Rachel Warren is Professor of Global Change and Environmental Biology at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, UK. Her research focuses on the production of policy relevant science related to climate change and sustainability. Particular foci include the quantification of the climate change impacts that can be avoided by timely mitigation, and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. A key area of current interest is the understanding of pathways that deliver the goals of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Paris Agreement, which aims to limit warming to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, indeed as close to 1.5C as feasible. A critical issue is the interaction between climate change mitigation and adaptation, and land and water management in the context of the Paris Agreement.
Rachel was Coordinating Lead Author of the 5th (2014) Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Lead Author of the 4th Assessment which was awarded the Nobel Peace prize on 2007, Lead Author of the recent IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C warming, and is presently Lead Author of the IPCC 6th Assessment and the UNEP Synthesis Report. She has produced over 80 peer reviewed publications and over 40 scientific reports to government departments.
Rachel has a track record in interdisciplinary synthesis, bringing together scientists from a wide range of disciplines and international institutions to provide answers to policy relevant questions posed by decision makers. Examples of this include the production of key synthesis products and risk assessments for the Summary for Policy Makers of three IPCC Assessments, including the well-known ‘burning embers’ diagram illustrating how risks accrue with global warming. Other examples include her leadership of Tyndall Centre contributions to EU projects, the UK Climate Change Risk Assessments, HM Treasury’s Stern Review, the AVOIDing dangerous climate change projects for the Dept. of Energy and Climate Change, and her leadership of projects of the Dept of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). These projects have informed the UK negotiating position within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Rachel recently won UEA’s Consultancy of the Year Award.
Her academic background and training is in physics and the natural sciences at Cambridge University. After completion of her PhD she pursued an interest in atmospheric sciences and rapidly became involved in policy relevant research, a purpose to which she remains committed today. She has assisted in national, European and international policy development relating to combating stratospheric ozone depletion, acid deposition, eutrophication, and (since 2002) climate change. In particular, her former work at the NOAA Environmental Research Laboratories provided evidence on the environmental acceptability of CFC substitutes, leading to inclusion of fluorocarbons in the Kyoto Protocol, winning the NOAA Aeronomy Laboratories Outstanding Scientific Paper Award. At Imperial College, her integrated modelling work was used in the development of international UN ECE protocols and to underpin the UK’s participation within these.
Rachel has 25 years’ experience leading and managing interdisciplinary teams to deliver policy relevant science. Since 2009 she has worked with large teams to raise over £5m of funds as a principal investigator and a further £6 million as a co-investigator. Rachel co-leads the Resilience Theme at the Tyndall Centre, and her research team is currently exploring the land-water-energy nexus in the content of climate change and biodiversity conservation.