James’s group studies Earth’s carbon cycle and climate. To do this they use and develop geochemical proxies of past environmental conditions, run computer models that mimic ocean circulation and biogeochemistry, and go to sea to study our changing oceans.
Much of his research looks into Earth’s past, addressing questions such as the causes of the ice ages, the mechanisms involved in rapid climate change, and how and why CO2 has changed over geological time. He has a state of the art geochemistry lab at the University of St Andrews, where they make high precision measurements of the elemental and isotopic composition of samples ranging from ice cores to meteorites, and fossils to fuel cells.
James is also committed to educating society about our changing climate, and give regular public shows, workshops, and sessions in schools on climate change.