Predicting our climate future: what we know, what we don't know, what we can't know

Hosted by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

In-person and online public event (Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building)


Professor David Stainforth

Professor David Stainforth

Kathryn Brown

Kathryn Brown


Tom Sheldon

Tom Sheldon



Professor Elizabeth Robinson

Professor Elizabeth Robinson

David Stainforth will discuss his new book Predicting Our Climate Future: what we know, what we don’t know, and what we can’t know - how climate science works and why you should absolutely trust some of its conclusions and absolutely distrust others.

Climate change raises new, foundational challenges in science. It requires us to question what we know and how we know it. The subject is important for society but the science is young and history tells us that scientists can get things wrong before they get them right. How, then, can we judge what information is reliable and what is open to question? During the event the essential characteristics of climate change which make it a difficult issue to study will be highlighted. A series of challenges in the study of climate change across multiple disciplines will be presented and the audience will be taken on a journey through the maths of complexity, the physics of climate, philosophical questions regarding the origins and robustness of knowledge, and the use of natural science in the economics and policy of climate change.

Meet our speaker and chair

After studying physics at Oxford, David Stainforth worked on ocean modelling, studied for a Masters before working as a renewable energy consultant. He then pursued research on computer models of the atmosphere before joining Professor Myles Allen to develop the project. He then pursued research on climate science, climate economics, climate modelling and climate decision making under deep uncertainty. He is currently a Professorial Research Fellow in Grantham Research Institute.

Kathryn Brown was appointed as the first Director of Climate Action for The Wildlife Trusts in 2022. She leads advocacy, and internal work programme on climate change mitigation and adaptation, for the Trusts, a UK charity that looks after some 2,300 nature reserves.  Kathryn has worked on climate change policy and evidence for nearly 20 years. In 2022, she was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal  in the New Year Honours List  for her services to climate change research.  Before moving to The Wildlife Trusts, she was Head of Adaptation at the UK Climate Change Committee, managing the Secretariat to the Adaptation Committee, and leading the production of the UK’s third independent assessment of UK Climate Risk and analytical work on progress in adapting to climate change.

Tom Sheldon is Senior Press Manager at the Science Media Centre. He handles any issues in the fields of engineering, energy and the environment that hit the headlines. He has degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Bioinformatics. He has worked on a number of high profile stories including mobile phones and cancer, GM crops, climate change and e-cigarettes, as well as the issues around preprints and publicity.

Elizabeth Robinson (@EJZRobinson66) is the Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.More about this event

This event will be available to watch on LSE Live. LSE Live is the new home for our live streams, allowing you to tune in and join the global debate at LSE, wherever you are in the world. If you can't attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE's YouTube channel.

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (@gri_lse) is a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEClimateChange

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A podcast of this event is available to download from Predicting our climate future: what we know, what we don't know, what we can't know.

A video of this event is available to watch at Predicting our climate future: what we know, what we don't know, what we can't know.

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