UCL Grand Challenges


Tackling the Climate Crisis: Real Policies for Real Zero

21 November 2023, 5:45 pm–7:15 pm

Photo of industrial chimney

This event brings together three experts on climate change to explore the context of COP28 and what this meeting could and needs to achieve.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Lisa Juangbhanich


Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre
005: Wilkins Main Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

At this panel discussion, just ten days before the start of COP28 in Dubai, brings together three experts on climate change to explore the context of COP28 and what this meeting could and needs to achieve. It will consider what actions are needed by governments, business, and citizens to tackle the climate crisis and reflect on how they can be implemented.

The UCL Grand Challenges are a cross-disciplinary, cross-boundary approach to mobilising UCL’s academic expertise in response to global challenges, in order to drive positive societal change.

The event will be followed by a reception in UCL’s South Cloisters. 


Professor Jim Skea, the recently appointed Chair of the IPCC

Rachel Solomon Williams, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group of progressive businesses

Professor Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at UCL, and author of the new book Stopping Climate Change: Policies for Real Zero (Routledge)

The meeting will be chaired by Sarah Chaytor, Director of UCL Public Policy.

Find out more about COP28

About the Speakers

Professor Jim Skea

Chair at IPPC

Jim Skea was elected IPCC Chair for the Seventh Assessment cycle in July 2023. He was Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III for the 6th Assessment Cycle. From 2009 to 2023, Jim Skea was Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London. His research interests are in energy, climate change and technological innovation. He was Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre 2004-12 and Director of the Policy Studies Institute 1998-2004. He has operated at the interface between research, policy-making and business throughout his career. He was a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change from its inception in 2008 until 2018, and was the Chair of Scotland’s Just Transition Commission from 2018 to 2023. From 2015-17, he was President of the UK Energy Institute. He was awarded a CBE for services to sustainable energy in 2013 and an OBE for services to sustainable transport in 2004.

More about Professor Jim Skea

Paul Ekins

Professor of Resources and Environment Policy at UCL

Paul Ekins has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of London and is Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London. Paul Ekins’ academic work, published in numerous books, articles and scientific papers, focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy. He has been working in the area of energy and climate change since the early 1990s, and in 2007 was a Specialist Adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Climate Change Bill. From 2015-2018 he was a member of the European Commission’s High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative, the final report of which was published in November 2018. His co-edited books on energy and climate change are: Global Warming and Energy Demand (Routledge, 1995), Carbon-Energy Taxation: Lessons from Europe (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009), Energy 2050: the Transition to a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy System for the UK (Earthscan, London), and Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015). His most recent book, Stopping Climate Change: Policies for Real Zero, will be published by Routledge, in November 2023. In the UK New Year’s Honours List for 2015 he received an OBE for services to environmental policy.

More about Paul Ekins

Rachel Soloman Williams

Executive Director at Aldersgate Group

Rachel joined the Aldersgate Group in mid-2023 from KPMG, where she advised major UK and global clients on harnessing the opportunities presented by the transition to net zero. Prior to that, Rachel held senior roles in several Government departments driving forward work on climate, energy and the environment. She has also acted as Manager Director at Sandbag, a climate thinktank, and spent a year in Tesco’s corporate affairs team. Throughout her career, Rachel has taken a particular interest in the opportunity for businesses to deliver meaningful, positive impact and in the vital importance of well-designed regulation in providing them with a level playing field.

More about Rachel Soloman Williams

Sarah Chaytor

Director of UCL Public Policy at UCL

Sarah Chaytor is Director of Strategy & Policy for UCL Research, Innovation & Global Engagement. 

She was a co-founder and is currently co-Chair of UPEN, the Universities Policy Engagement Network; leads the £10 million Capabilities in Academic-Policy Engagement project; and is Principal Investigator and Strategic Engagement Director for the International Public Policy Observatory. She is also a Co-Director of the Research on Research Institute. 

Sarah established and oversees UCL’s flagship academic-policy engagement initiative, UCL Public Policy, to connect UCL research to public policymaking. She works closely with the Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation and Global Engagement) on the strategic management of UCL’s research and innovation agenda and the coordination of activities across the portfolio.

More about Sarah Chaytor