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Climate Action Unit

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About us

The Climate Action Unit is a group of experts in neuroscience, science communication and facilitation.

The people

 Kris De Meyer

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Lucy Hubble-Rose

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Chris Rapley

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Freya Roberts

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Andrew Jackson

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Peter Gingold

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Dr Kris De Meyer

Kris is a neuroscientist, science communicator and science-policy co-production expert, bringing insights from neuroscience and psychology to the domain of climate change. He is the Director of the UCL Climate Action Unit (CAU), and is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL.

Kris specialises in how people become entrenched in their beliefs, how this leads to polarisation in society, and how to overcome this. He co-produced Right Between Your Ears - an award-winning documentary exploring how people become entrenched in their views, and co-created The Justice Syndicate, a participatory play about how we disagree. 

At the CAU, Kris is responsible for the neuroscientific underpinning of the programme of interventions we run. Kris works closely with clients to deliver interventions - bringing unique expertise on how the human brain responds to climate change. Kris also directs the internal operations of the CAU and establishes new projects with influential clients.

Dr Lucy Hubble-Rose

Lucy is an expert facilitator specialised in helping people & organisations to unpick the knotty problems associated with planning and delivering action on climate change. As a senior member of staff, Lucy leads on intervention design at the the UCL Climate Action Unit (CAU), and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL.

Following a PhD in Climate Change engagement from the University of Exeter and a Masters in Climate Change from the University of East Anglia, Lucy became fascinated by the challenges of making change happen. This led Lucy to co-run a creative design practice which specialised in connecting expert and non-expert audiences. From there, she went to work bringing innovation in the rail sector, and now works full time delivering programmes for the Climate Action Unit.

At the CAU Lucy is responsible for developing the structure and strategy of the organisation’s programmes. Working with other CAU collaborators, she delivers detailed end-to-end design for workshops and interventions; with clear objectives and outcomes. Lucy also shapes the organisation’s internal strategy.

Prof. Chris Rapley CBE

Chris is an experienced climate scientist, Institute Director, and science communicator in the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London.

Following early career interests in space sciences, Chris spent several decades leading major scientific research institutions - including the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the British Antarctic Survey, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and the Science Museum. He returned to UCL to work on delivering scientific value to society by connecting climate scientists with decision makers. Chris chairs the UCL Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Science and plays an active role in science communication, working with the theatre sector and TV broadcasters.

At the CAU Chris provides a steering role; overseeing and guiding the group’s programme of activities.

Freya Roberts

Freya leads the efficient internal operations of the UCL Climate Action Unit (CAU) and oversees the programme of work the Unit runs. She is also a Climate Risk Communications Fellow of the COP26 Universities Network.

Freya graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc in Environmental Science, with a focus on global climate change. She went on to explore a range of roles in the climate sector - from urban greening at the Greater London Authority, to freelance environmental research for non-profits, to science journalism at the website Carbon Brief. Freya joined UCL in 2016 to learn how to coordinate research support and became part of the Climate Action Unit in 2020 as a Project Manager.

At the CAU Freya is responsible for core operations, communications & website, writing publications and editing, reporting, events, and project delivery. Her role straddles traditional divides between academic and professional services.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew is an Associate of the Climate Action Unit. He is a ‘systems thinker’ who designs and facilitates interventions which help individuals, teams and organisations to develop.

Andrew’s involvement in climate change began in his undergraduate degree, and continues though his career. As a management consultant, he co-founded IBM’s Climate Change Centre of Expertise and worked with clients on climate-related strategies. Back in 2008, he was involved in presenting corporate initiatives to COP14 in Poland.  Andrew now runs ProReal, a technology company combining digital communication with the psychology of personal development. 

Andrew’s role in the CAU is to build interest in and support the delivery of programmes. Andrew has a gift for creating environments in CAU interventions that enable participant collaborations to thrive.

Peter Gingold

Peter is an Associate of the Climate Action Unit whose expertise is engaging with business and the arts on climate change.

Following a varied career in business, overseas development, management consulting and the arts, Peter has devoted the last 20 years to concern about climate change. He spent over 10 years running TippingPoint, a pioneering organisation bringing people from the worlds of climate research and the arts together across the globe. Among other things, Peter is currently leading the Time and Tide Bell project which highlights sea level rise around the UK coastline.

At the CAU Peter’s role is to bring cultural and business perspectives to bear on the programme of activities.


What we do

We develop practical approaches to create a world with agency for climate action - a world with an exponentially rising number of people who know how to talk about, decide and act on climate change.

Our theory of change has been developed to navigate the behavioural, social, and political obstacles which get in the way of delivering action. It integrates scientific insights from neuroscience, psychology and the social sciences. For example, insights into how people perceive risk, how we respond to threatening information, and how we develop a sense of agency.

Building on our insights, we run carefully designed and facilitated interventions to bridge disciplines and sectors. We fix collaboration and communication problems, equip people, and remove barriers to action.


Our origins

The Climate Action Unit (CAU) is part of the Public Policy department at University College London (UCL). It was born out of UCL's Communicating Climate Science Policy Commission, whose members were delivering projects to address blockages to effective communication.

Recognising the unique combination of skills and insights at their disposal, the group targeted their efforts into three key areas: climate action, climate risk and climate stories. These are the founding workstreams of the Climate Action Unit.