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“Make the most of your network”


Kate Fearnyough 


MSc Climate Change and Environmental Policy 



Current role: 

Senior Climate Science Adviser, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero 

How are you helping to tackle the climate crisis? 

I help policy and negotiations team across government to understand the latest climate science, to ensure that their work is evidence-based and support ambitious climate action domestically and internationally. 

How did you get to where you are now? 

After my Masters at Leeds I got a role at Sustrans, the charity making it easier for everyone to walk, wheel and cycle, as an Evaluation Officer monitoring the impact of interventions across the UK. I then got a job in BEIS as a Climate Science Adviser, working across different areas such as emissions factors for company reporting, a hydrogen research programme and supporting the development of the UK’s greenhouse gas inventory. Just over a year ago, I moved on promotion to our international climate science team, where I still work today. 

What do you do as part of your role? 

In our team, we work to support the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to deliver the best available science, and facilitate the delivery of the best available science to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC – the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement). My role is to shape science messaging and communicate this across government, with a primary focus at the moment working with negotiations teams to develop their positions ahead of the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) – taking place this year in Dubai. Along with the team I also represent the UK government at IPCC meetings to agree the structure and content of their reports with other governments and scientists. Finally, I commission new research to address evidence gaps or needs across government. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I have loved working internationally over the past 18 months, developing strong relationships with counterparts and learning from them. It has taught me a lot about working as a team and given me a broader range of perspectives on the climate crisis and how we can tackle it. 

What advice would you give to University of Leeds students wanting to pursue a similar career? 

My advice would be to not be too picky about finding the perfect climate-related role straight out of University – I’ve really enjoyed trying a number of different roles which have required me to use different skills and then eventually work towards an international role which was where I wanted to end up. Also make the most of your network whilst on your course – it’s amazing how many people from University of Leeds I’ve come across in the past three years and how I still bounce ideas off friends from my course! 

Are there any resources that you would recommend to individuals interested in pursuing a climate-related career? 

There are various climate-related newsletters out there but a resource I used throughout my Masters and still find valuable now is Carbon Brief – their analysis and reporting is really relevant to most climate-related careers!