James grew up in Edinburgh, hiking and mountain biking in the Scottish Highlands, as well as some surfing on the coast. This stimulated his interest in cold water, mud and the environment, which he combined for his first degree in Earth Sciences at Oxford. He went on to do a PhD on an exciting new technique for studying past changes in CO2 and climate, travelling to the Southern Ocean, America, New Zealand, Israel and all round Europe to do fieldwork. He has since gone on to a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Geographical Sciences at Bristol followed by a NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech in Pasadena, California. His long-term aim is to improve scientific and public understanding of how earth's climate system works, to help guide our decisions about future climate change.