UCL Public Policy


Communicating Climate Science

The commission aims to identify gaps in climate change communication and policy and create targeted interventions with significant impact

The UCL Policy Commission on the Communication of Climate Science, chaired by Prof Chris Rapley (UCL Earth Sciences), comprises a cross-disciplinary project group of researchers from psychology, neuroscience, science and technology studies, earth sciences and energy research. The Commission examined the challenges faced in communicating climate science effectively to policymakers and the public, and the role of climate scientists in communication. 


The commission is an incubator of projects aiming to: 
1. Identify gaps in climate change communication and policy and create targeted interventions with significant impacts. 
2. Help break down communication barriers within and between professional communities and the wider public. 

Current Activity

Training Programme: Improving Science-based Climate Policy for Flood Risk Management
Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, 4–6th June 2018

In this free residential training retreat UCL is offering climate scientists a unique opportunity to develop understanding, tools and techniques to engage more effectively with policymakers.

Over two-and-a-half-days the programme seeks to:

  • explore the process of co-production and iterative dialogue between climate scientists and those charged with reducing flood risks.
  • address barriers to progress such as cultural differences in the perception of risk
  • consider the need to take into account human psychology and values in developing effective public policy

Workshop: Developing Better Climate Mitigation Policies - Challenging current climate change risk assessment approaches

In February 2018, the Commission brought together 30 policymakers, climate researchers and research funders to explore how climate change risk assessments (CCRAs) can be made a more effective driver of climate change mitigation policies. The workshop mapped key challenges as well as opportunities for improvement.


In the news

Tilting the Balance

What You Believe About Climate Change Reflects Who You Are - Not What You Know

Previous work

Time for Change? Climate Science Reconsidered

In 2014 the first UCL Policy Commission on the Communication of Climate Science published its report 'Time for Change?' outlining five key recommendations for professional communities involved in climate science.

Commission Core Group

The Commission brings together members with a unique skill set and decades-long expertise in all aspects of climate change, from across academic disciplines, policy, business and the media.  It is funded by the UCL Grand Challenge for Sustainable Cities and UCL Public Policy.

Full list of commission members:

Prof Chris Rapley CBE,  Professor of Climate Science, Department of earth Sciences, UCL 
Luke Bevan, PhD Candidate, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP)
Nick Comer-Calder, Founder, The Climate Media Net
Dr Kris De Meyer, Research Fellow, Neuroscience, King's College London
Peter Gingold, Independent consultant, Producer and National Coordinator, Time and Tide Bells
Dr Candice Howarth, Senior Lecturer in Sustainability and Climate Communication, University of Surrey
Andrew Jackson, Chief Executive, ProReal
Dr Hannah Knox, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, UCL
Diego Ortiz, Student, Kings College London
Prof Dan Osborne, Professor of Human Ecology, Department of Earth Sciences, UCL
James Parr, Director, NASA Frontier Development Lab, CEO, Trillium Technologies
Dr James Paskins, Co-ordinator Grand Challenges, Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), UCL
Simon Sharpe ,Head of International Climate Change Strategy/Projects, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 
Dr Melanie Smallman, Lecturer, Dept of Science & Technology Studies
Katherine Welch, Head of External Engagement and Partnerships, Office of the Vice Provost (Research), UCL
Matt Winning, Research Associate, UCL Energy Institute and Institute for Sustainable Resources