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Edward Byers

Senior Research Scholar

Sustainable Service Systems Research Group

Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

Senior Research Scholar

Integrated Assessment and Climate Change Research Group

Energy, Climate, and Environment Program


Edward Byers is a Senior Research Scholar in the Integrated Assessment and Climate Change Research Group of the IIASA Energy, Climate and Environment Program. His major research interests include infrastructure systems, water and climate change risks, the water-energy nexus, and vulnerability. Byers joined IIASA in 2016, as an IIASA Postdoctoral Research Fellow associated with both the former Energy and Water programs. His research at IIASA is primarily focused on analyzing the impacts of climate change on the energy and water sectors through the use of global impact, hydrological, and integrated assessment models. He also works on the emulation of climate risks and the representation of climate risks in integrated assessment modeling. He is the lead coordinator of the SPARCCLE project (2023-2027), which assesses the socioeconomic risks of climate change in Europe, funded by the Horizon Europe programme.

Most prominently, he led the global climate and vulnerability hotspots assessment and the development of www.hotspots-explorer.org as part of the Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land (ISWEL) project, which was jointly funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), IIASA, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The results of the hotspots assessment were featured in Nature and the New York Times. This work has continued through various projects and applications, including technical assistance to countries via the Green Climate Fund. It has also led to various publications on global climate hotspots, seasonal pumped storage, electricity access, hydro-climate risks to the electricity sector, cooling demands and the cooling gap, and the water-energy-land nexus in the Indus basin, among others (Google Scholar).

Byers was a contributing author to various chapters of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Reports on 1.5°C (2018, Chapters 3 and 5) and Climate Change on Land, as well as the recent IPCC 6th Assessment Report (AR6) in Working Group (WG) III (summary for policymakers, Chapters 3 and 6, and Annex III). He coordinated the data collection and management of the AR6 Scenarios Database in support of WG III as a chapter scientist, and contributed to the WG I-III climate assessment in the IPCC AR6 report. He conducted similar work for the 2023 report of the European Advisory Board on Climate Change that advised the European Commission on 2040 GHG emissions targets.

Byers holds the roles of associate/deputy editor of the journals Climatic Change, Frontiers in Environmental Science, and Sustainable Horizons. At IIASA, he was a staff-elected member of the Scientific Leadership Committee (2020-2021). His previous work includes water use of electricity pathways, climate impacts on carbon capture and storage (CCS) power plants, climate impacts on capacity expansion modeling, catchment hydrology, and simulation of water withdrawal licensing regimes.

He joined IIASA from the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford where he investigated the economic impacts of drought on the energy sector in the UK. His PhD research at Newcastle University investigated water use of the UK electricity sector at national, regional, and catchment scales, and contributed to activities of the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium. Before that, he trained as a civil and environmental engineer (MEng, Newcastle). He was lead author of Working Paper 9 (Energy: coal, oil, gas, and nuclear) to the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) Climate Risks to Infrastructure Report Card (2014), and also performed similar climate risk analysis in consultancy with the national power producer of Turkey (2014-15). In 2011 he was on the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change Youth Advisory Panel. He also acted as Scientific Officer of the Planet Earth Institute (2012-2014) and Energy Topic Editor of the Global Water Forum (2014-16).

Last update: 19 SEP 2023


Schmidt Tagomori, I., Harmsen, M., Awais, M. , Byers, E. , Daioglou, V., Doelman, J., Vinca, A. , Riahi, K. , & van Vuuren, D.P (2024). Climate policy and the SDGs agenda: how does near-term action on nexus SDGs influence the achievement of long-term climate goals? Environmental Research Letters 19 (5) e054001. 10.1088/1748-9326/ad3973.

Falchetta, G. , Vinca, A. , Trost, A., Tuninetti, M., Ireland, G., Byers, E. , Hafner, M., & Zulu, A. (2024). Achieving renewable energy-centered sustainable development futures for rural Africa. DOI:10.5194/egusphere-egu24-15943. In: EGU General Assembly 2024, 14-19 April 2024, Vienna.

Niamir, L. , Riahi, K. , Brutschin, E. , Byers, E. , Gomez Sanabria, A. , Kaltenegger, K. , Kamei, M., Kiesewetter, G. , Kılkış, Ş., Klimont, Z. , Mastrucci, A. , Marztinez, L., Mimura, N., Nemet, G.F., Pachauri, S. , Pathak, M., Purohit, P. , Takemoto, K., Toth, F.L., van Ruijven, B. , Yamagata, Y., Zimm, C. , & Zusman, E. (2024). Cities Transformation. IIASA-Japan Joint Research Project , Zenodo. 10.5281/zenodo.10703437.

Pirani, A., Fuglestvedt, J.S., Byers, E. , O’Neill, B., Riahi, K. , Lee, J.-Y., Marotzke, J., Rose, S.K., Schaeffer, R., & Tebaldi, C. (2024). Scenarios in IPCC assessments: lessons from AR6 and opportunities for AR7. npj Climate Action 3 art.no. 1. 10.1038/s44168-023-00082-1.