Global Governance Institute


Announcing the Winners of the GGI Student Essay Competition on Climate Change and Biodiversity

30 June 2021

How can we best tackle the climate and biodiversity crises? We asked postgraduate students across UCL to share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Orang Utan, Indonesia

There is growing recognition that accelerating climate change and mass biodiversity loss are mutually reinforcing challenges, posing a multitude of interrelated risks. Yet, governance is lagging behind. As part of a UCL-wide essay competition on climate change and biodiversity, we invited postgraduate students to share their thoughts on the interventions needed to align politics with biophysical reality. Here are the winning essays:


The Importance of Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making: The Case of the UK Environment Bill

The UK Environment Bill sets out a number of changes relevant to development planning, including the obligation to demonstrate a ‘biodiversity net gain.’ In this essay, Jeremy Ogilvie-Harris (UCL Laws) highlights the pitfalls of overly technical approaches to establishing such gains and the importance of equitable public participation in environmental decision making.


Catalysing Action to Tackle Complex Problems: How Everyday Interactions Can Boost Governance Efforts

To tackle climate change and biodiversity loss we must first recognise them as political problems situated in complex systems. In this essay, Daniel Richardson (UCL Political Science) argues that global level strategies to cope with complexity should be combined with bottom-up efforts to change the conversation on climate change and other environmental issues – with all of us playing a vital role.

Light bulb on green grass

Political Barriers to Implementing Green Policies: The Role of Financial Incentives in the EU

Political ideology remains an important barrier to more ambitious climate and environmental policies in some countries. In this essay, Kata Moravecz (UCL Political Science) reflects on possible ways to overcome such barriers through financial incentives, providing evidence from the EU.

Watch out for the Grey Rhino: The Connection Between Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Health

In the wake of COVID-19, Jingwen Zhang (UCL Political Science) argues that we need to pay urgent attention to “Grey Rhino” events – obvious and yet widely ignored threats such as climate change and biodiversity loss which are escalating the risk of infectious disease outbreaks.