Ekins was a prominent member of the UK Green Party (now the Green Party of England and Wales) in the 1970s and 80s. He left in 1987 after controversy over his involvement in the Tactical Voting campaign TV87, of which he was a co-founder, which followed earlier controversy over an attempt to launch a faction called Maingreen following the failure to gain enough support for constitutional amendments he and others were promoting to streamline Green Party structures. This was a forerunner of the moves to reform the party’s internal structures by a later group known as Green 2000.
Career after politics
Ekins has been a prominent green academic in the field of sustainable economics. He has also worked as a consultant.
He has extensive experience consulting for business, government and international organisations, which has included over 50 projects and consultancies over the last ten years, and many advisory positions. He has also been a consultant to the Government’s Sustainable Development Commission, and an adviser to the UK Government’s Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment and Round Table on Sustainable Development, and has been a frequent contributor to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales annual course for senior executives on business and the environment at the University of Cambridge, and the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership.
He is a Fellow and member of the Energy Advisory Panel of the Energy Institute; Director of the Green Fiscal Commission; a Senior Consultant to Cambridge Econometrics; a Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, in charge of its Energy Systems and Modelling theme; and he leads UCL’s participation in the EPSRC SUPERGEN consortia on hydrogen and bioenergy.
Ekins is a member of Ofgem’s Sustainable Development Advisory Group, and Chairman of the Government-funded National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP), the UK’s most successful programme to improve resource productivity.
In 1996, he set up Forum for the Future with Sara Parkin and Jonathon Porritt. The Forum says: “When Paul Ekins set up the Sustainable Economy Unit as part of Forum for the Future back in 1996, he argued that ‘many of today’s environmental problems are really economic problems in disguise, and getting the economics right lies at the heart of any solutions agenda.’ He aimed ‘to show that radical moves towards environmental sustainability are compatible with prosperity’. This remains a central part of Forum’s mission.”
Since 2003 he has been a member, and is now Chairman, of the Judging Panel, Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy., and he is on the Judging Panel of the Rushlight and Rosenblatt New Energy Awards.In 1994, Ekins received a UN Environment Programme Global 500 Award ”for outstanding environmental achievement”.
He was a member in 2010-11 of two Ministerial Advisory Panels, on the Green Deal (DECC) and on the Natural Environment White Paper (DEFRA).In 2011 he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the DG Environment Commissioner’s High-Level Economists Expert Group on Resource Efficiency.He is also a specialist adviser to the Environmental Audit Select Committee of the British House of Commons. He is a Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.
In late 2011 it was announced that Ekins is to be one of the judges of The Guardian newspaper's Sustainable Business Awards 2012.
His academic work focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy, and he is an authority on a number of areas of energy-environment-economy interaction and environmental policy, including: sustainable development assessment methodologies; resource productivity; sustainable energy use; the adjustment of national accounts to take account of environmental impacts; environmental economic instruments and ecological tax reform; sustainable consumption; and environment and trade. 
Paul Ekins has a Ph.D. in economics from Birkbeck, University of London.
He is the author of numerous papers, book-chapters and articles in a wide range of journals, and has written or edited twelve books, including Global Warming and Energy Demand (Routledge, 1995); and Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability: the Prospects for Green Growth (Routledge, London, 2000).
His most recent books of which he is editor or co-editor are Understanding the Costs of Environmental Regulation in Europe (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2009) and Trade, Globalization, and Sustainability Impact Assessment: A Critical Look at Methods and Outcomes (Earthscan, London, 2009), Carbon-Energy Taxation: Lessons from Europe (Oxford University Press, Oxford), Hydrogen Energy: Economic and Social Challenges, (Earthscan, London), Environmental Tax Reform: a Policy for Green Growth (Oxford University Press, Oxford); and Energy 2050: the Transition to a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy System for the UK (Earthscan, London).
- University College London
- Green Party of England and Wales
- Forum for the Future
- Policy Studies Institute
- Wall, Derek, Weaving a Bower Against Endless Night: An Illustrated History of the Green Party, 1994
- Policy Studies Institute Biography
- Press Notice footnote from Forum for the Future
- Forum for the Future Annual Report 2006, p6
- Ashden Awards judges
- "Profile". UCL. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "UCL Green Economy Policy Commission". UCL. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Policy Studies Institute
- Forum for the Future
- Interview with Prof. Paul Ekins(Video)
- Works by or about Paul Ekins in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- UCL Energy Institute
- UK Energy Research Centre