UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP MPA alum launches youth-led climate think-tank

16 November 2022

Noah Herfort, a former IIPP MPA student, has set up a youth-led think-tank, Climate Vanguard, to develop the radical transformations that can address catastrophic climate change and build a just, habitable world.

Climate Vanguard logo in red on white

Herfort began developing the concept of Climate Vanguard as he began his MPA programme at IIPP in 2021. Together with co-founder Jack Johnson and a group of young volunteers, the project was formally launched in October 2022. Climate Vanguard partners with the youth climate movement, which in recent years has proved a force to be reckoned with. The think-tank’s audience is intended to be young people, rather than politicians or civil servants. 

Climate Vanguard is researching an Emergency Response programme that can be implemented now to address the climate and ecological crisis. Through tailored research like this, and bespoke communications assistance, Climate Vanguard hopes to support the evolution of the youth climate movement into a radical force of change with a political-economic plan to win. This is furthered through the think-tank’s convening function, which brings together youth climate leaders to forge a common language, narrative, and vision of radical transformation. 

Climate Vanguard has now published its first report, The Emergency Brake. The report shows how the UK fossil fuel industry can be nationalised and dismantled in line with 1.5°C decarbonisation. It reveals the exact legal pathways to accomplish a fossil fuel phase-out, embedded in an Acceleration Scenario that maps fast-changing political realities in the backdrop of worsening climate chaos and sustained political inaction. The research has been endorsed by twelve youth climate leaders from across the world, showcasing a shift from demanding leaders “listen to the science”, to concrete political-economic transformation.

“It is essential that the youth climate movement unites around an emergency political-economic programme. Think-tanks have proven their efficacy in precipitating tangible change. It’s now time to reproduce that model in the interest of protecting life on earth,” says Herfort.

For more information

Read more about Climate Vanguard on its website.

Read about IIPP’s MPA programme here.