UCL Earth Sciences


Prof Chris Rapley

Climate science, polar science, science communication, science-policy interface

Professor of Climate Science    

Prof Chris Rapley




Professor of Climate Science    301C KLB

Courses Taught:

Non-Teaching Appointment

Research Group(s):

Polar Environmental Change

Email Address:

Telephone Number:

chris.g.rapley@ucl.ac.uk020 3108 6320 (56320)

Research Summary

Before coming to UCL, Prof Christopher Graham Rapley was the Director of the British Antarctic Survey from 1998 to 2007. He was appointed Director of the Science Museum in 2007, stepping down in 2010. In 2008 he was awarded the Edinburgh Science Medal – “For professional achievements judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity”  Since 2020 he has been Chair of the European Science Foundation’s European Space Sciences Committee. In this role he has a place at the table of the European Space Agency Ministerial Conferences and he is Chair of the UCL Climate Action Unit

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBtpSyO4Gr8

In 2014 Chris Rapley and Duncan Macmillan were commissioned by the Royal Court Theatre to write a play '2071' on climate change which he will perform at the Royal Court in late 2014.

News: Sept 2023 The Starmus Festival: 

News: Oct 2022 ESA Council Ministers 2022 Council Meeting (CM22),Paris;

News: Aug 2021 Radio Interview:

‘Fires, floods and the IPCC report ring the death of fossil fuels’ speaking about the implications of the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report for governments around the world.

News: Feb, 2021 Climate talks:

  • Earth, but not as we know it: Lovelock's legacy and our future. View
  • How can we ensure that ambitious climate action fits within the wider vision of sustainability? Details

News: Published on Jul 18, 2015

Chris Rapley interviewed on BBC Newsnight by Kirsty Wark about climate change, science communication, the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris, and the play and book '2071 - The World We'll Leave Our Grandchildren' by Chris Rapley and Duncan Macmillan

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmysGrBlqHE

News: September 2018

Comments on 'Hothouse' Earth

Chris Rapley is amongst scientists to comment on the future state of the Earth System following a recent report featured in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The report warns of the potential of a ‘Hothouse Earth’, whereby self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System through a planetary threshold to a new state characterised by a combination of high global temperatures and rising sea levels unprecedented in the Holocene.

News: January 2016 

Shaping how society tackles Climate Change

Chris Rapley was among expert influencers presenting to delegates and the public at the Congreso del Futuro in Santiago in January. The unique congress is one of the biggest scientific and technological events in Latin America, helping to shape progress of how societies adjust to global challenges.

News Articles: