Climate Action Unit


Climate Risk

The Climate Action Unit provides skills and insights to help scientists and decision makers work together more effectively. The end goal of this work is to make climate risk information a more effective driver of the government policies and business decisions needed to curb climate change.

We help experts from different backgrounds develop a shared language to talk about climate risk. This is important because risk terminology can be understood very differently in science, policy and business communities. 

We do this by:

  • bringing scientists and decision makers together to work in a more integrated way; co-creating the research questions needed to support evidence-based decision making.
  • helping researchers to present their findings using formats that decision makers are familiar with – for example, by offering ‘worst' rather than 'average-case' scenarios.
  • tackling shortcomings in the way research is funded so that scientists can better answer the questions that matter to decision makers.

Our interventions are based on a deep understanding of how the human brain perceives and responds to risk.

CAU climate risk theory of change


Recent projects

Cohort 2040

The Climate Action Unit is partnering with the Cohort 2040 team to develop a programme to prepare future leaders for the challenge of building sustainable, equitable and resilient societies in the face of environmental destabilisation. After an extended period of scoping out what the programme needs to deliver, we have begun delivering the pilot to 12 participants - each of whom works on climate change in business, government, academia and civil society sectors.

Partner organisations
Cohort 2040, IPPR, Chatham House

December 2022 - ongoing

Further information

Climate Science for a Net Zero World (CS-N0W)

The Climate Action Unit is one of several organisations delivering work packages that form the multi-year CS-N0W programme by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. Our role in this programme was to design, facilitate and deliver a two-day workshop for ~200 scientists and policy experts to explore how the next IPCC report (AR7) can provide actionable information for decisionmakers.

Partner organisations
Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Ricardo

July 2023 - December 2023

Further information

New Metrics for Communicating Climate Risk

The Climate Action Unit is developing a structured and user-centred approach to designing metrics that better convey climate risk - based on lessons learned from the COVID crisis. We are currently working with a group of designers to iteratively design and test a set of metrics which were identified in an initial kick-off meeting with experts in climate science, policy, and communications.

Organisations involved with the project

July 2021 - September 2023

Further information

National Trust Climate Risk Management and Adaptation

The Climate Action Unit is helping the National Trust to develop a robust and inclusive climate risk management and adaptation response. So far, we have delivered two pilot adaptation workshops at properties in Northern Ireland and Wales, and delivered an adaptation facilitation training for the NT’s climate and environment advisors. Further workshops and training are in the pipeline.

Partner organisations
National Trust


January 2022 - ongoing

Past projects

Improving Science-Based Climate Policy for Flood Risk Management Training

The CAU delivered a three day training for early- and mid-career flood risk researchers to build their capacity to engage in co-production with policymakers. Following the training, the participants delivered an event to policymakers from the Environment Agency and other relevant government departments and policy organisations.

Partner organisations
UCL Public Policy

June 2018

Further information

Science-Policy Co-Production Workshop on Climate Change Risk Assessments

The CAU team ran two science-policy co-production workshops on climate change risk assessments, to explore how to make them better drivers of climate mitigation policies. These workshops resulted in the flood risk training programme and the CAU team's involvement in the UK-China collaboration on climate change risk assessments.

Partner organisations
BEIS, UCL Public Policy

February 2018 to June 2019

Further information


UK-China Collaboration on Climate Change Risk Assessments

The Climate Action Unit collaborated in this FCDO-funded project with Chatham House, Oxford University and partner universities in China. We delivered a series of co-production workshops around the use of climate risk information in policy and the transition to renewable energy.

Partner organisations
Chatham House, Oxford University & Tsinghua University

November 2019 to November 2021

Further information

Climate Risk Communication at COP26

The CAU delivered a series of workshops, talks and articles in the lead up to and during COP26. This included hosting a day of the Climate Risk Summit (online) from 29 September - 1 October 2021, producing a climate risk communications handbook and speaking at an event in the Science Zone at COP26.

Partner organisations
COP26 Universities Network
Analysis Under Uncertainty for Decision Makers (AU4DM) Network

September 2021 - November 2021

Further information

Met Office Services & Science YouTube - COP26 talk - "Communicating risk: what works and what doesn't?"

UCL Climate Action Unit YouTube - Climate Risk Summit 2021 workshop videos

COP26 Universities blog - "How scientists can help decision-makers 'get' climate risk"