Climate change is drastically affecting the world’s ecosystems and human societies. The frequency of extreme weather events such as floods or droughts is increasing, putting a strain on infrastructure and causing many casualties. On a global level, rising sea levels, new pandemics and increasing desertification can be clearly linked to climate change.

Affiliated to the University of Lausanne and the EPFL, the Center for Climate Impact and Action (CLIMACT), officially launched its activities in January 2021. The research centre, co-directed by Professors Julia Steinberger and Michael Lehning, invites all UNIL and EPFL faculties to contribute to the fight against climate change and its impacts. It responds to the need not only to consolidate research and innovation activities related to climate change, but also to give visibility to climate action.

CLIMACT seeks to promote integrated economic, social and environmental resilience by developing low-carbon pathways through continuous innovation in our social and ecological technical systems. The centre will create links between cultural, social and technological solutions, applicable from mountaintops to city centres in the areas of water, energy, health, land use, buildings and transport.

To do this, it draws on the expertise of EPFL and UNIL and develops their strengths in observation and modelling. The centre also aims to act as an interface with different social groups and local authorities, and as a focal point to create synergies between actors and partners active in climate change policy and research. Through strong partnerships with industry, it will be able to propose a blueprint for applicable carbon-neutral solutions.

CLIMACT will interact closely with other EPFL and UNIL centres as well as with the new EPFL Vice Presidency for Responsible Transformation to fulfil its mission to contribute to carbon neutrality and sustainability.