UK-China Cooperation on Climate Change Risk Assessment: Developing Indicators of Climate Risk

This report is a 2-year project to develop a set of indicators for a new climate change risk assessment system as a proof of concept.

The Committee, in collaboration with the China Expert Panel on Climate, led the international and interdisciplinary consortium that undertook the research to produce this report.

Overall, the report finds that a set of climate risk indicators could have a practical use for policy-makers monitoring and assessing climate risk. The report proposes the use of a “dashboard” that provides a wide range of climate risk indicators over a period of time.

The keys findings are:

  • global greenhouse gas emissions are off-track to meet a 2°C warming target. Of the 12 major categories examined, only renewable energy technologies in the electricity sector are on-track
  • the risks posed to social, economic and environmental systems by direct climate impacts – such as flooding, heatwaves and crop failures – are all projected to increase in the future. The impacts are particularly severe on a high emissions pathway
  • an analysis of systemic risks (i.e. threats to complex societal systems such as international financial markets or global food systems) shows that these risks will increase, even on a low emissions pathway

Dr Andy Russell, Senior Analyst at the CCC’s Adaptation Sub-Committee secretariat, explains the report’s important conclusions in his latest blog.