Rupert Stuart-Smith

Academic Profile

Rupert Stuart-Smith is a DPhil student at the University of Oxford where his research focuses on climate change litigation and attributing climate change damages to individual emitters of greenhouse gases, supervised by Professors Friederike Otto and Cameron Hepburn, and Dr Carl-Friedrich Schleussner. His recent research has also spanned glacier and climate modelling and sustainable finance.

Rupert’s recent work has provided evidence of the impact of climate change on glacial retreat in Peru in the context of an ongoing legal case (Lliuya v RWE). His research also includes evaluation of corporate emission reduction commitments in the energy sector, in collaboration with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. Rupert has also worked as a consultant to FILE Foundation, WWF-UK and Vivid Economics. He has also helped to develop the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme’s work on climate attribution.

Rupert holds a BA in Geography from the University of Oxford. During his time as an undergraduate, Rupert developed an investment strategy aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement with St Hilda’s College, Oxford, the Oxford Martin School and Sarasin & Partners.


2020 Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize, Royal Geographical Society (best Undergraduate dissertation in a UK geography department)

2019 H.O. Beckit Prize for the best Physical Geography Dissertation, University of Oxford

2017 Nielsen Scholarship in Geography, St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford


Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE), Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Climate Analytics.

Current Research

Recent developments in climate change attribution science have quantified the contribution of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to individual events. My research capitalises on these advances by addressing remaining methodological shortfalls in attribution science and considers how attribution science evidence can be mobilised most effectively in legal and policy contexts.

Key research areas:

1.       Attribution science and litigation: facilitating effective legal arguments and strategies to manage climate change damages

2.       Attributing sea level rise damages to individual emitters of greenhouse gases.

3.       Deterministic and probabilistic evidence in science and law.

The materiality of climate change litigation risk


Stuart-Smith, R.F., Roe, G.H., Li, S., & Allen, M.R. Human influence on the retreat of Palcaraju glacier (Cordillera Blanca, Peru). American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (2019).

Dietz, S., Jahn, V., Noels, J., Stuart-Smith, R. F. & Hepburn, C. J. A survey of the net zero positions of the world’s largest energy companies. (2019). Available at: