St Hilda's alumnus, Rupert Stuart-Smith, is awarded the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) 2020 Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize

27th May 2020

Rupert Stuart-Smith (Geography, 2016) has been awarded the Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). The Alfred Steers Dissertation prize is awarded to the best undergraduate dissertation in a UK geography department.

Rupert's dissertation models the impact of climate change on Palcaraju glacier in the Cordillera Blanca mountains of Peru. The retreat of this glacier has led to the formation of Lake Palcacocha, which now threatens to burst on the city of Huaraz and is the subject of an ongoing court case in which a local farmer is attempting to hold RWE (the German energy company) legally responsible for part of the costs of protecting the city against this devastating flood, based on their contribution to climate change.

Rupert's research, as well as his subsequent work on the glacier, has demonstrated that climate change has caused the retreat of this glacier, with potential implications for the legal responsibility of major emitters of greenhouse gases.

Many congratulations to Rupert, who graduated from St Hilda's in 2019.