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Season 1, episode 4

Tessa Khan, climate lawyer and founder of Uplift

This episode, I talk to Tessa Khan. She’s a lawyer based in London, recently billed by Bloomberg as, “The Lawyer Fighting To Boot Big Oil from the Shetland Islands.” Actually you could broaden that out to The Lawyer Fighting to Boot Big Oil and Gas From The Whole of the North Sea. Because that is her goal. With others, she’s had a win in introducing a windfall tax on oil and gas companies extracting in Britain. That’s the Energy Profits Levy, introduced last May. And she played a role in successful efforts to stop the Cambo oilfield.


Tessa runs an organisation called Uplift.


She speaks to me from her home in London.


Tessa's book picks:

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, published by Bloomsbury, 2017

  • The novella Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, first published in 1998 and more recently in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others, published by Picador, 2015

  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport, published by Little Brown, 2016

Tessa Khan

Tessa is the Executive Director and founder of Uplift, a research and campaigning organisation that supports a just transition away from oil and gas in the U.K.


Uplift has coordinated high-profile and successful campaigns including for a windfall tax on the oil and gas industry in partnership with organisations fighting fuel poverty, and against the Cambo and Rosebank oil fields. Rosebank and Shetland are two of the UK's largest undeveloped oil fields and would be located in a fragile marine environment west of the Shetland islands.


Prior to founding Uplift, Tessa was co-founder and co-director of the Climate Litigation Network, which supports groundbreaking strategic climate litigation around the world. She has spent almost two decades supporting grassroots, regional and international movements for justice and has served as an expert advisor to United Nations Human Rights bodies and national governments across the globe.


In 2019, Tessa was named by TIME as one of 15 women leading the fight against climate change. She is also a recipient of the Climate Breakthrough Award, the world's largest individual grant for climate action.

Find her on Twitter: @tessakhan

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