Chair of Edinburgh Climate Commission announced

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 14:48

The independent Chair of the Edinburgh Climate Commission, Dr Sam Gardner, has been announced today [19 February] in conjunction with an update on Edinburgh's progress towards its ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

Co-sponsored by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) and Edinburgh City Council, with funding support from the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN), the Commission will provide leadership, expertise, challenge and encouragement to the city of Edinburgh as it works to deliver its carbon neutral ambition by 2030. 

It is the third climate commission to be launched as part of ESRC-funded PCAN Network Plus five-year programme, following Leeds (launched 2017) and Belfast (January 2020).

Dr Gardner is Head of Climate Change and Sustainability at Scottish Power and former Deputy Director for WWF Scotland. His work has covered the introduction of the first Climate Change (Scotland) Act in 2009 and its implementation over the last ten years.  He has worked closely with stakeholders from across industry, academia and the public sector on the transition to net zero, in particular on electric vehicles, low carbon infrastructure, renewable heat and the power sector. 

In 2017 he was seconded into the Climate Change division of the Scottish Government to work on the monitoring framework for the Climate Change Plan.  Sam previously worked for SEPA and the RSPB in Scotland.  He has an Ecological Science (Hons) degree from The University of Edinburgh and a PhD in environmental policy development from UCL.  Sam has been a Board member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and is currently on the Board of Scottish Environment LINK.

Commissioners appointed

Commissioners for the new Edinburgh Climate Commission have been recruited  from key sectors and come from a variety of backgrounds including energy, transport, housing, tourism, civil society and public bodies. Appointed members include:

  • Cllr Adam McVey – Leader of City of Edinburgh Council and Vice Chair of the Commission
  • Andrew Kerr – Chief Executive of City of Edinburgh Council
  • Dave Reay – Director of Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation at the University of Edinburgh
  • Clare Foster – Partner, Shepherd and Wedderburn
  • Daisy Narayanan – Director of Urbanism, SUSTRANS
  • Bridie Ashrowan – Chief Executive, Broomhouse Space
  • Teresa Bray – Chief Executive, Changeworks
  • Kaisie Rayner – Responsible Investment Manager, Scottish Widows
  • Calum Murray – Director CCG Scotland
  • Diarmaid Lawlor – Associate Director, Scottish Futures Trust
  • Alex Hilliam – Behaviour Change Expert Consultant
  • Andrea Nicholas - Chief Executive, Green Tourism
  • Civil society representative
  • Youth representative

The full list of commissioners will be announced in advance of the Commission’s first meeting at the end of March. 

Adam McVey – Vice Chair of the Climate Commission and Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council said:

"I'm delighted to welcome Dr Gardner into his new role as Chair of the independent Edinburgh Climate Commission. He brings a wealth of relevant experience and knowledge to the post and will be a real catalyst for change by leading the Commission's work to help Edinburgh achieve our hugely ambitious net zero target.

"Working together across all sectors to reduce the city's carbon emissions and unlock a truly sustainable future is a massive opportunity for this city. I am looking forward to playing an active role in the Commission as we push for the change needed right across the city in delivering our 2030 ambitions."

Deputy Council Leader Cammy Day said: 

"Climate action is a key priority of this Administration and I am delighted that someone of this calibre will be leading the Commission as it moves forward. I welcome the fact that a core part of the Commission's work will be ensuring a just transition for Edinburgh’s citizens based on the real experiences of people living in poverty. The positive climate action we take has the potential to increase income in homes, reduce costs and improve wellbeing and we must make sure we take advantage of this opportunity for all our citizens."

Dr Sam Gardner, Chair of the Edinburgh Climate Commission, said:

"It’s a huge privilege to be asked to Chair the Edinburgh Climate Commission, to work with the expertise and experience of my fellow Commissioners and to play a part in ensuring Edinburgh accelerates its response to the climate crisis.  The Commission will focus its work on helping to unlock the delivery of the measures we know we must take, not only to tackle climate change but to help build a better future for all of Edinburgh.  The scale of the transformation Edinburgh faces is significant but the rewards are even greater; to be successful we will all have a part to play and those with the greatest responsibility must show the greatest leadership.  We have entered the climate decade of delivery and this will be the touchstone the Commission will hold itself to."

Jamie Brogan, Head of Innovation and Skills at the ECCI and part of the PCAN team said: 

"We’re delighted to partner with the City of Edinburgh on accelerating our city’s journey to net zero and delivering this by 2030. Our PCAN project drives city ambition by sharing expertise and knowledge across UK cities, and by engaging all city stakeholders in place-based climate action. Climate change is a collective challenge, and it needs everyone in our city to contribute."