Jefim Vogel

Jefim Vogel


I am a PhD candidate in ecological economics at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) (University of Leeds: School of Earth and Environment) and part of the Living Well Within Limits (LiLi) project. I am also a member of the Economics and Policy for Sustainability and Energy and Climate Change Mitigation working groups at SRI.

My research employs a systemic perspective on the nexus of sustainability, climate mitigation, energy use, human well-being, and international development to address the defining challenge of the 21st century: how can societies flourish within planetary boundaries? Specifically, I analyse how societies would need to reorganise their economies and provisioning systems to satisfy everyone’s fundamental human needs at sustainable levels of energy use.

In the quantitative-empirical strand of my research, I perform statistical analyses on international data to assess how the relationship between human need satisfaction and energy use varies with economic, social, and political characteristics of provisioning systems. Combining empirical analysis with simple modelling, I explore what changes in our economies and provisioning systems could enable sufficient need satisfaction at low energy use.

In the qualitative-theoretical strand of my research, I develop an innovative framework that integrates human need theory with key economic factors and dynamics across production, wage labour and consumption, in order to analyse how human need satisfaction and specifically human livelihoods are linked to economic activity, and what political-economic conditions and dynamics render livelihoods vulnerable to reductions in economic activity. I apply this analysis to develop transformative policies that could overcome this vulnerability and secure livelihoods even in a stagnating or shrinking economy, thus facilitating rapid reductions in energy use and enhancing societal resilience to economic or socio-ecological crises.

My research aims to inform the design of and transition to a new economic system that prioritises and delivers equitable human well-being within planetary boundaries.

Research interests

  • Human needs and human well-being
  • Resource and energy use
  • Sustainability
  • Social provisioning and provisioning systems
  • Climate mitigation, decarbonisation and low-carbon economy
  • Political economy and heterodox economics
  • Degrowth, post-growth, and Doughnut economics
  • Societal transformation and system change
  • Climate and environmental justice
  • Inequality and social justice
  • System dynamics and system thinking
  • Citizens assemblies and deliberative democracy
  • Climate impact of aviation
  • Sustainably cities and city-level sustainability transformation
  • Community climate action
  • Narratives and discourse


Academic articles:

Vogel, J., Steinberger, J.K., O'Neill, D.W., Lamb, W.F., Krishnakumar, J. (2021). Socio-economic conditions for satisfying human needs at low energy use: An international analysis of social provisioning. Global Environmental Change, 102287. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102287   ( press release here )


Teaching and course development
I am currently developing an e-learning / online course on the climate emergency for Leeds University Business School / University of Leeds. I am also engaged in teaching, as guest lecturer on the undergraduate Geography module Planet Under Threat (GEOG1000), and as seminar leader in both undergraduate and master level modules on sustainability and ecological economics, including Introduction to Ecological Economics (SOEE5094); Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics (SOEE5582); and Economics and Sustainability (SOEE2610).

Science communication and public education

To make my research and analysis of timely issues accessible to a broad audience, I write blogs for outlets such as The Conversation, for example on the UK Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill or on the climate impact of airport expansion.

I also offer public talks on relevant issues, for example on the climate emergency or on the climate impact of Leeds Bradford Airport expansion


Scientific advice and civil society engagement

I am one of the expert contributors to the UK Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

In 2019, I have been invited to present my research on the climate impact of Leeds Bradford Airport expansion to Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee.

I am also co-founder of the climate and social justice organisation Our Future Leeds, and have co-developed and co-writtten the grant proposal for Climate Action Leeds, a £2.5m project for socially-just climate action in Leeds, funded by the National Lottery Climate Action Fund.


  • BSc, Physics of the Earth System (Meteorology, Physical Oceanography, Geophysics) at Kiel University
  • MSc, Climate Dynamics (Meteorology and Oceanography) at University of Bergen
  • Guest researcher at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Nov-Dec 2017
  • Seminar leader in undergraduate and master level Ecological Economics modules at University of Leeds
  • Guest lecturer in GEOG1000: Planet Under Threat at the University of Leeds

Research groups and institutes

  • Economics and Policy for Sustainability
  • Energy and Climate Change Mitigation
  • Sustainability Research Institute