Systemic review outline: climate change statistics


Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Human activity is driving rising temperatures, warming oceans and more extreme weather events. This is already having wide-ranging effects on all areas of life, and the impact will become more severe as temperatures continue to rise.

Relevant, accessible and insightful statistics on climate change are essential for understanding the scale of the problem. They are also vital for developing and evaluating policies that reduce or prevent the emissions of greenhouse gases (mitigation) and enable us to adjust to the expected effects of climate change (adaptation).

In 2011 we looked at the accessibility and coherence of climate change statistics and found that there was room for improvement. Ten years on, the climate change policy landscape now looks very different, and public awareness and attitudes have changed significantly. We are relooking at these statistics to understand what has changed and, more broadly, whether statistics on climate change are meeting society’s need for information.

What we are doing

Our review is focused on the key improvements to the accessibility of the current statistics and their coherence – how well the statistics work together to inform the bigger picture. We are exploring the following three questions:

  • What progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of our 2011 review?
  • What are producers of climate change statistics currently doing or planning to do to enhance the accessibility and coherence of their statistics?
  • To what extent are producers working together to achieve these improvements?

The scope of our review covers official statistics produced by UK Government and the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We may also engage with organisations that hold relevant data. We will be looking at statistics which cover the drivers of climate change, as well that those that report on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

How we are doing it

We are gathering evidence in two ways:

  • Engaging with producers – speaking to official statistics producers and holders of climate change data across government.
  • Desk research – carrying out high-level reviews of the accessibility and coherence of existing statistics publications, quality documentation, websites, and data tools.


If you would like to be involved in this work or share your thoughts on climate change statistics, please contact us.