As the UK prepares to host COP26 in Glasgow, the Government has today launched a series of high-level workshops on Recognising Risk – Raising Climate Ambition — to boost the understanding of climate risks among governments around the world.

The programme builds on recent work published by Chatham House, and brings together best practice in communicating the full risks of climate change from scientists to policy makers and national governments. The findings which will be launched at COP26 will include recommendations on how climate risk assessments for Heads of Government can be improved.

While the scientific understanding of the risks of climate change is now more developed than ever, the full range of climate risks including those affecting our economies, health, and food security is still often still not fully taken into account in national decision making.

As countries form plans ahead of COP26 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Nationally Determined Contributions), and build climate resilient futures (National Adaptation Plans), a full and up to date understanding of the greatest risks of climate change to their economies and way of life is essential.

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said:

A better understanding of the full scale of the risks which climate change poses to our way of life and national economies is essential to inform commitments to climate action at COP26 and beyond.

This programme will bring together scientists, policy makers and civil society to improve the understanding and communication of these risks, as we work to make sure we keep the 1.5 degree goal alive.

Professor Carole Mundell, International Science Envoy, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office:

​​The scientific evidence of human-driven climate change is clear. Our planet is our life support system and it is in danger. But we have a brief chance now to take immediate action to cut emissions and keep warming below 1.5C. If we fail, we risk crossing dangerous tipping points and enter a world with severe fire, flood and famine.

Dr Jennifer Francis, Deputy Director and Senior Scientist, Woodwell Climate Research Centre:

It is critically important that policymakers understand the severity of climate change risks, and that they match their policy ambition to the scope and scale of those risks.

We worked with the COP26 Presidency to organize these workshops because we need to deliver this information more effectively, so that governments can take the urgent action that is needed now.

Tim Benton, Chatham House:

The risks from climate change are underestimated by decision makers, given the multitude of ways events near, or far away, can impinge on our societies – through interrupting the flow of goods, or finance, or creating a flow of people, or undermining stability or governance. This report accessibly highlights these risks so everyone can appreciate their potential.

In partnership with Woodwell Climate Research Center and Chatham House, the UK Presidency will host a series of high level workshops, convening cross-sectoral experts, advisors and advocates on risk to to improve the assessment and delivery of this climate risk information. The project will hold a number of workshops in the run up to COP26 to explore the full range of climate risks present in countries from the US to Turkey. Invitees will be contacted via the UK’s Science and Innovation Network.

Risk assessments are a powerful tool to inform both mitigation and adaptation and the Recognizing Risk – Raising Climate Ambition workshops are complemented by the work of the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA). This is a new global partnership for action-orientated adaptation and resilience research which will be launched at COP26 to develop practical solutions to tackle the climate risks that cannot be avoided.

The COP26 Universities Network is also running a complementary academic-led Climate Risk Summit, 29 September – 1 October 2021, to bring key climate risk information to the attention of a wide audience in advance of COP26 and build capacity in climate change academic experts in communicating risk effectively. Further information and registration information is available on the Climate Risk Summit website.

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    Series of high-level workshops build understanding of climate risk in run up to COP26

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