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Climate Change

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From climate modelling to climate justice and the green economy, UCL’s interdisciplinary research provides science-based evidence for how climate change impacts all aspects of life on earth, and ideas for urgent actions to address these challenges.

The climate crisis presents us with a mighty challenge: to profoundly reshape our relationship with the planet, and make a safer, healthier, more prosperous future. UCL is working with global and national partners to lead the push for change.

 Our interdisciplinary discovery work ranges from predicting the extinction risk of animal and plant species most vulnerable to climate change, to addressing the climate impact on health around the world, and aims to inspire the next generation of leaders to create positive change.


Explore below: 

Understanding climate changeThe AnthropoceneBuilt environment and transportClimate justice and governanceSustainable energy solutions |Climate resilience and adaptationSustainable economics and finance

 


Understanding climate change

Evidencing the need for action

Our understanding of future climates has been greatly advanced by UCL’s expertise in polar research, atmospheric and sea physics, and environmental modelling and observation. This is an essential foundation not only to make the case for faster action but also to inform the development of adaptation strategies.


The Anthropocene

Human impact on ecosystems, health and society

The impact of humans on our planet is now so extensive that many scientists are declaring a new phase in the Earth's history: The Anthropocene, a human‐dominated epoch of geological time. Climate change is arguably the definitive Anthropocene phenomenon: sparked in large part by human activity, but with monumental planetary consequences. At UCL, scientists are conducting research to better understand this impact; from the effect of global warming on coral reefs, trees, and other plant and animal species to the consequences for human health and society. 


Climate justice and governance

Securing a fair, sustainable future for all

Climate change is an ethical, political and legal issue, as well as an environmental issue. How do we apply and, where necessary, change our laws and governance structures in the light of urgent commitments to mitigate climate change? How well do our legal institutions protect future generations whilst conserving biodiversity and natural resources? How can we safeguard the rights of the most vulnerable people and share the burdens of climate change fairly in pursuing a just transition to a low carbon economy? UCL researchers from a range of disciplines are working to understand the complex depths of legal and governance institutions in the wake of the climate crisis, and to ensure responses to climate change are fair, sustainable and just. 


Built environment and transport 

Building a better future

How and where we live as we adapt to future climates is of major concern to nations across the globe. UCL specialists – from engineers to urban planners to ecologists – are reimagining urban development which responds to the natural environment, designing low-energy building solutions, and exploring efficient sustainable transport options. The vision? To build resilience to future climate shocks and sustainability into our cities, towns and communities and create urban environments that take less of a toll on the world’s climate and resources. 


Sustainable energy solutions

Powering change

Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable energy is a global priority, and one of 15 UN Sustainable Development Goals. UCL is at the forefront of efforts to build sustainable energy systems. We’re applying the full force of our interdisciplinary expertise to develop innovative battery and fuel cell technologies, and smart solutions to reduce home energy, and shaping global energy policy to reduce emissions and achieve energy security for all. 


Climate resilience and adaptation

Facing humanity’s most crucial challenge

Climate change is one of our greatest long-term global challenges, with dire consequences for human health, wellbeing and livelihoods. Dealing with the human impact of this accelerating emergency, will require radical approaches to politics and economics, healthcare and manufacturing, farming, transport and more. UCL is mounting a comprehensive response drawing on academic specialties across areas as diverse as public health, human behaviour, environmental and social justice, and working with partners in business, academia and civil society. 

 


Sustainable economics and finance

Reimagining a green economy

The unprecedented scale of the climate crisis demands radical thinking in how we design, finance, and structure the global economy to respond to this planetary challenge. Pioneering researchers at UCL are rethinking economics and finance, to secure livelihoods and create jobs, safeguard resources and minimise waste, and stimulate sustainable, shared growth and prosperity. And as we respond to the COVID pandemic, we are asking what lessons can be learnt from the global response to secure a green recovery.