Mike Hulme

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Mike Hulme
Born (1960-07-23) 23 July 1960 (age 63)
Alma materDurham University
Swansea University
Scientific career
Human Geography
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
King's College London
University of East Anglia
University of Salford
ThesisSecular climatic and hydrological change in central Sudan (1985)

Michael Hulme (born 23 July 1960) is Professor of Human Geography in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge, and also a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was formerly professor of Climate and Culture at King's College London (2013-2017) and of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Early life and education[edit]

Mike Hulme attended Madras College secondary school from 1974 to 1978.[1] He obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) in geography from the University of Durham in 1981 and a Ph.D. in applied climatology from the University of Wales, Swansea in 1985.[2] His doctoral thesis was titled, Secular Climatic and Hydrological Change in Central Sudan.[3]

Academic career[edit]

In 1988, after four years lecturing in geography at the University of Salford, he became for 12 years a senior researcher in the Climatic Research Unit, part of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. In October 2000 he founded the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, a distributed virtual network organisation headquartered at UEA, which he directed until July 2007.[4] Hulme served on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) from 1995 to 2001.[5] He also contributed to the 2nd and 3rd Assessment Reports of the IPCC, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007,[6][7] for which Hulme received a personalised certificate acknowledging his contribution to the organisation.

He was the founding Editor-in-Chief (from 2008 to 2022) of the review journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Climate Change,[8] published by John Wiley & Sons. He was Head of the Department of Geography at King's College London in 2016 and 2017, and has been Head of the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge since 2022.

In 2020, he became a signatory to the Great Barrington Declaration.[9] The declaration, which called for an end to lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, was sponsored by the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian free-market think tank associated with climate change denial.[10][11]


He is best known as the author of Why We Disagree About Climate Change[12] published in 2009 by Cambridge University Press and which was named by The Economist in December 2009 as one of their four Books of Year for science and technology.[13] He is also the author of Weathered: Cultures of Climate[14] (SAGE, 2017), Reducing the Future to Climate: a Story of Climate Determinism and Reductionism [15] (Osiris, 2011), and Can Science Fix Climate Change? A Case Against Climate Engineering (Polity, 2014). He has edited the books Climates of the British Isles: Present, Past and Future,[16] "Climate policy options post-2012: European strategy, technology and adaptation after Kyoto" co-edited with Bert Metz and Michael Grubb[17] and in 2010, co-edited with Henry Neufeldt, Making Climate Change Work For Us: European Perspectives on Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies. In 2013 he published Exploring Climate Change Through Science and in Society: An Anthology of Mike Hulme's Essays, Interviews and Speeches, which brings together many of his more popular writings on climate change since the late 1980s. In recent years he has edited the volume Contemporary Climate Change Debates: A Student Primer (Routledge, 2020) and is the author of Climate Change (Key Ideas in Geography) (Routledge, 2021).

Views about climate change[edit]

In 2008, Hulme made a personal statement on what he called the "5 lessons of climate change", as:[18]

  1. "climate change is a relative risk, not an absolute one"
  2. "climate risks are serious, and we should seek to minimise them"
  3. "our world has huge unmet development needs"
  4. "our current energy portfolio is not sustainable"
  5. "massive and deliberate geo-engineering of the planet is a dubious practice"

After the Climatic Research Unit email controversy, he wrote an article for the BBC in which he said:

At the very least, the publication of private CRU e-mail correspondence should be seen as a wake-up call for scientists – and especially for climate scientists. The key lesson to be learnt is that not only must scientific knowledge about climate change be publicly owned – the IPCC does a fair job of this according to its own terms – but that in the new century of digital communication and an active citizenry, the very practices of scientific enquiry must also be publicly owned.

— Mike Hulme[19]: 1 

In another article for the BBC, in November 2006, he warned against the dangers of using alarmist language when communicating climate change science.[20]

Mike Hulme is one of the authors of the Hartwell Paper, published by the London School of Economics in collaboration with the University of Oxford in May 2010.[21] The authors argued that, after what they regard as the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit, the Kyoto Protocol crashed. They claimed that Kyoto had "failed to produce any discernible real world reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases in fifteen years."[21][22] They argued that this failure opened an opportunity to set climate policy free from Kyoto and the paper advocates a controversial and piecemeal approach to decarbonization of the global economy.[23][24][25]

Religious views[edit]

Hulme is a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian, and member of the Church of England, who has been theologically influenced by the Fulcrum movement.[26][27]


  1. ^ "Mike Hulme". Madras College Former Pupils. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Curriculum Vitae : Professor Mike Hulme" (PDF). August 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  3. ^ Secular climatic and hydrological change in central Sudan. University College of Swansea. 1985. ISBN 9781107268890. OCLC 502360232.
  4. ^ Hulme, Mike (13 May 2010). "Welcome". Mike Hulme. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  5. ^ "People | Department of Geography | King's College London".
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prizefor 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. - Press release - NobelPrize.org".
  8. ^ "WIREs Climate Change". Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  9. ^ Fishwick, Samuel (13 October 2020). "'I've had emails calling me evil'... Meet the Covid scientists at war". Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  10. ^ Ahmed, Nafeez (3 October 2020). "Koch-Funded PR Agency Aided Great Barrington Declaration Sponsor". BylineTimes. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  11. ^ Lewandowsky, Stephan (1 December 2021). "Liberty and the pursuit of science denial". Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 42: 65–69. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2021.02.024. hdl:1983/eb39f213-982d-4f3c-89b5-8dca6cd3a6cf. ISSN 2352-1546. S2CID 233195044.
  12. ^ "Why We Disagree About Climate Change". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  13. ^ The Economist, 5 December 2009, p.94
  14. ^ "Weathered: Cultures of Climate". SAGE. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  15. ^ Hulme, Mike (2011). "Reducing the Future to Climate: a Story of Climate Determinism and Reductionism" (PDF). Osiris. 26: 245–266. doi:10.1086/661274. S2CID 143602187. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  16. ^ Hulme, Michael; Barrow, Elaine (1997). Climates of the British Isles: Present, Past and Future. Routledge. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-415-13016-5.
  17. ^ Metz, Bert; Hulme, Mike; Grubb, Michael; Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (2005). Climate policy options post-2012: European strategy, technology and adaptation after Kyoto. Earthscan. ISBN 9781844072378.
  18. ^ Five Lessons of Climate Change: a personal statement (Archived at 2010-06-19) by Mike Hulme, March 2008
  19. ^ Hulme, Mike; Jerome Ravetz (1 December 2009). "'Show Your Working': What 'ClimateGate' means". BBC. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  20. ^ Hulme, Mike (4 November 2006). "Chaotic world of climate truth". BBC. p. 1. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  21. ^ a b Prins, Gwyn; et al. (May 2010). "The Hartwell Paper - A new direction for climate policy after the crash of 2009" (PDF). London School of Economics. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  22. ^ Mike Hulme (11 May 2010). "After the crash - a new direction for climate policy". BBC News. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  23. ^ Andrew C. Revkin (11 May 2010). "A Tough Observer of Climate Prescriptions". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  24. ^ "Oblique strategies". The Economist. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  25. ^ "Do You Heart 'The Hartwell Paper'?". Science Insider. 12 May 2010. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  26. ^ "Affiliations and Influences | Mike Hulme". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  27. ^ Williams, Andrew Zak (20 April 2011). "Iâ?Tm a believer". New Statesman.