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Ajay Gambhir

Director of Systemic Risk Assessment

Ajay Gambhir is Director of Systemic Risk Assessment at ASRA. He is responsible for advising on ASRA’s approach to science, evidence and data, its approach to risk assessment and the broader stakeholder landscape around systemic risk. 

Prior to joining ASRA, Gambhir worked on climate change for 17 years, both in the UK Government and at Imperial College London. As a Department of Environment official over the period 2006-8, he was one of the architects of the 2008 UK Climate Change Act, the world’s first national framework legislation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He also led on the design of the UK Climate Change Committee, the Government’s official advisor on meeting carbon reduction targets and adapting to climate change. He then served as the Team Leader for EU and International Climate Change Economics at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change over the period 2009-10. 

As an academic researcher at Imperial College London over the period 2010-2023, Gambhir led and participated in a variety of projects primarily focused on mitigation of climate change via greenhouse gas emissions reductions at national, regional and global scales. These include studies on China, India, Russia, the US and the EU, using energy system and integrated assessment models to chart feasible pathways to a net-zero future. He also led research into the processes of innovation and cost reduction in low-carbon energy technologies, including renewables and energy storage. His research on achieving justice in low-carbon transitions resulted in his serving on the UK Government’s Just Transition Taskforce over the period 2019-2023 and he undertook a number of other advisory roles for the UK Government, including feeding into national analysis of how the UK could reach net-zero by 2050. 

Gambhir’s most recent analytical focus has been on climate risk and its interplay with wider societal risks. This includes comparing physical climate impact risks to transition risks stemming from the rapid shift to a low-carbon economy, as part of advising financial institutions and regulators on climate stress tests. He has also undertaken research on the potential for climate change-driven ecosystem and biodiversity losses to create systemic risks for societies across the world, and more generally the need for climate change action to take into account multiple other societal risks, as part of resilient mitigation planning.

His research outputs include around 70 academic journal papers, many of which are published in the field’s top journals including Nature Energy, Nature Climate Change, Nature Communications, Joule and One Earth, as well as several public reports. He has also engaged extensively with the media, appearing on UK national and international radio and television interview, panel discussion and documentary programmes to discuss several aspects of climate change. 

Gambhir holds Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering and Development Economics and he has a PhD in Energy Economics.