Tom Counsell

Hello. I’m an engineer. I live in Brighton in the UK. I work for an American charity called Give Directly that gives no-strings-attached cash to the poorest people, mostly in Africa, to eliminate extreme poverty.

Before that I worked at a small firm in Lewes that helps children’s nurseries and whose main product was Tapestry, an online learning journal. Before that, I was a Deputy Director at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. I also do occasional freelance work through Green on Black Ltd.

Perhaps you are looking for information about my:

  1. History
  2. PhD
  3. Programming

If this list doesn’t cover what you want then feel free to contact me at


  1. I’ve enjoyed making a server load monitor out of a 65 year old ammeter for my boss.
  2. Very sad that David MacKay has died. He taught me so much.
  3. I helped the Australian Food, Energy, Environment and Water Network turn their Excel model of Food and Water scenarios into an interactive site.
  4. I have left DECC. Not because I didn’t like DECC. But because I have had enough of commuting from Brighton to London. I’m now working at a tiny local firm that helps children’s nurseries,
  5. Almost my last act at DECC was to create short film about how we supply and use energy in the UK. It was based on a talk I gave last year in London.
  6. I don’t like Marginal Abatement Cost Curves, but some colleagues at DECC really do. They are also annoying to do in Excel, so I created a chart generator to help them out.
  7. Created a ‘flying brick’ chart generator because they are a bit annoying to draw in Excel.
  8. Together with ITRI we hosted a conference in Taipei for all the countries that are working on 2050 calculators. Premier Mao opened the event, and an awesome group of high school children put on a play about the difficulty of agreeing what to do about energy in Taiwan.
  9. We’re writing a book on how to make a 2050 calculator.
  10. Some great responses to the launch of our Global Calculator. One of my favourites is the headline of the article in the Telegraph: “Hate wind farms? Eat chicken, not beef.”
  11. Created an automatic marginal abatement cost curve generator for the Global Calculator.
  12. Produced a Cates plot for statins showing side effects for my wife’s blog post.
  13. My team have released a draft Global Calculator that allows you to try out different standards of living and the energy system that supports them, and then see the consequences for climate change and fossil fuel reserves. We are looking for expert feedback on the draft, so we can make it awesome in time for a December release. I blogged about it at DECC.
  14. A bit of fun for my daughter’s birthday party—How loud does a dinosaur roar? (only works in Chrome browsers)
  15. I’ve updated my units calculator to be a single page web app
  16. With my team’s help, India have launched their version of a 2050 calculator. They have done a great job with their documentation. I blogged about it at DECC
  17. My team won a second Civil Service Award for Analysis and Use of Evidence, joint with the Foreign Office. Well done guys.
  18. With my team’s help, Taiwan have launched their version of a 2050 calculator. It looks awesome. Ewan Bennie went to the launch and blogged about it.
  19. I am quite proud of the legends on the new charts in the 2050 calculator. Did them in D3 which was a pleasure. See the code.
  20. My team has started to develop a 2050 calculator for the world, watch the video message’s about the project.
  21. Finished reading Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers by Richard E. Neustadt, Ernest R. May
  22. I have been working on a tangle for exploring when nuclear-powered-electricity might be cheaper than gas-powered-electricity
  23. I’ve produced a sankey diagram showing (approximately) the 2010 Energy Flows through the UK
  24. 700 people paid to debate the future of the UK energy system at the 2013 Hay festival. I was on stage as the DECC geek. You can listen to it or read about it on the DECC blog.
  25. At the last minute, I stepped in to replace David MacKay at the first British Energy Challenge roadshow in Liverpool. Watch the highlights.
  26. I blogged on the DECC blog about China’s 2050 Calculator (local copy) and the common problem of consensus (local copy).

Elsewhere on the internet