UCL Public Policy


Climate Change and Financial Risk

UCL Public Policy organised an event to discuss some of the specific financial risks of climate change in more depth and the role of policy makers.

Image of iceberg floating

27 March 2012

Project partners

The policy discourse on climate change has tended to focus primarily on mitigation in order to reduce carbon emissions and minimise a global temperature rise. However, with growing evidence pointing to a likely global average temperature rise of more than 2ºC, possibly within decades, it is apparent that future efforts also need to focus much more seriously on adapting to the effects of climate change that are now inevitable.

This event will consider the financial risks associated with climate change adaptation, or the lack thereof. It will address potential scenarios of climate change and adaptation, and explore the degree of awareness amongst business leaders and policy makers of the risks presented by a changing climate.

Through a particular focus on water, the event will address some of the specific financial risks of climate change in more depth. It will investigate the financial and business risks of both flood and drought, including the challenges facing the continued operation of business, and increasing and unpredictable insurance exposure to such risks.

The event will also reflect upon the actions that businesses will need to take in order to adapt to changed circumstances brought about by climate change, and the role of policy-makers in mitigating the associated risks and establishing the appropriate policy frameworks.


  • Rob Bailey, Senior Research Fellow for Energy, Environment & Resource Governance, Chatham House
  • Dr Sarah Bell, UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
  • Darius Campbell, Head of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, DEFRA
  • Dr Julien Harou, UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
  • Lisa Horrocks, Project Director for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation, AEA Group
  • Professor Bill McGuire, Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards, Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre
  • Bill Peck, Head of Corporate Planning, Aon
  • Bob Piggott, Head of Group Contingency Risk, HSBC
  • Chaired by Julian O'Halloran, BBC

Outputs and impacts

  • Listen to Professor Bill McGuire discuss  how rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets as a result of climate change could trigger volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis on the Guardian Science Weekly podcast.