Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey

Professor of Environmental Politics

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


My role within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences is Professor of Environmental Politics, specialising in climate politics and other sustainability issues.

Qualifications and Background
I gained a BA (Hons) in Geography from the University of Birmingham in 1987, and an MSc in Social Research in 1996 and a PhD in 2000 (both Plymouth University).  I pursued a management career between 1987 and 1998 before returning to academia full time.

Research and Teaching Interests
My research and teaching interests span various aspects of environmental politics and sustainability, from climate change and the social dimensions of renewable energy to grassroots sustainability transitions, education for sustainable development, waste management, and societal engagement with marine environments.  Geographically, my research focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on the EU, UK and Australia.

These interests are strongly reflected in my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, where I teach modules on Sustainable Futures, Global Environmental Politics, and Sustainability: Science, Governance and Society.

My recent work includes the politics of carbon markets, political strategising in national and international climate politics, emerging notions and practices of the green economy, and smart eco-cities.  I am currently involved in projects on: policy diffusion and the design of emissions trading schemes (with the Fridtjof Nansens Institute, Oslo); and smart eco-cities (ESRC, with King's College London and other partners).


PhD, University of Plymouth, 2000

MSc, Social Research, University of Plymouth, 1997

Postgraduate Certificate in Logistics and Distribution Management, Chartered Institute of Logistics, 1992

BA Hons Geography, University of Birmingham, 1987

Professional membership

Fellow of the Royal Geographical society (with the Institute of British Geographers)

Roles on external bodies

Editorial board member: Environment and Planning C, Geography Compass; On line Journal of Political Science

Adjunct visiting fellow: Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Invited written evidence to the House of Commons International Development Committee Inquiry: Sustainable Development in a Changing Climate, November 2008.

Invited workshop leader and rapporteur: EU Framework 6 ADAM (Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: supporting European climate policy) project Evaluating European Climate Policy, Jan and Oct 2008.

Invited paper to the World Bank, 2010 World Development Report, Berlin, 29 September 2008: Political Strategies for Future Climate Policy (with Hugh Compston, U. of Cardiff).

Invited seminar and paper to Policy Network, London School of Economics, London, October 2008.  The politics of climate policy in affluent democracies http://www.policy-network.net/uploaded Files/Publications/Publications/Hugh_Compston_and_Ian_Bailey.pdf

Invited oral evidence to House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry: Reducing carbon emissions from UK business: The role of the Climate Change Levy and Agreements 30 October 2007.

Regular referee for: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Environment and Planning A and C, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Local Economy, Waste Management, Journal of Environmental Management, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Journal of Transport Geography, Geoforum, Environmental Management, Environmental Politics, Environmental Science and Policy, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, Palgrave, Climate Policy, Global Environmental Politics, International Environmental Politics, Geography Compass, Area, Global Environmental Change, Western European Politics, European Environment.

Regular referee for ESRC and NERC proposals and project appraisals

Teaching interests

My wide-ranging research interests in sustainability issues are strongly reflected in my contributions to teaching on the Geography Undergraduate programmes and the MRes/MSc Sustainable Environmental Management.  My main areas of undergraduate teaching are: Stage One Sustainable Futures, Stage Two Western Ireland Field Trip, and final year Global Environmental Politics.  At postgraduate level, I currently teach: Integrating Sustainability: Science, Law, Economics and Policy.  I also supervise a broad range of dissertations each year on sustainability issues.


GEES1003PP: Sustainable Futures

This module takes an interactive and student-led approach to the investigation of sustainability issues.  The module begins with framework lectures and preparatory workshops on organising and communicating group-based research projects, followed by more targeted themed workshops and the completion of a short group project on a sustainability topic of the group's choosing.

GGH3203: Global Environmental Politics

This module critically evaluate the processes and constraints affecting the evolution of global environmental politics.  It examines a range of key concepts for understanding environmental politics, including: the internationalisation of environmental politics, environmental worldviews and actors, and core environmental principles like the precautionary principle and maximum sustainable yield.  The module then explores detail how these concepts help to understanding environmental politics, focusing on examples such as international climate negotiations, transboundary air pollution, biofuels, GMOs, peak oil, environmental markets, and the Antarctic Treaty System.


GGX2200: Western Ireland Field Trip

The Ireland field trip offers an abundance of opportunities to examine a variety of sustainability issues, including: tourism, community and regional development, attitudes to climate change, waste management, transport and mobility, sustainability and planning, and conservation policy.  These are examined making use of extensive links with local organisations and individuals involved in managing sustainability issues, giving ‘unedited encounters’ with sustainability dilemmas and experiences that deepen practical understandings of the challenges and opportunities of promoting sustainability in different contexts.  This, along with a strong emphasis on student-led investigations, helps to reinforce an appreciation of the importance of geography to the understanding of sustainability.


Research interests

My main research interests are in environmental policy and politics and, in particular national and European Union climate politics and debates on the use of carbon and other environmental markets as a way of promoting resource-efficient, effective and equitable environmental protection. 

My other areas of interest include: social responses to sustainability transitions, focusing particularly on renewable energy technologies; education for sustainable development; public engagement with marine environmental issues; and smart eco-city initiatives

Grants & contracts

2015 Smart eco-cities for a green economy: a comparative study of Europe and China (Co-I) £473,288: £18,000 to Plymouth.

2014 Klimaforsk (UK PI): Designing effective emissions trading: the contribution of international diffusion (DESIGNED), £490,000: £35,000 to Plymouth.

2014 NERC Streamlining marine energy consenting processes through understanding public attitudes, Energy Knowledge Exchange Programme, £11,000.

2012 Santander: Community perceptions of marine renewable energy developments, £5,000.

2011 MERIFIC: Marine energy in far peripheral and island communities, total budget €4,941,361, €693,298 to Plymouth.

2010 Intelligent Energy Europe Study of Ocean Wave Farm Impacts Assessment (SOWFIA), total project €2 million, University of Plymouth €327,000; (UoP bid leaders D Greaves and D Conley).

2009 British Academy Political strategies for future climate policy: engaging energy-intensive industries in emissions reduction programmes, £7,500

2007 Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) Socio-economic impacts of the Cornish Wave Hub, £291,175 (co-PI with JJ Xu, G Glegg and I Whitehead).

2007-2010 (led by Dan Charman) Policy and practice for sustainable carbon management of moorlands. Duchy of Cornwall, Natural England, National Trust, Dartmoor National Park and Great Western Research. £57,600.

2006 (with R Gehrels) Great Western Research, Network Rail, Devon County Council, Cornwall County Council, Impact of future sea-level rise on the London-Penzance railway line, PhD studentship, £55,200.

2006 (led by Geoff Wilson) Great Western Research and Moor Trees, Towards a partnership approach in environmental governance: the case of voluntary carbon offset programmes, £55,200.

2006 Environmental Managers Group, Voluntary and market-based approaches to climate policy in Australia, £4000.

2005 British Academy, Voluntary and market-based approaches to environmental policy: a comparative assessment of climate policy in the United Kingdom and Australia, £7254.

2005 Centre for Sustainable Futures, Awareness and attitudes towards education for sustainable development in higher education, £5000.

2005 Higher Education Funding Council for England, Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Centre for Sustainable Futures, £5 million (bid leaders D Selby and A Dyer).

2003 National Europe Centre, Australian National University, New environmental policy instruments and environmental policy integration, £1045.

2002 Royal Geographical Society/HSBC Holdings, Implementing the Kyoto Protocol: energy-intensive industries, voluntary agreements and carbon leakage, £1400.

2002 SterileTech Inc. The use of tradable permits to promote the recycling of sterilized clinical waste, £960.

2001 ESRC (Award Ref.: R000223774) Climate change and industry reactions to new environmental policy instruments, £37,344.

1999 Chartered Institute of Wastes Management Implementation of the UK packaging regulations, £2,000.

1998 Chartered Institute of Wastes Management Implementation of the UK packaging regulations, £2,000.