffell, I., Agnolucci, P. & Ekins, P. (2018) ‘Wholesale cost reflectivity of GB and European electricity prices’ (a project commissioned by Ofgem, September, Ofgem, London,

Ekins, P. et al. (2018) ‘Final Report of the High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative’, European Commission, November, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg

Nico Bauer, Christophe McGlade, Jérôme Hilaire, Paul Ekins. (2018) ‘Divestment prevails over the green paradox when anticipating strong future climate policies’, Nature Climate Change, Vol.8 pp.130-134, doi:10.1038/s41558-017-0053-1

Nick Watts, Paul Ekins et al. (2018) ‘The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health’, The Lancet, Vol. 39, Issue 10120, February 10, pp.581-630,

McGlade, C., Pye, S., Ekins, P., Bradshaw, M. and Watson, J. (2017) ‘The future role of natural gas in the UK: A bridge to nowhere?’, Energy Policy, Vol.113, pp.454-465,

Antonio Pedro, Elias T. Ayuk, Christina Bodouroglou, Ben Milligan, Paul Ekins and Bruno Oberle (2017) ‘Towards a sustainable development licence to operate for the extractive sector’, Mineral Economics, May, DOI 10.1007/s13563-017-0108-9

Paul Ekins and Nick Hughes, with Bringezu, S., Arden Clarke, C., Fischer-Kowalski, M., Graedel, T., Hajer, M., Hashimoto, S., Hatfield-Dodds, S., Havlik, P., Hertwich, E., Ingram, J., Kruit, K., Milligan, B., Moriguchi, Y., Nasr, N., Newth, D., Obersteiner, M., Ramaswami, A., Schandl, H., Suh, S., Swilling, M., van der Voet, E., Walsh, B., West J. and Henk Westhoek. (2017) Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications, UNEP International Resource Panel, UNEP, Nairobi.

Nick Watts, Paul Ekins et al. (2017) ‘The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change’, The Lancet, Vol. 389, Issue 10074, 18–24 March, pp.1151–1164

van Ewijk, S., Stegemann, J. and Ekins, P. (2017) ‘Global life cycle paper flows, recycling metrics, and material efficiency’, Journal of Industrial Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12613

Baltazar Solano RodriguezPaul Drummond & Paul Ekins. (2017) ‘Decarbonizing the EU energy system by 2050: an important role for BECCS’, Climate Policy, Special Issue: Policy instruments for low-carbon development based on work from the EUFP7 project, CECILIA 2050, Vol.17 Issue S1, pp.S93-S110, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2016.1242058

Stephen Peake & Paul Ekins, (2016) ‘Exploring the financial and investment implications of the Paris Agreement’, Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2016.1258633

Terama, E., Milligan, B., Jiménez-Aybar, R., Mace, G. and Ekins, P. (2016) ‘Accounting for the environment as an economic asset: global progress and realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, Sustainability Science, Vol.11, Issue 6, pp.945-950, doi 10.1007/s11625-015-0350-4

Fischer-Kowalski, M., Dittrich, M., Eisenmenger, N. Acknowledgements: Ekins, P., Fulton, J., Kastner, T., Hosking, K., Schandl, H., West, J. and Wiedmann, T., (2015) ‘International Trade in Resources: A biophysical assessment’, International Resource Panel, UNEP, Nairobi

McGlade, C. and Ekins, P. (2015) ‘The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2oC’, Nature, pp.187-190

Dodds, P. Ekins, P. (2014). ‘A portfolio of powertrains for the UK: An energy systems analysis’, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol.39, pp.13941-13953

McGlade, C. and Ekins, P. (2014) ‘Unburn-able oil: an examination of oil resource utilisation in a decarbonised energy system’, Energy Policy, Vol.64, January, pp.102-112,

McDowall W., Ekins P., Radosevic S., Zhang L. (2013) ‘The development of wind power in China, Europe and the USA: how have policies and innovation system activities co-evolved?’, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp.163–185,

Ekins P. (2012) ‘Policies for low-carbon ‘green’ growth’, December, Environmental Scientist, pp.29-35

Ekins P. (2012) ‘Sustainable Growth Revisited: Technology, Economics and Policy’, special section in Mineral Economics, entitled ‘Resources, Energy and Eco-Innovation’, Vol. 24, No.2-3, June, DOI 10.1007/s13563-011-0013-6, pp.59-77

Ekins P., Pollitt H., Summerton P., Chewpreecha U. (2011) ‘Increasing Carbon and Material Productivity through Environmental Tax Reform’, Energy Policy, Vol.42 (March), pp.365-376,

Ekins P. (2011) ‘Environmental Sustainability: From Environmental Valuation to the Sustainability Gap’, Progress in Physical Geography, Vol.35 No.5 (October), pp. 633-656

Kesicki F., Ekins P. (2011) ‘Marginal Abatement Cost Curves: a Call for Caution’ Climate Policy, Vol.12 No.2, pp.219-236, doi: 10.1080/14693062.2011.582347

Ekins P., Anandarajah G., Strachan N. (2011) ‘Towards a Low-Carbon Economy: Pathways and Policy Requirements’, Climate Policy, Vol.11, pp.865-882,

Ekins P, Dresner S. (2010) ‘Charging for domestic waste: Combining environmental and equity considerations’, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol.54 No.12, pp.1100-1108

Bleischwitz, R., Ekins, P., Welfens, P. & Xiang Zhang, Z. (2010) ‘Eco-Innovation for Environmental Sustainability: Concepts, Progress and Policies’, Special Issue of International Economics and Economic Policy, ‘International economics of resources and resource policy’, Vol.7 Nos.2/3, August, pp.267-290, http: //dx.doi .org/ 10.1007 /s10368- 010-0162-z


Can Our Economies Grow Forever? | Paul Ekins | TEDxUCL 

Interview with Paul Ekins World Resources Forum

Paul Ekins - Resource Availability Oxford Martin School

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