Can we repair our climate?

6.30pm to 8.00pm, Thursday 4 July

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Melting arctic ice is just one of the potentially devastating effects of global heating

    Credit: NASA


Standard £16


Concession £10


Free for Ri Members and Ri Patrons

Event description

If the current climate trends continue, we will soon experience dangerous and irreversible damage to the planet. In response, scientists in Cambridge are setting up a new research centre to develop new ways to repair the Earth's climate. It will investigate radical approaches such as refreezing the Earth's poles and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Join a panel of experts including Sir David King, Baroness Bryony Worthington, Hugh Hunt and Mike Childs who will discuss the potential effectiveness of such approaches, the unintended consequences they may have and the costs of such large and dramatic interventions.

Please note this event starts at the earlier time of 6.30pm. 

About the speakers

Sir David King was the permanent Special Representative for Climate Change from September 2013 until March 2017. Sir David was previously the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor from 2000 to 2007, during which time he raised awareness of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the Energy Technologies Institute. 

Baroness Worthington is the Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe. She was appointed to the role in 2016 and is the first to hold this position for the European affiliate of the international nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund. Drawing from her varied experiences, Bryony elevates EDF’s voice in the European environmental debate and helps oversee our activities and partnerships in key countries. 

Appointed as a life peer to the British Parliament’s House of Lords in 2011, she is a leading expert on climate change policy and carbon trading. She served as the Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change in the House of Lords, leading on two Energy Bills for the Shadow Ministerial team. When raised to the peerage one leading newspaper commented, “The House of Lords has become a greener and better place”. 

It was in the mid-1990s, working for a conservation charity on new laws for wildlife protection, that Bryony became increasingly concerned by the issues associated with climate change. By 2000 she had moved to Friends of the Earth as a climate-change campaigner. In 2006, Bryony helped launch a Friends of the Earth campaign for a new legal climate framework, which led to her selection as a lead author on the United Kingdom’s Climate Change Act. She then moved on to Scottish and Southern Energy, one of the UK's largest energy companies, where she advised on sustainable energy policy. In 2008 Bryony then founded the Sandbag Climate Campaign, a group dedicated to scrutinising the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.

Hugh Hunt is a Reader in Engineering Dynamics and Vibration in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Trinity College. His principal interests are in dynamics and vibration, gyroscopes and boomerangs. His most recent research is in the fields of renewable energy and geoengineering, including the SPICE project - technology for cooling the Earth by 2 degrees C if CO2 emissions targets are not met. Other research includes the control of vibration from underground railway, bells and clocks and wind turbines.

Mike Childs is head of science, policy and research for Friends of the Earth. He joined Friends of the Earth in 1989, because he believed it had a human dimension and he was concerned about development issues. He worked as a campaigner, volunteer and then a regional and national officer. He has led campaigns on many issues, including climate change and carcinogens emitted by factories.


The doors will open at approximately 6.00pm, with a prompt start at 6.30pm.


The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

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