Responding to climate change is likely to be the defining challenge of this century. The next generation of scholars that will be at the forefront of mitigation and adaptation research in the pivotal period leading up to 2050 is now entering academia. Young researchers are tackling a wide range of climate issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Although much important work focuses on the development of new technologies and improved understanding of the underlying biogeophysical systems, it is clear that effective and accountable governance systems will also be required to ensure that mitigation and adaptation strategies are implemented in a timely and equitable manner. The Asia-Pacific region will face particularly grave challenges, including significant displacement of human populations, human health issues and loss of valuable ecosystem services, if climate change continues unabated. In order to address the challenges of responding to climate change in Asia and the Pacific, we organized a workshop to build capacity amongst early career governance researchers in the region, held at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia from 14-16 March 2012.