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Sugandha Srivastav is a DPhil candidate in Environmental Economics at the at the Smith School of Enterprise & Environment at the University of Oxford. She is affiliated with the Institute of New Economic Thinking, the School of Geography & Environment, and the Oxford Martin School.

Sugandha’s research focuses on the drivers and barriers of the low-carbon energy transition. Sugandha investigates the role of economic policy in incentivising low-carbon innovation in the power sector, transport and manufacturing.

She also investigates the role of hydrocarbon lobby groups in stalling progress on climate policy. She uses this information to develop a framework of political strategies for how the climate movement can overcome obstructionism.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in research related to environmental challenges?

Oxford has a world-leading cluster of scientists and social scientists working on addressing the climate- and biodiversity crises. Everyday I am inspired not only by the intellectual curiosity and dynamism of my colleagues, but also by Oxford’s beautiful natural surroundings which reaffirm why this work is so critical.  

What is the biggest environmental challenge facing the planet right now?

Biodiversity loss and climate change are the two of the biggest challenges facing our planet right now. While climate change has gained popularity within the economics discipline, work on the economics of biodiversity is still relatively nascent. We need to find ways to make our economic system compatible with the preservation, restoration and revival of a biodiverse ecosystem.

Despite the challenges, are you optimistic about our future?  

I am optimistic about the future because we have seen time and again that nature has a phenomenal ability to bounce back, even if given only the slightest of chances. The passions of this generation lead me to believe that we will be creating many more opportunities for nature to thrive through a systematic re-evaluation of how humanity has operated in the past.

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