Edinburgh Climate Roundtable 2030 takes place

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 15:18

Yesterday evening, representatives of civil society organisations from across Edinburgh joined a roundtable with the Climate Commission and members of City of Edinburgh Council to discuss how the city can achieve its Net Zero by 2030 target. The event was organised by Transition Edinburgh, the Council and the NGO Democratic Society, and represented a chance for the city’s citizens to engage with the Commission and Council on the climate issues that matter to them.  

Adam McVey, Leader of the Council, noted in his welcome the enthusiasm from across Edinburgh to drive forward climate action, while Chair of the Commission, Sam Gardner, emphasised the need for a strategic green recovery that builds resilience. Sam also highlighted the need for collective action in the city, and that a green recovery can’t be driven by one institution alone. Before the break-out rooms began, there was a brief Question & Answer session which covered issues from creating a carbon neutral festival city, to transport, to planning and development.  

There were 10 break out rooms which ran simultaneously, offering participants the opportunity to raise challenges and ideas on the topics of transport, low carbon heat, new green skills, localised services and finance. Key opportunities for transport included the possibility of e-cargo bikes and hubs replacing traditional freight in the city, long term planning that uses joined up thinking across departments on road infrastructure, and the possibility of using the ‘Try and Modify’ method for introducing new cycling and traffic infrastructure. In low carbon heat, the lack of public understanding of what low carbon or renewable heat actually is, as well as the accessibility and affordability of this technology, were identified as key challenges to be overcome. 

In the conversations on finance, it was emphasised that engaging with communities on developments they would like to see was essential, and the possibilities of innovative finance models like community seed funding and participatory grant-making were discussed. New skills were identified as crucial for both the green recovery, and those who have lost, and will lose, jobs due to the economic consequences of Covid-19, particularly the young, and vulnerable. people. The importance of harnessing green spaces and creating more inclusive communities were highlighted in discussions on localised services to improve wellbeing. 

Many important issues were raised, as well as great ideas, on how to make Edinburgh a carbon neutral city. A key theme was the acknowledgement that during this global pandemic, society has shown the capacity for radical change when the situation demands it. As Sam Gardner emphasised in his closing remarks, we must capitalise on the existing public mandate and enthusiasm for climate action.

Many thanks to the Council, Transition Edinburgh and Democratic Society for arranging such an interesting and thought-provoking event. 


If you would like to get in touch with the Commission, please email EdClimateComm@ed.ac.uk.

You can also join the conversation at Edinburgh Talks Climate.