The UK Climate Resilience Programme ran from 2019 to 2023

UK Climate Resilience Programme at COP26

The UK Climate Resilience Programme (UKCR) team is at the UN climate change conference COP26  (31 October-12 November 2021) – with co-Champion Dr Kate Lonsdale and steering committee member Ben Smith both travelling to Glasgow by bike.

Kate pedalled through torrential rain and blustery winds for much of the journey, which started in the Peak District and took her through flood-affected Cumbria en route to Scotland, while Ben’s epic ride started in London leading the Ride the Change COP26 sponsored bike ride.

Dr Lonsdale will take part in the UKRI exhibition in the Green Zone ‘Science Street’ on 1st and 2nd of November, where she joins other experts, including UKCR project lead Ed Hawkins (creator of the Climate Stripes), to interact with delegates and talk about relevant UKRI programmes and the importance of science and innovation in address the urgent changing climate.


From left to right: a break by a swollen Rive Lune in Lancaster; Kate Lonsdale arriving safely in Glasgow, and meeting up with steering committee member Ben Smith, who organised a London to COP26 bike ride

Co-Champion Professor Suraje Dessai, an IPCC lead author (Working Group 1) on the Sixth Assessment Report, will also be at Glasgow and taking part in a series of events connected with the IPCC in the conference’s ‘Blue Zone’ for delegates.

Blue Zone event

The Champions will be meeting up on 10 November to present an event on “Building resilience in a low carbon world”  at the COP26 Science Pavilion in the Blue Zone (18.00-19.00). The event will showcase how the Strategic Priorities Fund UK Climate Resilience Programme and the Future Climate For Africa – in different contexts – the UK and Africa – have worked with research users, funders and policy makers at all stages of the research cycle to enhance the usefulness and usability of scientific research. Agenda and speaker details are available here and you can watch a livestream of the event by subscribing to the Met Office YouTube channel.

“A better world is possible”

Asked about her hopes for the global summit, Kate Lonsdale said: “That the negotiations get beyond ‘blah, blah, blah’ and that something really shifts and feels positive with real energy behind it.  I would love there to be a sense of agency and a more tangible vision to give people hope that a better world is possible.  That the future is not all about grimness, loss and privation but that a fairer, simpler world is good and works for everyone.”

Suraje Dessai, who is Professor of Climate Change Adaptation at the University of Leeds, said he wanted to see increased climate ambition and the delivery of promised climate finance: “The planet is already committed to a significant amount of climate change over the next few decades. Adaptation to the unavoidable impacts of climate change is imperative for the sustainable development of societies around the world.”

Youth performance

Another UKCR-related event likely to be a draw is a performance by the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain on Friday 5 November in the Green Zone (Tower Base South, 12.30-14.00). “On the Edge” is a creative exploration of young people’s eco-anxiety in the face of climate uncertainty through a performance of spoken word, poetry, music and short film. Briony McDonagh, Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Hull’s Energy & Environment Institute and PI of the UKCR project Risky Cities, will co-lead the performance with NYT’s Adeola Yemitan, actor, writer & winner of the 2021 Samsung Spotlight competition for young performers, and Paul Roseby OBE, NYT’s Chief Executive & Artistic Director. Read more about the event here and watch the livestream here.

Promotional image for the NYT production of On the Edge by Myah Jeffers