School of GeoSciences Research

What are we doing about it?

The case for urgent climate action is clearer than ever before. So what are we doing about it? Find out how we play a vital role in climate research and action worldwide, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Image of ships at a port, with a factory in the background emitting plumes of smoke

It's 'unequivocal' that humans are responsible for the climate crisis and the chaos that global heating is unleashing on the world.  

Climate change now affects every content, region and ocean on Earth, including the weather.  

We are already experiencing rapid changes such as sea-level rise, melting polar ice and glaciers, heatwaves, floods and droughts - with the worse yet to come.

But not all hope is lost. Only drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions this decade can prevent us from rising global temperatures to a disastrous extent.


The time to act is now

As one of the world's leading universities, we play a vital role in tackling the numerous complex climate challenges. 

We've provided just a few highlights of how we are driving research, innovation and action worldwide, plus some more details below.

Our researchers:

  • pioneered the method to detect the 'human fingerprint' in anthropogenic climate change. It has become one of the central pillars of climate science.
  • delivered world-leading research quantifying the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) – a key climate metric showing how much the world is expected to warm if CO2 levels double compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • produced world-leading research proving human-caused climate change has changed both the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.
  • pioneered research in process-based modelling, data assimilation and remote sensing of forests. We can map and interpret changes in forest carbon, which is informing policies to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
  • developed the geophysical numerical-modelling equations and strategies for British Antarctic Survey (BAS) programme, that have improved predictions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet's fate and contribution to global sea-level rise over the next 200 years.
  • conducting world-leading research with organisations such as the European Space Agency. Our satellite observations of ice-sheet and glacier melting have reduced uncertainties in estimating future global sea-level rise. For example, we have shown that Greenland today is losing ice seven times faster than two decades ago. 
  • are leading work on marine ecosystems, assessing climate impacts on open ocean and deep seafloor ecosystem structure and functioning.
  • pioneered the interpretation of satellite measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2­) and methane (CH4) to infer the magnitude and distribution of their surface fluxes.  We are world leaders in techniques used to estimate global terrestrial carbon fluxes from satellite data. 
  • are leading the way towards developing and deploying carbon capture and underground storage (CCS) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • through internationally renowned work, have established the feasibility of a net-zero target for CO2 emissions. 
  • instigated the world's first research programme to develop underground storage of hydrogen. This technology has the potential to transform the capabilities of renewable energy, which has far-reaching implications for industry and our planet.
  • are leading the development of biochar, a carbon-negative technology that converts captured CO2 into charcoal, which can be placed back into soils. 
  • work in socio-economic and natural systems - helping to support sustainable land use decision making concerning climate change adaptation and mitigation

What is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?

The IPCC is the leading international body for assessing climate change.

Every five to seven years, the IPCC produces Assessment Reports. These are the most comprehensive scientific reports about climate change produced worldwide. Each Assessment Report has fed directly into international climate policymaking.

We are among the world-leading scientists who have made crucial contributions to the IPCC Assessment Reports and the Special Reports, guiding policies around the globe.

In addition, IPCC has exclusively selected several of our researchers as Lead Authors, Contributing Authors and Expert Reviewers for the reports. Each of the selected scientists, specialists and experts are exclusively chosen from nominations by specialists, governments and organisations worldwide because of their world-leading expertise.

Our impact on the IPCC

Find out about our researchers and contributions to the IPCC reports.

You can access the information on the reports under each drop-down menu below:


We must get the message across that we are living through climate change, and no matter what action we take now, the carbon we’ve already put into the atmosphere won’t go away. The best-case scenario is that climate we have now is the one we’ll have forever.

Professor Simon TettSchool of GeoSciences

Want to know more?

We've provided some useful links for you.  To see the information, simply click on each heading below: