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Professor Chuks Okereke – University of Reading

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  • Climate and fairness

    Balancing the justice and injustice of climate change

Professor Chuks Okereke

Professor Chukwumerije (Chuks) Okereke has always been interested in justice and fairness. He has been engaged in teaching, research and consultancy activities focusing on climate governance, climate adaptation and low carbon development in developing countries for more than 15 years.

“The focus of my research is to explore how societies can best respond to climate change, which is now generally accepted as arguably one of the greatest challenges facing humankind.”

Asking important questions

As a university student in eastern Nigeria, Chuks became a Chuks Okerekeradical union activist – challenging the government of the day – and was arrested several times for his principles.

Following the completion of his PhD at Keele University in the UK he worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at the University of East Anglia before moving to the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford where he went on to become the head of the Climate and Development Centre.

Chuks joined the University of Reading in 2011 as a Reader in Environment and Development and was promoted to a full professor in 2016. Throughout his career, he has continued to ask the important questions around how societies can best respond to global environmental problems like climate change in ways that also address global poverty and inequality.

“While recognising the importance of science and technology in combating climate change, my research emphasises the social, ethical and political dimensions of climate governance. It is the topicality of my research and the chances for real life impact that make the work I do so very interesting to both academics and practitioners.”

Building passion into teaching

Chuks brings this passion for justice and fairness to his teaching, using his expertise to advance students' understanding of key justice issues in global environmental politics and the international governance of sustainable development both at the realm of international bargaining and policy implementation at regional, national and local levels.

Achieving international impact

Chuks' international reputation has allowed him to offer leadership and expertise on vital issues around governance and climate change. He was the founding Project Director of the Rwandan National Strategy for Climate and Low Carbon Development project, which outlines how adaptation and mitigation actions can be integrated across all sectors of the economy, putting Rwanda in a stronger position not only to face the twin challenges of climate change and poverty, but to take advantage of the opportunities presented by a low-carbon growth path in a greener global economy.

He is a senior member of a research team exploring the interactions between emerging industrial policies and green economy strategies in Ethiopia, and he has recently been awarded an ERSC grant on the governance of inclusive green growth in Africa under the Global Challenges Research Fund. Chuks was a Lead Author in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); the pioneer moderator of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Climate Diplomacy Course and has served as a consultant to DFID, UNDP, the World Bank and a number of African Governments.

“I am interested in understanding the climate strategies of various stakeholders (such as governments, businesses, cities and civil society organizations) and how these either enhance or inhibit the prospects for societal transformation in the response to climate change. Moreover, because of huge asymmetries in both contributions to and impact of climate change across countries, my research explores options for combining climate governance with the reduction of global poverty and inequality.”

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