Leggett at public discussion and book signing, August 2007
|Education||Doctor of Philosophy in Earth sciences from Oxford University|
|Occupation||Social entrepreneur, Author.|
Jeremy Leggett is a British green-energy entrepreneur, author and activist who is founder and chairman of Solarcentury, the UK’s largest independent solar electric company, founder and chairman of the charity SolarAid and Chairman of the Carbon Tracker Initiative. He is the author of four books spanning energy, climate change, and oil depletion. Leggett advocates embracing renewable energy and a rapid managed withdrawal from fossil fuels in the media and is a contributor to the Financial Times and the Guardian. He has been described in the Guardian as “Britain’s most respected green energy boss."
A geologist by training, he began his career as a consultant for the oil industry, while teaching at the Royal School of Mines. His research on earth history was funded by oil companies BP and Royal Dutch Shell, among others. In 1989, concern about global warming prompted him to join Greenpeace as a campaigner. In 1998, Leggett founded Solarcentury, the UK’s largest independent solar electric company, where he is currently chairman. He set up the charity SolarAid, which helps African communities access solar power, with 5% of the proceeds of Solarcentury’s annual profit. He also serves as a Chairman of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a think tank which was set up to improve the transparency of the carbon embedded in equity markets. He is an Associate Fellow at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, and he also lectures on short courses in business and society at the universities of Cambridge and St. Gallen.
His book The Energy of Nations, published in 2013, explores how the global 'systemic risks of oil supply, climate shock and financial collapse threaten tomorrow's economies and mean businesses and policy makers face huge challenges in fuelling tomorrow’s world.' Previous books include The Solar Century (2009), Half Gone: Oil, Gas Hot Air and the Global Energy Crisis (2005) and The Carbon War: Global Warming and the End of the Oil Era (1999).
Leggett has called for a rapid strategic withdrawal from fossil fuels and advocates that coal should be left in the ground. Leggett has been critical of the lack of reporting by the British mainstream media on the economic imperatives of climate change abatement. Leggett is known for his support of microgeneration technology in the fight to abate global warming. Recently, Leggett has spoken in depth about the great dangers of allowing carbon assets to be viewed at zero risk of impairment if promised action on climate change does take place.
In his 2009 book, The Solar Century, Leggett is critical of nuclear power, saying that it cannot come online quickly enough to make a difference with climate change, and that the nuclear industry still hasn't found a way to deal with its radioactive wastes. He also says that investing in nuclear power would mean less money for other initiatives involving energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Leggett also states that carbon capture and storage has a "substantial timing problem" as it will take fifteen to twenty years to introduce the technology.
Leggett was the first Hillary Laureate for International Leadership in Climate Change. He also won the Individual Award for Excellence at the Solar Industry Awards in Paris in October 2013.
- "Why greed is good after all", The Guardian.
- SolarAid: Our Founding Partner,
- Energy of Nations,
- "Why Governments are Blind to Fossil Fuel Energy Risks", Huffington Post, 27 September 2013.
- Jeremy Leggett nabs prestigious gong,
- Jeremy Leggett's website
- Stand by for a world energy crisis
- Jeremy Leggett's blog
- Recharge Magazine
- Hillary Institute 2009 Hillary Laureate
- Cleantech Investor 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year