Paul G. Harris’s research explores global environmental politics, policy and ethics. Much of his work focuses on climate change, including international governance of climate change, climate ethics and justice, the politics and foreign policy of climate change, and American and Chinese climate change policies.

Egret“My research philosophy is to undertake innovative analyses that enhance understanding of the human dimensions of global change. I aim to bolster comprehension and appreciation of some of the most vital issues of our time. I try to set a good example of productivity for colleagues — to make the best contribution that I can to our collective research efforts, thereby increasing transfer of knowledge for the benefit of our students, other scholars, local and global communities, and the nonhuman world.” Paul G. Harris

Professor Harris’s research has been supported by highly competitive research grants, including the Research Grants Council’s General Research Fund and the Environment Bureau’s Sustainable Development Fund. He has directed research programs and many project teams, resulting in numerous books and other publications.

Scroll down this page for some summaries of Professor Harris’s ongoing and past research projects. To learn about publications resulting from his research, click on Books and Articles & Chapters.


  • Climate Change Politics and Governance. This project analyzes the politics and governance of climate change at three levels: international, national and individual, aiming to understand means for overcoming obstacles to greater action by the global community, governments and citizens. A number of books, articles and chapters have resulted from this project, with more to come, including a new book being written for Cambridge University Press.
  • The Governance of Oceanic Change. This project, involving dozens of scholars and experts from around the world, aims to understand how oceans and seas can and should be governed as the impacts of climatic and environmental changes progress. Results of this project will include a major research volume from Cambridge University Press and a comprehensive research handbook from Routledge.
  • The Politics of Adaptation to Climate Change. This project, in collaboration with John Barkdull, examines the role of politics and political science in advancing understanding of adaptation to dangerous future climate change. This project has resulted in several articles in academic journals, with more expected.
  • Experiential Learning in the Environment. To truly comprehend the environment, it is necessary to experience it firsthand. This very ambitious project aims to put the researcher within the environment, specifically distant ocean ecosystems, to enable direct experience of the “natural” world in its current state. An objective is to compare contemporary environmental realities with non-experiential sources of environmental knowledge, and to apply what is learned to teaching, research and writing.


  • Consumption and Compliance with Climate Change Agreements. This project, conducted with Taedong Lee and completed in 2016 with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea, resulted in a co-authored refereed journal article.
  • Environment and Society in East and Southeast Asia. This collaborative project, co-directed with Graeme Lang, was completed in 2015 and resulted in an edited book.
  • The Landscape of Global Environmental Politics: A Survey of the Discipline. This project involved many scholars of Global Environmental Politics. Completed in 2015, it resulted in a comprehensive “handbook” of the discipline published by Routledge.
  • China and Global Warming: Reconciling International Justice and the Realities of Climate Change. Funded by the Research Grants Council and completed in 2012, the output of this collaborative project included a number of journal articles, several books and a policy report.
  • Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development in China and Education for Sustainable Development in Tertiary Education. Completed in 2011 with support from the Environment Bureau’s Sustainable Development Fund, these complementary collaborative projects resulted in several outputs, including a book and an educational website.
  • Cosmopolitan Justice and Climate Change. This project, with support from the James Harvey Johnson Charitable Education Trust (through the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs), was completed by 2011 and resulted in several articles and books.
  • China’s Climate Change Policy and Climate Change and the Politics of Contemporary China. These two related projects, conducted in 2008 and 2010, resulted in commissioned policy reports.
  • Project on Environmental Change and Foreign Policy. Initiated and directed by Professor Harris, this decade-long international research project involved dozens of scholars. It was mostly completed by 2009 and resulted in ten books and many articles and chapters.
  • Environmental Attitudes in China and Future Climate Change: Reshaping Destructive Attitudes for Worldwide Benefits. With funding from the Minor Foundation for Major Challenges (Norway), this project was completed by 2008 and resulted in two journal articles and an educational website.
  • The European Union and Environmental Change: Sharing the Burdens of Global Warming and Europe and Global Climate Change. Completed in 2006, these two projects resulted in several papers, chapters and an edited volume.
  • The Global Politics of AIDS. In collaboration with Patricia Siplon and a team of experts, this project resulted in papers, a journal article, book chapters and an edited volume. It was completed by 2006.
  • International Regimes and Environmental Policy Coordination in China. This project was completed in 2005 and resulted in several papers published as articles and book chapters.
  • Global Governance and Environmental Ethics. With support from the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, this project from 2003 resulted in journal articles and book chapters.
  • Environmental Values in a Globalizing World: The Case of China. With support from the Oxford Center for the Environment, Ethics and Society, and the Key Center for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, this 2002 project resulted in a book chapter.

[Under construction. More to come…]

©2018 Paul G. Harris. All rights reserved. Photo credits: USGS, PGH