Robbie Andrew

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About Robbie

The Formal Version

Robbie Andrew is a senior researcher at CICERO, the Center for International Climate Research. His primary interest is in uncovering the connections between our behaviour as consumers and the remote and often unseen consequences of these behaviours. To explore this issue he has used a range of analytical tools, including multi-regional input–output analysis, life-cycle assessment, and general equilibrium models. While his work to date has been largely quantitative, he has a particular interest in the sociological aspects of consumer behaviour, the relationships between economic agents, and the politics of the environment. Prior to working at CICERO, Robbie worked at Landcare Research in New Zealand for 14 years.

The Informal Version

I'm a Senior Researcher at CICERO, the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo. I'm a recent arrival here, having shifted at the end of 2011 from New Zealand, where, since 1998, I was with Landcare Research, a government-owned environmental research institute.

While my formal training was in Electrical Engineering, it never really floated my boat, and I made a number of lateral leaps during my early years as a researcher at Landcare Research. Starting with image analysis applied to environmental questions, I moved to the design and construction of environmental models, building on my programming and analytical skills. Models were mechanistic and/or empirical, deterministic and/or stochastic, spatial and/or temporal, and crossed a number of domains, including soil science, hydrology, greenhouse gas emissions, forest dynamics, and remote sensing.

At the end of this first chapter I felt the call of change, and leapt into a year of travel, intent on settling long-pondered questions. At the end of that year, with a tan and a good chunk of subconscious processing behind me, I returned to New Zealand and landed a job with, er, Landcare Research. But this new position was in Ecological Economics, worlds away from my previous work. I dived into methodologies such as input–output analysis, ecological footprinting, general equilibrium modelling, and life-cycle assessment, and applied myself to a range of sustainability issues including genuine progress, climate change economics, human carrying capacity, sustainable consumption, and ecosystem services.

Towards the close of 2011, I took the plunge and shifted myself to Norway, land of ski champions and smelly fish, vast oil wealth and simple pleasures. At CICERO I continue with the tools already honed and the fields already ploughed, but with plans to explore the toolshed further and enjoy whole new ecosystems. Outside of CICERO I try to join in the national pastime of langrenn skiing, I try to stay upright on the winter footpaths, I find as much music performance to listen to as I can, I wander in the lonely and companionable forests, I laugh with new friends, and I slowly learn this new home.

Staying below 2°C

Global emissions are tracking the most pessimistic scenarios used by the IPCC. Glen Peters and colleagues present a comparison of emissions with all four sets of scenarios used by the IPCC since 1990, and argue that inertia in both human systems and the climate system make a 2°C goal harder with every day of inaction.Learn more »

Services from the environment to our culture


The field of ecosystem services describes how we benefit from the environment, including in intangible ways. While there are some established (albeit debated) methods for putting a value on some services, cultural ecosystem services are often placed in the too-hard basket. In this work, Robbie Andrew provides an overview of cultural ES, discussing the difficulties and presenting some potential solutions. Learn more »

Sharing responsibility

The two prevalent approaches to allocating responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions – production and consumption perspectives – push responsibility to either end of the supply chain. In this study, Robbie Andrew and Vicky Forgie present the first national-level application of the shared responsibility perspective. Learn more »

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